Expedition 12 - 14th November 1998
The Three Old Maids, Kinlochmoidart

This expedition took place in near perfect weather, Robbie and Ellen, who had elected not to take their waterproof jackets, made the right decision. The rest of us got hot.
The expeditions members were Allan, Claire, David, Ellen MacG, Karen, Kathryn, Margaret, Mary, Robbie and Robert.

We started out from the entrance to the Kinlochmoidart Fish Hatchery, next to a big Grand Fir. To get to the start of the hill path we had to walk across the field to the ruins of Old Brunery Farm, where Dee MacAulay, who was working with the cows, directed us around the least muddy places.

The next hour was spent climbing the long zig-zag path towards the top of the hill. At one point the few members at the top of the path saw two deer hurrying away from the noise of the expedition. Just above the top of the wood we left the path and crossed the open hillside. We crossed a stream where many had a drink and then scrambled through the heather and bracken to reach the three big rock outcrops known as the Three Old Maids. The members then investigated the rocks and discovered the cave and lookout under the centre rock. When John had clipped the heather away they could see how it had a good view across to the entrance of the Moidart North Channel.

The expedition members then used the map to get an idea of the locality spread out far beneath them.
After lunch the expedition started descending the steep slope above Kinlochmoidart House. It was all fairly easy apart from one difficult rocky part and a few marshy bits. At the bottom of the cliff we reached the main path which we followed back to rejoin the Brunery path. On the way we stopped to look at the old, big estate wall.

When we reached the car there was still some time to spare and the members were ready for another excursion so we went to Old Kinlochmoidart Bridge and visited the Bull's Knoll.
The members walked right round the Knoll, looking at several strange trees on the way, including an enormous oak, and having a lot of fun with a deer skull picked up on the way. Claire found a lot of spiders under an oak tree.

Finally, before getting back to the cars, the expedition visited Old Kinlochmoidart Bridge and looked at the iron pins and rings fixed to the downstream side. Some of the team saw a dipper by the river.
Returning to Acharacle, we all had soup at Tracy's before returning to the Resource Centre to record the expedition.

The Pictures

Robbie's picture shows the stream surrounded by round stones with the path crossing by a bridge and snaking off up the hill. Claire's subdivided picture showed the deer above the tree line, one of the big stones and John's car with its big tyres (she deleted the final rectangle on the page). Karen showed the deer and the Three Old Maids in a single view with the sun smiling down, the presence of the cave is indicated. A similar approach was adopted by Kathryn (K.M.N.) and Ellen, who showed the whole walk with the car at the bottom, the zig-zag path, the big rocks above the trees, the stream and the deer. David John adopted his usual starkly simple approach showing the zig-zag path going up the hill. Margaret showed the stream running over the rocks and forming a waterfall. Karen's second sketch showed the deer skull which was used liberally in an attempt to scare the younger explorers. Allan divided his picture into two, the bottom showed the tractor and trailer on the left and the zig-zag path on the right with the tiny tractor as seen from the top of the hill. Robert adopted a highly imaginative approach, combining all the features of the walk into a fanciful design; at the top of this picture are two figures, one of which is holding the deer skull on a stick.. The tractor features strongly, but it has sprouted a front and rear bucket which, together with the cab, holds the Three Old Maids, restored to human form, one of the spiders is clinging to the cab. To the right of the tractor are two cows and above them a strange form which incorporates the skull; in the centre is the big oak tree, with an owl in a hole in the trunk, and on the top right is the dark cave under the rock with John's well-loaded car underneath.

John Dye

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