As some visitors to the area may already know, Gavin Maxwell, author of several books including Ring of Bright Water which comprises of his autobiography, lived here for some time following the Second World War. Something of Sandaig Bay and the surrounding area, where Maxwell’s house of Camusfeàrna used to stand, this must have arrested his imagination for he went on to immortalise the area several times over in his so-called “otter books.”
Maxwell’s overriding passion seems to have been for otters; a great deal of Ring of Bright Water, the first and best part of the autobiography, recalls how, in 1956, following some time in Iraq, where he had spent time roaming about the alluvial salt marshes, Maxwell brought back an otter to the Highlands.
This relaxing day out with Minch Adventures aims to recapture some of the magic conveyed in Maxwell’s accounts of the area and to allow visitors to experience some of it for themselves, offering a day of landscapes, wildlife and Highland culture.
The day out includes: a boat trip to Sandaig itself, where there is the chance to swim in the bright waters of the bay, to comb along the beach at your leisure, or stretch out on the pebbles and listen to the plangent sound of the waves. Taking advantage of the relaxed pace of the day, we often take the chance at Sandaig to have a small picnic and barbeque, cooking either something we’ve brought or perhaps more excitingly, anything we’ve managed to catch in the bay off the side of the boat.
Though we have no great expanses of reed marshes; otters are not an uncommon sight in the estuaries, beaches and rivers of the area. There is also the chance to spot some when visiting the Maxwell memorial and on a walk that follows the river inland, through banks of sun shot woods, to the waterfall which Maxwell called “perhaps the most enduring symbol of Camusfeàrna.” Of this waterfall, Maxwell tells us “the sun reaches the waterfall for only a short time in the afternoon; it forms a rainbow over the leaping spray and at the top of the fall between the boulders it gives to the smooth-flowing unbroken water, the look of spun green glass.”
As with a great many of the trips and cruises offered by Minch Adventures, we offer our visitors a wide range of possibilities, including the opportunity to enjoy some sea fishing at various locations and intriguingly to pull up creels for themselves, looking for crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans. When the sun is shining, this trip can be pure gold.