A beaver walk

Last Sunday, before social-distancing rules really kicked in, H and I went for a walk down to the Dubh Loch in Knapdale, just to see what the beavers had been up to over the winter. Answer: plenty. Here are some photos of what was easily-seen and which shows examples of beaver signs for those who’ve not seen them before.

Yes, busy as as beaver is a thing.

Beaver feeding station

Beaver feeding station beside Loch Coille-Bhar

Reinforced dam on the Dubh Loch

Reinforced dam on the Dubh Loch

Reinforced dam on the Dubh Loch

The beavers’ technique for building dams shows well here, where they’ve reinforced the Dubh Loch dam.

The flooded Dubh Loch area

The flooded Dubh loch area, with standing deadwood.

Beaver lodge on the shore of Loch Coille-Bhar

Beaver lodge on the shore of Loch Coille-Bhar.

A beaver landscape

This whole area is flooded, or at least much wetter, than it was before the beavers dammed the Dubh Loch. Standing trees have died and are falling, opening the whole area up.

Beaver felling

A tree felled by the beavers beside the track.

Beaver canal

This ditch has been used by the beavers as a canal – in fact, it has been dammed further along to improve it. They’ve been feeding on some of the sticks here at the end of it.

Beaver dam

A small dam on a ditch running away from the Dubh Loch. improving the canal above it. Note plenty of beaver sticks where they’ve been feeding.

Small beaver dam

Elsewhere in the woods, pools have been created by damming small burns. Sticks are laid lengthwise in the water and mud and other debris is pushed up behind it. The mud dam may yet be reinforced with more sticks.

Land and sea

This is the view back up the Keils peninsula with the Sound of Jura on the left. The islands of Jura and Scarba are visible. There was once a ferry to Jura from this peninsula.

This is the view from the southern tip of the peninsula, with only a few skerries between here and Ireland about 75 miles away.

We’ve had a stunning weekend in Argyll, and this was from a walk out yesterday evening after supper. We’re getting to that point in the year where long evenings make evening expeditions worthwhile.

Keills Port South Quay

Keills Port South Quay

At the end of the peninsula south of Tayvallich lies the little-used Keills Port. This slipway is the still-operational South Quay and maintained by Argyll and Bute Council. The gated road to the quay is a public road its full length and, contrary to the signs, it is possible to turn a vehicle at the quay end. That said, the best approach is on foot or bicycle to maintain the tranquility of the place. This was once busy with traffic from the Isle of Jura, which lies across the sound. Seals and otters can be seen here and the slipway itself is covered with sea pinks in the spring.

The quay was built in 1821 on the orders of the Parliamentary Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges and is attributed to Thomas Telford.