Hairy wood ants? That's a new one on me! Apparently these were recently found at the Balmacara Estate on the Lochalsh Peninsula, the furthest north and west these ants have ever been found in Scotland. The estate, an area of outstanding natural beauty covering 2,550 hectares, offers lochside woodland walks, interesting archaeological and historic features and the Balmacara Square Visitor Centre with guides to the footpaths and local information. The Lochalsh Woodland Garden contains an interesting mix of Scots Pine and other traditional woodland trees along with more exotic flora such as hydrangeas and rhododendrons, the latter best viewed in Spring. There are stunning views across to Skye from the garden. As well as the Visitor Centre, the village of Balmacara Square has a number of picturesque, recently restored buildings and a range of accommodation options. Just beyond the western fringes of Balmacara is a monument to Donald Murchison, a Colonel in the Highland Army who defended Kintail and Lochalsh from 1715 to 1722 for his Jacobite chief, the exiled 5th Earl of Seaforth. Murchison risked life and limb by collecting rents on behalf of the Earl, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. The monument, an obelisk, was erected many years later in 1863 by Murchison's great grand nephew Sir Roderick Murchison.
Map of the area.
© 2004 Dave Napier, via Wikimedia Commons