Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week or longer if you wish. Loch Hourn is a 14 mile long sea loch snaking inland from the Sound of Sleat, opposite the Isle of Skye, to the head of the loch at Kinloch Hourn. The popular translation of the Gaelic name of this sea loch is Loch of Hell, but according to Celtic scholars the name is a less exciting one and means Loch of Berries. What was the Beast and when did it exist?
According to Fr Andrew MacDonella Dominican priest from Fort Augustus standing in for the priest at Inverie, its blood-curling howls were first heard about and continued, off and on, until Fr Andrew, who was clearly interested in the history of the area, gathered some fascinating stories about the Beast from a number of stalkers, not one of whom, he recorded, would dream of trying to deceive him. No sooner had he reached his destination than a flock of birds he had heard ahead of him, rose and flew off in alarm.
He thought they might have been disturbed by a fox but the snow-covered ground revealed a set of fresh tracks which were far larger than that of a fox or indeed of any other animal he knew.
He said they were almost round and about four inches in diameter and gave the impression of a heavy animal. There was evidence of four toes but no central pad and the mark of a claw behind the paw.
Stopping to take a closer look he realised it was far too large for any dog and that its dimensions closely matched those his father had seen a few years before. The deer took no notice but the dogs they had with them became very agitated and unmistakably frightened.
Although very vocal the Beast shunned human contact except in the depths of winter when food was scarce. Descriptions of it vary. The few who had actually seen it seemed to think it was about the size of a donkey, with a mane and tail like a horse. The head was broad at the top between the ears similar to the head of a boar, but instead of a snout the lower part was rounded with a heavy upper jaw and large red, overhanging lips. The face, they described as being hideously and terrifyingly ugly.
So what was this animal that had put the inhabitants of Barrisdale and its neighbouring communities in a state of fear and alarm for so many years? The answer — a hyena! Now you may well ask how did a hyena, a native of Africa, arrive on Loch Hourn-side in the mid s. It seems a smal l travelling circus or a menagerie was on route overland to Skye by way of Invergarry, Arnisdale and Glenelg when somewhere around Kinloch Hourn a hyena managed to escape.
Although these picturesque travelling menageries, often consisting of no more than a bear on a chain, a monkey, a chimpanzee, a zebra perhaps and in this case a hyena, did not usually stray far from towns and villages, they were not unknown in the Highlands and Islands where the exotic animals they brought with them were, understandably, a great attraction. One day perhaps its skeleton will be found in a cave or a peat hag in Glen Barrisdale that will confirm its identity beyond all doubt.
Want to read more? No problem you can subscribe for just one week or longer if you wish Already a subscriber? Login here.Thousands of feet below, the green glen of Barrisdale rolls to Loch Hourn and the mountains of the north.
To the west the ground falls steeply to Inverie and a silver sea crowded with blue islands. And to the south-east, at the farthest end of a great horseshoe of rippling crags, Meall Buidhe stands in a wall of shadows.
I have no post-summit plan. Getting back to Barrisdale without retracing my path, step by step over the heights of Luinne Bheinn, is the issue. But that would have required an element of planning. I need an escape route. Out of the wind, as if blown like a beech leaf on a dry autumn day, dances a man in a red coat. I ask him the best way to descend Meall Buidhe, because my guidebook route takes me along the west ridge to Inverie and many miles out of my way.
The Man in the Red Coat tugs his white beard and wrinkles his brow. He thinks he has read about this route in some obscure guidebook or other. Just below the summit I meet a man with a dog, who I recognise from the camping ground. We discuss ways off Meall Buidhe for those returning to Barrisdale. On the summit of Meall Buidhe my spirits swell like a sail in the wind and I rise into the blueness.
Majestic mountains and hills, all blue and grey and blue again. The Hebrides have that alluring and romantic appeal that all islands possess. And beyond them, the Outer Isles. Fragment after fragment, island beyond island. The west ridge to Inverie looks pleasant — though too much distance is involved. The north ridge to Creag Dhearg is devoid of a path.
That says it all. I opt for the lochan route and the mysteries of Choire Odhair. On my return along the horseshoe ridge I meet three Scottish blokes.
They, too, are camping in Barrisdale. I divulge the information entrusted to me by the Man in the Red Coat. I am the third person, it transpires, who has told them about the Man in the Red Coat and the fabled lochan route.
No one, it appears, has actually had any experience of descending into Choire Odhair. The lochan route, they say, is becoming an urban myth. This is fascinating. I am intrigued by urban myths because they invariably involve remote places.To quote the blog headline:. The Calum Maclean Project is based at the department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh and focuses upon the collected archive materials of the renowned folklorist and ethnologist Calum I.
