A trip around some of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland is to get underway on Monday evening.
A second series of Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs gets underway as Paul Murton continues his loch-hopping odyssey.
With tens of thousands of lochs in Scotland, from the great freshwater lochs of the central highlands, the fjord-like sea lochs of the west coast, to the innumerable lochs and lochans that scatter the open moors or nestle in dark mountain corries, each one of them has a story to tell, and
Paul sets out to explore these uniquely Scottish bodies of water, meeting the people who live close to their shores.
Over a two-month filming period during the spring and summer, the production crew were blessed with some astonishingly good weather – and the results are evident on screen.
Virtually every shot of the series is bathed in beautiful Scottish sunlight, which enhances the tours to some extremely remote and weather dependent destinations, from the wilds of Caithness to the heights of the mighty Merrick above beautiful Loch Trool.
Paul said: ‘We are always at the mercy of the elements making a series of Grand Tours. When we set out at the end of April, the weather was looking grim, and we feared the worst. But miraculously the sun put on a great show for us later. It was so gorgeous that one Dutch tourist was heard to complain that Scotland looked more like the Côte d’Azure. “Where is all the famous the mist and rain?” he moaned. Thankfully, the weather gods ignored him!
‘This series visits some really remote lochs. The Flow Country of Caithness is studded with them in a vast, empty tract of land stretching all the way to Sutherland. But a couple of hundred years ago, people lived in this wilderness, fishing the lochs and harnessing the power of its streams to power simple mills. Over the course of a generation 15 000 inhabitants were evicted by the Duke of Sutherland in a so-called land improvement scheme, otherwise known as The Clearances.
‘It never ceases to amaze me how even remote and little-known lochs have a history that reaches out to the wider world. On the shores of Loch Kishorn in the 1970s, the biggest moveable structure ever built was created: the 600,000 tonne Ninian Central Platform destined for the North Sea oil fields.
‘And on the shores of Loch Sunart, a mineral in one of the mines above Strontian was discovered to be a new chemical element and was named Strontium in honour of the place where it was found. And up on the north coast is a loch where hidden Jacobite gold could have changed the course of history.
‘People have lived on our loch-sides since the earliest times. Legends and myths about the landscape and the environment abound. There is hardly a contour on the map without a story – from a witch who drowned a glen, to dragons, a sacred tree and a healing goddess who lives in a loch. I hope the viewer coming to this series will sense the huge contribution that lochs have made to our history.”
On his first Grand Tour of the new series, Paul explores the magical Argyll coast, travelling from the sacred sands of Kilmory Bay on Loch Sween. On the beautiful Lilly Loch in Knapdale forest he gets a glimpse of beaver, before joining a group of steam enthusiasts restoring an old Puffer on the Crinan Canal. Stone-age rock art leads him north to Loch Awe where he drives a herd of highland cows towards his final destination – the mountainous heights of Ben Cruachan.
Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs begins on Monday, 10 September, on BBC One Scotland, from 7.30-8.00pm,.