Friday, 29 June 2012

Laggan: Lost World

Yesterday Ian and Sandra braved a poor weather forecast to join me on a circular walk from Lochranza, around the Cock of Arran, and back over the moor from Laggan Cottage.  The walk takes in some very remote coastline, rough boulders on the beach, and passes through the lost hamlet of Laggan, where some 100+ crofters made their living from subsistence farming and salt panning for the salt herring market.  Sadly in the late 18th Century, more "modern" farming strategies prompted wholesale clearing of tenant crofters on Arran to make way for ranch style pastoralism. It is a poignant walk through ruins and empty hollows, and a reminder of how harsh life was for the crofter in days gone by.

Today, this walk is also a stunning journey with magnificent views of Bute and the Arrochar Alps.  There is abundant wildlife including red deer, otters and birds of prey, rare flowers and world famous geology to be enjoyed on route.

 Ragged Robin heavy with raindrops on the Northern Shore beyond An Scriodan ("The Scree"). An Scriodan is a rough boulder field that bars the way between Lochranza and Laggan, best negotiated at low tide. 

 A sheltered natural harbour close to the old salt panning village on the shore.  Here the villagers mined a rough seam of coal to heat their salt pans. On the southern wall of this harbour it is possible to see the fossil footprints of the giant Centipede Arthropleura who trundled this way around 300 million years ago.

 Laggan Cottage, all that remains of the small hamlet and network of farms in the area. 

 View from the top of the Narachan track down to Lochranza, a moorland pony road that linked the two villages.  Lochranza was where the inhabitants of Laggan went to school and to church.

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