Maclean For further details, please visit the project website.
Stag dos and stag don’ts
The actual project website is at this link. MacKenzie was a retired gamekeeper, aged 80, residing in Cannich, Strathglass. I heard it from my father and mother, and they were very old, that the old folk saw it there. I heard from one old man who stayed near there. He was working at something or another. I think that he was digging or something on his croft in the red earth.
And his feet were very dirty because of the earth. He went down to the lochside to clean his feet by the lochside. And this wild beast appeared, it came to land near to him.
He scarpered and left his shoes behind by the lochside.
A few folk mocked him but he was a good enough [ i. There are folk who have seen it long ago and they would tell stories about it. There is absolutely no doubt that it [the monster] exists. The rest of the blog article suggests this story happened no later than I was wondering if it was the hump sighting by a similarly named D. MacKenzie, but it does not appear to be the same account as we are told this one involved a head and neck rearing up twenty yards from him.
This sound very like the previous article on John MacLean which also involved a head and neck report at about 20 yards distance. The list of sightings I have perused suggests it is a new story which I now add to the roster of claimed sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.
However, I am open to suggestions as to possible known parallels. One other tale that caught my attention was the legendary Beast of Barrisdale. You can read about it here and here. This is or was a beast alleged to live around the hills of Loch Hourn, which was more heard than seen as its blood curdling roar echoed through the region.
It seems a few tales from the same period as our Nessie story concerned this curious animal. The head was broad at the top like that of a wild boar but there was no snout. It was a heavy over-hanging jaw and terribly, terribly ugly.Post a comment. Total Pageviews. This is the story of the Beast of Barrisdale that I got some years ago, when I was in Inverie, and I was taking the place of the priest for a time, for a week or two or a month.
And I got a sick call to Inverguseran. I was riding on horseback and Alan MacMaster was walking beside me. And, of course, it was not a very swift journey, as you can understand. But Alan began to tell me of an extraordinary thing that happened away up at a smearing burn at the end of Loch Hourn. Something wild began roaring there, in that part of the world, and frightened the people, the whole of the people, I believe that lived along the north side of Loch Hourn, were in terror for many weeks and months.
But the story of the smearing house was this. The men were in at their dinner one day and then came out and began telling stories on the stone dykes round the barn.
And they are as a rule, you know, when the men are gathered together at a smearing place, there are many good stories and songs, and in fact when they are gathering them in for the work they generally get one a two who are good at that, telling stories or singing songs and so forth, And they were listening to their jokes and so on, when suddenly this terrific roaring commenced.
And every man was immediately silent and there was no trying who would be first. Right they went into the barn and every man on his own seat. And now the extraordinary thing about it was this: all the dogs were more frightened than the men and got under the seats hiding for all they were worth. Now I must tell you: this wild roaring, whatever it was, commenced, in the year and Macdonald — I think he was Alasdair Macdonald — told me that he was there at Arnisdale; near Arnisdale, on the north side of Loch Hourn and a number of them had got together to push a boat out to go fishing.
And they had just got the boat on its keel and were ready to shove, when the wild roaring was heard. The boat was dropped and every one of the men went away into the house frightened, terribly frightened. Now that, I said, was in The thing went on, heard frequently all along the south side of Loch Hourn mostly and sometimes over to Loch Nevis but not so commonly.
Now I had service at Barrisdale one day and after service we had breakfast together quite a number of us. He was the gamekeeper at Barrisdale. And he told me his experience.
He had to go up to the moor above Barrisdale to get some blackcock or grouse or some bird of that kind to send to the people who had the shooting there, to send it down to London.
He got up very early in the morning so as to be at the moor just as day was breaking. There was a little snow in the ground, about half an inch, and when he got close, got up towards the top of the moor, the level of the moor, he heard the crooning of some birds, the very birds that he was after. So he backed a little to get the shelter of a rock because he knew that there was some snow coming — what you might call a shower of snow, translating the Gaelic.
And he waited there with his gun ready. And then suddenly without any warning off the birds go with a shriek of fright. He had some few words to say then, but he sat down on the rock. And then when daylight came after the snow was over he walked out to where the birds had been.Hey very interesting blog! My weblog Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet.
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A little less than half that distance brings you to Barrisdale Bay at the neck of the peninsula. There is also a camping area opposite the bothy. We walked in to Barrisdale Bay in the afternoon, having made the four-hour drive from Glasgow that morning. We planned to climb Ladhar Bheinn ourselves and had come equipped for winter conditions.
