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Picture of walkers getting ready to leave Picture of walkers in the hills
Picture of Proaig coming into view After lunch we drove over to Ardtalla, from where Carl and Bryony were going to take us to the second walk of the day out to Proaig. If you're wondering what the man with the red jacket is holding and why he's wearing headphones: He is the broadcaster Mark Stephen holding a microphone who came to Islay to report about the walking week (The program already ran on BBC Radio Scotland, unfortunately not available any more).

Soon we were on our way into the hills behind Ardtalla. After a while (and a few showers) we caught first glimpses of our destination: The broad bay with Proaig in the middle and the entrance to the Sound of Islay in the background. The Isle of Jura was still hiding in the clouds and rain, but this was going to change. The rain eased and the sun started to come through, generating a nice rainbow out over the water.

Picture of rain clearing away from Jura Picture of a rainbow
The path continued along the raised beaches towards Proaig. By now we had a nice view over to Jura and the Sound of Islay. I don't remember the exact details, but people have lived in the area for a long time. If I remember correctly the last occupant left Proaig in the late 1960s. The children who used to live here walked all the way from from Proaig to Ardtalla and then a further two miles to Ardmore to go to school. Compare that to today where children are driven to school for distances of less than half a mile...
Picture of the panoramic view over the bay of Proaig
Picture of a burn somewhere near ProaigPicture of the bothy at ProaigAlong the way we had to cross a few burns, all quite full because of the rain from the previous days. But there were fords in various places, allowing us to cross them quite easily.

After a good hour or so we arrived at Proaig. Most of the buildings are now ruins, only one has a new roof and is now used as a bothy. I believe it is a popular destination for a walk on New Years Day.

We stayed in Proaig for a while, just looking around or having a chat with other walkers. Below a view back (looking south) where we had walked: The bothy on the far right. On the left Ardtalla. In the centre Beinn Bheigeir, Islay's highest hill with 1,609ft/491m. On a clear day the view from it must be great, something for the next visit.

Picture of the panoramic view towards Ardtalla
Picture of people crossing a burnPicture of two people standing on a girder over a burnAfter a while it was time to return to Ardtalla. We left Proaig by crossing the burn over the girders standing in for a bridge.

Only Mark was still busy, on the right you can see him interviewing Ian Brooke, one of the organisers of the Islay Walking Week. And yes, they are standing on the girders over the burn, Proaig in the background.

Initially we followed a slightly different path closer to the shore before joining the main path again back to Ardtalla. Late in the afternoon we returned to Ardtalla after a very nice walk despite the occasionally uncooperative weather. Certainly a walk to repeat, possibly continuing to the lighthouse at McArthur's Head. Or can it be combined with a walk up Beinn Bheigier?

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