Conic Hill and Loch Lomond wildlife

Last evening I had a lovely walk up Conic Hill on the eastern side of Loch Lomond. A quick midweek blast of exercise, some fresh air and a good opportunity to catch up on chat with friends. As summer winds down it is now getting dark around 9 o'clock but the trip up Conic is short steep hike from the Balmaha car park, ideal if you've got a spare hour or two. Last week we walked up as a family in glorious sunshine with a picnic so took ages longer and spent a decent amount of time enjoying the immense views in every direction. On the way down yesterday we met a few local coos, lovely large bulky Highland Cattle, a perfect Scottish scene.

Highland cattle are of course a domestic breed but the goats I saw on my previous lochside walk up near the north end of the loch are feral, there seems to be quite a healthy thriving population and are a common sight for walkers on the West Highland Way.

The next photo was taken rather quickly of an unknown creature in the water. It took a bit of time to realise we were watching a mink swimming just off shore carrying dead prey which appeared to be only slightly smaller than the mink itself. After swimming, the mink scampered across the beach and headed behind rocks to better cover. American mink have no natural predators, save man, in this country and are a result of the generations following escapees from mink farms as far back as the 1920s. The mink population have become a nuisance in parts but I was intrigued to watch it as I've never previously seen one.

And finally, has anyone any knowledge what this skeleton is from? Photographed just north of Inversnaid on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond. I spotted it when walking day 3 of the West Highland Way. It seemed far too pristine to be real. Any ideas folks?

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