Much snow on the hill, we wondered? Very little, the northeners averred. We thought perhaps our ice axes and crampons would be unnecessary baggage after all, but we were under way and conditions can change, so we continued on our way fully laden.
The path along the southern shore of Loch Hourn is well-trodden and very scenic, with several metre ups and downs. After some distance, the bulk of Ladhar Bheinn came into view, its summit shrouded in cloud, patches of snow clinging to the slopes of its horseshoe ridge. High cloud cover obscured the highest of the peaks rising up above the loch, but the rain stayed off during the tough three-hour hike in to Barrisdale.The Beast of Gévaudan
Arriving at the bay, we continued along the landrover track towards the lodge and the bothy beyond. Another couple of walkers were heading in the opposite direction and we stopped for a chat.
The couple had also been up Ladhar Bheinn the day before and insisted that crampons were a must as the north-eastern ridge was very icy. I wondered if he had collected many? He said that he had and his girlfriend nodded sadly at Fiona to confirm that this was indeed the case. How had he removed the antlers from their presumably deceased owner? He pointed to the ice axe fastened to his pack. He looked sceptical and not persuaded in the least. My advice to readers — the Swiss army knife saw is the way forward in this regard.
Dead stags have appeared in front of me on a number of occasions while walking on Jura, which has a population of around red deer — 30 for every human resident. For the squeamish, a less labour intensive method of collecting antlers is to go walking in areas with significant red deer populations around the end of April, when they shed them naturally. Deer do eat shed antlers, presumably for the calcium, so you tend not to find many lying about later in the year. Between them, they maintain the estate and manage the livestock — deer and sheep.
Despite, or perhaps because of the remoteness, Barrisdale Bay can get very busy in late spring — before the squadrons of midges launch their annual anti-camper Blitzkrieg — and the bothy and campsite can get very busy 65 tents were counted on one day last summer.
Unlike bothies maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association MBAthe Barisdale bothy has running water and electric light, but the hearth has been blocked-up due to previous misadventure.
The lack of electricity and running water and an open fire place are, to my mind, the best things about a bothy, but there are different factors at play here. Unlike MBA bothies, the estate maintain this bothy themselves for the use of walkers — good for them. They have to safeguard the building and its users and, because Barrisdale can be very busy at times, flushing toilets are an expedient.Remember Me?
What's New? Forum Main Walking and Climbing Barrisdale bay camping. Results 1 to 16 of Thread: Barrisdale bay camping. I be a headin Knoydart boundin May and need to pick a base camp spot around Barrisdale Bay for day rambles up the surrounding peaks.
Ive heard a rumour you have to pay for the bothy at Barrisdale I could be wrong, I normally am Is this the same for camping outside it?
I actually dont want to camp outside the bothy thinking about it, all those hidden treasures lying under rocks, ect. Still curious though. It looks quite promising the other side of the bay at the start of the stalker path up Ladhar Bienn GR A good spot, or bog?
Do the people of Barrisdale take kindly to willy nilly tent pitchs around their bay? Ta, I promise to be a good boy when I'm there, I hear the nightlifes terrific!
There's a camp site opposite the bunkhouse, it's not actually a bothy as such. Camping around the bay may well piss the residents off. Camping in Knoydart is best in the mountains and out of sight of the buildings. There's a big black honesty box in the bothy, with a request for cash on it, IIRC. Loads of folk camp outside.
It would be shameful to suggest that the local stalker pockets the cash. The walk in to Barrisdale is beautiful. Last time but oneI was there I camped higher upat Mam Barrisdale which just about perfectfor the hills on either side, tho' I went in from Inverie.
Time after that I camped on the top of Meall Buidhe which was great too. If you can get to Inverie, the night-life will indeed be exellent! Why not walk over to Sourlies bothy ,beautiful spot. The honesty box is how I remember it too - it was 50p a night when we were there a few years ago. This was a small price to pay for the comforts of a loo so no nasty suprises under rocks and a welcome refuge from the dreaded midge.
Lots of fantastic wild camping spots about there as well of course. There is a house close to the bothy so you should make sure you are camped out of site of them. Cheers for link James K. I suppose i could camp outside the Bothy Toilet!! OK Forrest I was just being lazy in truth, seeing whats what, the weathers so misrible I pretend i'm off on a backpack sat here. Last time I was there I remember the bothy being considerably cheaper than that. It was also considerably dirtier than it apears in those pictures.
There was also a petrol generator which fed lighting in the bothy.