A rivers journey

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High up in the Gleann an Dubh-Lochain two streams tumble out of the high corries - the Abhainn Grugaig and the Abhainn nan Eildean.

Cascading down from the slopes leading up to the summits of Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe. These two summits are Munro’s - mountains over 3000ft in height above sea level.

Garbh Criochan, the ‘Rough Bounds’.

As the streams reach the high valley floor, glacial activity from eons past has created a shallow depression in which sits the Loch an Dubh-Lochain - the Black Loch. Surrounded by steep rocky and wooded slopes, rich with the sound of Red Deer stags rutting during the Autumn and herds of hinds most of the year.

Above the outflow of the loch sits Torcuileainn - a long abandoned sheiling, its roof now collapsed into the innards of its walls.

The outflow of the loch is the beginnings of the Inverie River. Modern management of the river corridor has seen the installation of a sluice to control the level of the loch and also the flow of the river.

From here on though, the rivers short journey to the sea, it is a wild river - known for its high population of rare Freshwater Mussels. Meandering, cascading, flowing between its banks, sometimes hidden, sometimes in clear view. Banks thick with Alder, Birch, stunted Oaks, Ash, Rowan and Holly. Heather and Bog Myrtle, Cotton Grass tussocks make up the blanket bog ground beyond. Gravel and sand bars form on the insides of meanders, eroded till is exposed on the outside bends. Each year, each flood changing course ever so slightly. Looking at the map or arial imagery reveals abandoned meanders.

The last vestiges of its course runs out into the salt flats where the ebb and flow of each tide bring rich opportunities for the resident otters to feed. The water mixing with that of the sea in Loch Nevis. Eventually finding its way to the open waters of the Sound of Sleat, the Minch and the Atlantic ocean.