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After all the sunshine the previous day on Jura we weren't as lucky with the weather this day. It was cloudy (at least it didn't rain) and a very strong wind with gales was blowing. Nevertheless a group of walkers gathered at the car park at the market near Bridgend. Jack Adamson, gamekeeper at the Islay Estate, was our leader for this walk.

We started at the grounds of Islay House, where Jack gave us some background about Islay Estate and Islay House. When Islay House was built the village of Kilarrow was removed (the population was moved to the newly founded Bowmore) to ensure the Campbell laird had an undisturbed view. The house has now been sold, may be the estate decided 365 windows were too many to clean?

Picture of Islay House Picture of businesses on Islay House Square
Picture of walkers in the woods near Loch Skerrols Past Islay House we continued to Islay House Square. This used to be the farm buildings of the estate, but they aren't used for farming purposes any more. Efforts are now under way to establish small business units in the various buildings. Already established are Elizabeth Sykes Batiks, Sophie Younger Textile Conservation and Islay Quilters. There's also a furniture maker and a brewery was just opening when we visited.

Past Eallabus we continued through the woods to Loch Skerrols. As it was quite windy at the shore we continued through the woods around Loch Skerrols. Once we almost got wet feet, when we had to cross a burn carrying a lot of water after a lot of rain over night and over previous days. But we all managed to cross it without getting wet feet.

Picture of people about to cross a burn Picture of people crossing a burn
We continued past Octovulin and fairly quickly made our way over the open land to the East Lodge. As walking over open land was quite unpleasant with the strong wind Jack hurried to get us into the woods again, a good decision. Once we had arrived in the shelter of the trees he gave us more information about land management and the history of the area.
Picture of the East Lodge at Islay Estate Picture of Jack Adamson talking to the walkers
Picture of the River SornPicture of walkers near BridgendOur walk now more or less followed the River Sorn flowing through and along the woods. Walking in the shelter of the trees was much more pleasant and enjoyable.

We passed the Islay Woollen Mill (sorry, no picture), which used to be powered by the water of the River Sorn.

After about two miles we crossed the River Sorn for the last time and approached Bridgend again. Now it wasn't long until a well deserved lunch...

Picture of walkers arriving at the Bridgend Hotel In Bridgend we headed straight to the Bridgend Hotel, where a lunch of soup and sandwiches was waiting for us. And also a warm and cosy open fire:
Picture of an open fire
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