Saturday, 14 April 2018


Now, this is new to us - muirburning is the process of setting fire to heather.  We came across it last evening when driving back from our meal when we were a little alarmed to see a blaze on the horizon.  It's "dark skies" here, so it's difficult to locate things in the distance - no lights to guide you.  The fire appeared to be hanging in the sky, but that was because it was on a hill somewhere.  We expected fire engines to be next, but there was none of that.

Today we saw this while in Gairloch and, speaking with locals, found that it's common practice this time of year.

The idea is to burn away all the old, matted heather, allowing the new growth to come through unhindered. Evidently new heather is much better for wildlife to eat and it looks better too - "more purple".  It's also much safer to set fire to it now when it won't spread so fast than allow summer wildfires to get going.

"Muir" is the Scots word for "moorland" - hence "muirburning" and is the origin of the surnames Muir and Moore.You learn new things each day. 

Just while I'm on - here's the view from the same place that the photo above was take, but in the opposite direction.  That's Strath beach and in the distance is the Torridon range of mountains. 

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