Loch Gruinart

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July 21st 2006
Published: July 28th 2006
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Weather Report

Showers during the night. Early morning overcast and quite cool. Remained so until early afternoon when sun appeared and within a couple of hours it was very hot once again.

Apparently the Queen was on Islay today. Flew into Port Ellen to board the yacht that she has hired for the summer. Little like me and my car hire ? I saw none of this - I was not in Port Ellen !

Use the i-net in the Service point for an hour and recharged my laptop and camera batteries. Then collected my hire bike (same one as before) and set-off.

Headed first for Kilchoman through open moorland arriving just before midday. Little there other than the old parish church which is totally blocked-up. A short walk away I visited a cemetery holding the graves of sailors who perished in the sinking of the Otrano in1918. From there I dropped down to Machir Bay which is a delightful expanse of sandy beach backed by sand dunes and interesting rock formations.

Continued my journey by circumventing Loch Gorra a fresh water lake and then took the road to Sanaigmore. The journey and arrival were quite uninspiring - there being only one house at Sanaigmore and that in the process of being renovated probably as a holiday let. Here there was a memorial to the dead washed ashore from the wreck of an Irish emigrant ship in 1847. Dangerous waters these.

Retraced my steps and found my way to the RSPB Nature Reserve at Gruinart. Interesting landscape but the birds seem to have been holiday - little to see. Then took the road along Loch G towards Ardnave three miles away at its seaward end. This proved far more rewarding with some of the most attractive landscape seen on Islay and a standing stone, Celtic cross and old chapel.

Retraced my steps and as fatigue was now setting in returned to base so as to prepare for my relocation to Jura. As the crow flies the distance between my present base and intended base on Jura is no more than fifteen miles. However I have to walk to the bus stop. Bus to the ferry terminal at Port Askaig. Ferry to Feolin (about five minutes), catch another bus and then a short walk to camp site. Scheduled to take two-three hours.

So goodbye to - and from - Islay.

Next report from Jura.


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