South Islay

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July 18th 2006
Published: July 20th 2006
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Weather Report

Hot and sunny.

Hire car booked for 10ish so took the 8:45am bus to the airport where car to be picked up. Interesting wander around the airport and photo of plane taking off against background of sea / hills. Flights are mainly to and from Glasgow. Car eventually arrived 1045.

Set off towards Port Ellen which I quickly reached. Parked and explored the small harbour and various views of the town. From there followed the road around the south east corner of the island. Inland side of the road is mostly open moorland while the coast is a lovely mix of rocky islets and headlands and secluded bays. Explored the remains of Kidalton Church and the Celtic cross outside which is one of the oldest in the British isles dating back to the seventh century. Has typical Celtic ring structure to it.

On the map the road goes no further than Ardtalla. Unfortunately places are not always named / marked on the road. The single track road eventually became a gated road and then having closed one gate and set-off I realised I was driving across a field ! Obviously I had reached Ardtalla - and indeed on closer inspection the last farmhouse was called Ardtalla.

Retraced my steps back through Port Ellen and then took the road for the Mull of Oa which is the south west corner of the island. Best described as barren and remote moorland with scattered farms. Eventually reached the end of the road at Lower Killeyan. This time I recognised it as the end of the road because the track disappeared off the side of a cliff. Lovely views across the sea.

It was leaving the Oa that the day disintegrated as the car began to overheat. Perhaps not surprising in that heat in a hire car with high mileage. By this time the hire company had finished for the day and anyway had not provided any evidence o9f a rescue service. I rang the RAC (my membership covers me not just my car). Had some problem explaining to the lady where I was - when I said island she thought I meant a roundabout. Eventually all was sorted and rescue truck arrived within the hour. Car and I were taken back to Bowmore and hire company informed. End of day !!!


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