8 Mar 2012

Sandaig walk

Been a busy time since we moved to Glenelg in January and our first jaunt down to Sandaig this year was not until Monday (5th March). After a week or so of rain you jump when the weather forecast promises a decent day so it was up sharp and a quick drive to Upper Sandaig (basically a cottage between Glenelg and Arnisdale), where the forestry track starts just before you reach the cottage. It’s around a 3 mile drive, walk or cycle to Upper Sandaig and another 1.5 mile walk or cycle from there to the shore with some steep up and downs involved.
With a few strong gales hitting the West Coast of Scotland this winter there have been a stack of trees blown down and it shows when you walk through the forest. I guess this one will be down in the next gale...........

This one gives an idea of the scale of the root base on a decent sized tree.

This is a view that hasn’t been seen for a few decades but is now opened up again due to the tree felling operations. A lot of the lower track now has open views which is the way I remember it back in the early 70s, on the down side the tree felling leaves the area looking like photos you see of the shelled trenches in WW1 with just the odd dead tree sticking up.

Saw this fellow keeping an eye on us walking down the track.

Again the tree felling has opened up the views here across to Sandaig islands.

The last remaining cottage at Sandaig, now pretty derelict and a sad sight with a couple of trees landing on its roof this winter.

The late Raef Payne, an English master at Eton and friend of Gavin Maxwell lived here each summer. I noticed an interesting feasibility study on the internet http://www.paperigloo.com/architecture/sandaig/index.html regarding this cottage. Whether anything comes of this in the current financial climate will have to be seen but if it improves tourism and enhances the environment then it must be worth looking at.

Another photo of the cottage, you really can’t get much closer to the sea (though The Lodge is pretty close too!). What price would this fetch as a holiday cottage if it had a road down to it (and was in a better state of repair!)?

The Gavin Maxwell memorial, the rock was placed above the spot his writing desk was located, his ashes were placed below.


Memorial for Edal, the Ring of Bright Water otter killed during the house fire, the inscription reads “Whatever joy she gave to you, give back to nature.”

One of the few remains of the Maxwell years, the boat trailer for the Polar Star.

The wee waterfall, a bit cluttered with fallen trees and branches.

The burn, always a nice spot during the spring

The burn, where it forms the Ring of Bright Water?

Heading over the rope bridge to get across to the Islands (to call it a “bridge” maybe an exaggeration but it’s that or getting your feet wet).

One of the Island beaches, small but stunning, this is one of the most relaxing places in the world for a quick “forty winks”!!

Sandaig is well worth a visit, even though the walk back is uphill!!

12 comments:

  1. I was at sandaig on the 14th march ,my first time,and It didn't dissapoint.
    I have to say I hope the work on raef paynes cottage does not go ahead. I think the area should be left as it was in gm,s time there.
    The infrastructure, roads etc ,will spoil what is a magical place......just my opinion,but I'm pleased I got there before any of that may start.

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  2. Thanks for the comment Tony. To be honest I doubt the estates would ever allow a road to Sandaig, plus the cost would be prohibitive. I got the feeling the study was just looking at doing something with the cottage before it falls down completely. With the trees lying on it and the state it’s already in I can’t see the roof staying up much longer. Agree with you it’s a great place for a visit.

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  3. I think perhaps the cottage should be restored to its former self ,as it was in the 60's,
    I was very interested to see a photo from the people who did the feasibility study of inside the cottage,and in particular a large drawing on one of the walls. Wonder how long that's been there and who did it,I know gm was an artist in his younger days and indeed Winifred Nicholson,now a very collectible artist stayed at camusferna in the early days...very intriguing.

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  4. Would be nice to see it restored but costs would be high, as would ongoing maintenance. The Bright Water Centre and Eilean Bàn rely on a lot of volunteers to keep things running and for visits to the Island. It’s certainly not easy times to get funding or donations for projects at the moment.
    There is another photo that shows the wall painting on Flickr (link below). This one with Monty Halls who was apparently planning on doing his first “Great Escape” series at Sandaig (later filmed at Applecross) before it was called off at the last minute.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/16564147@N06/2797675518/in/set-72157606948735986

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  5. I didn't know that ,loved the first series at apple cross and visited the area on the strength of that ,but I'm kinda glad it didn't happen at sandaig.i think it's a special place ,which seems to be a magnet to people who have read gm books and the others wrote about him ,.incidentally does anyone know what happened to Andrew scot,he seems to have completely disappeared without trace, I know jimmy watt is still there.
    When I was in glenelg I met an old guy on the beach road who told me terry nutkins was not too well,he was a bit of a character, lived at the house on the junction with a couple of caravans in the garden. I will have to come back ,maybe later in the year,there's a lot more wandering around to do around the sandaig coastline

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  6. I have been going to sandaig since 1966. I am scanning my Dad's slides of Sandaig and "The House"and a photo of me and siblings playing with Fiona Borders, the house keepers daughter on Polar Star. (Don't think Gavin Maxwell would have been too pleased.)
    I would hate to think it would get more exposure, as in the summer it is a busy little place and the wild otters don't like it much.

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  7. Fascinating to hear from someone who was there at that time.
    How did that come about,did you live in the area

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  8. I think things should be left as they are. "Camusfearna" is no more and Sandaig should have no more people trying to alter it. (The last time that happened, it didn't exactly end well). Leave it as it is and let people just dream of what was and what might be.

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    Replies
    1. Well said, anonymous. Let people dream...
      With reference to Tony's comment, above, I just want to mention that I wrote to Terry Nutkins years ago asking him about the Camusfearna days and the characters that were there and I received a charming letter in reply. In it he mentioned that he still kept very much in touch with Jimmy Watt, but that he'd lost contact with Andrew Scott and didn't know where he was.

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  9. It's wonderful to see these photo's of Raef Payne's cottage. Thank you. I stayed here in 1964 with a bunch of school boys from Braehead and then returned to Sandaig that summer to fill in as animal keeper and general dog's body for Gavin while Jimmy Watt was on holiday. I returned many to times to Sandaig in the following years and to the light house cottage at Kyleakin when Gavin moved there after the fire.

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  10. It's wonderful to see these photo's of Raef Payne's cottage. Thank you. I stayed here in 1964 with a bunch of school boys from Braehead and then returned to Sandaig that summer to fill in as animal keeper and general dog's body for Gavin while Jimmy Watt was on holiday. I returned many to times to Sandaig in the following years and to the light house cottage at Kyleakin when Gavin moved there after the fire.

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  11. Hi David, would love to hear more about your time at Sandaig, I have visited the area, stayed at Jimmy's holiday let, Gavin was a fascinating character, and the people that were drawn to Sandaig, any info would be great..... Jane

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