The Armin Grewe Homepage
Walk 2
  • Description: From Port Askaig to Finlaggan and back via Caol Ila, Kilslevan and Loch Allan
  • Walk leader: Donald James (D.J.) MacPhee
  • Distance: approx 8 miles
  • Weather: rain, some hail, quite strong and gusty winds
  • Participants: approx 30

Unfortunately my first walk turned out to be very wet. We met at Port Askaig, where the rain started while we were getting ready to leave. I decided to leave my main camera behind, which turned out to be a very wise decision.

Past Freeport and along the Sound of Islay we made our way to Caol Ila, the views still nice despite the rain and occasional hail. No chance to take any pictures though.

A hazy picture from inside the Finlaggan Centre
Passing Heatherhouse we continued to Persabus Pottery, our first stop and opportunity to warm up again. Teas and coffees were enjoyed as well as some cake, not to forget a look at the pottery available. Then it was time to get out into the rain again. First to Keills and then to the old lead mines at Mulreesh, D.J. gave an excellent overview of the history of the area. Early in the afternoon we arrived at Finlaggan, where we took over the Finlaggan visitor centre. I dared to take the camera out, it fogged up quite quickly and the attempt above is representative of the three pictures I managed to take before I gave up.

Most participants decided to abandon the walk here, only a handful decided to complete the walk anyway as we were wet already. At this point also my thanks to D.J. for giving us the opportunity to complete the walk and his excellent guidance during the walk! Crossing the main road we headed south east again. D.J. showed us a stone with three holes carved into it, believed to be representations of the Paps of Jura which can be seen on a clearer day. I hope I get a chance to return on a clearer day and take a picture of it.

Next we visited the ruins of the deserted village of Kilslevan before crossing several burns on our way to Loch Allan. Past Loch Allan and Lily Loch we continued to the grounds of Dunlossit House, where we had a short tour of the gardens. We also learned about hunting and stalking as well as some more history of the area. A very enjoyable walk despite the bad weather.

As I didn't take any pictures apart from the attempts at Finlaggan I decided to show one picture I took later in the week just before leaving. A view over the Sound of Islay from near Caol Ila, the Paps of Jura visible in the distance:

Picture of a view over the Sound of Islay to Jura
Walk 5
  • Description: The Oa; through Glen Astle to the coast and back along Allt Ghill lochdrach
  • Walk leader: Andy Schofield (in place of Gus Keys, who was stuck in Glasgow)
  • Distance: approx 6 miles
  • Weather: rain, but much less wind and no hail
  • Participants: approx 8 (there was another walk in parallel to this one)

After some false hope (I had a glimpse of the sun early in the morning) the second walk turned out almost as wet as the first. As soon as we left Port Ellen to drive out to The Oa it started to rain. Initially we were also missing a walk leader: Gus Keys, who was going to lead this walk was stuck in Glasgow due to problems with his flights to Islay.

Picture of Lower Glen Astle
Many thanks therefore to Andy Schofield who stood in for Gus with about an hours notice.

We left the cars near Coillabus and started to walk through Glen Golach to Glenastle Loch. Unfortunately the bad weather meant we didn't see many birds, although Andy still managed to find a few and point them out to us. He also gave us interesting insights into the history of the area and how the area used to be farmed as well as what the RSPB is now trying to achieve.

The cliffs were still impressive despite the rain, at some point we could even make out the American Monument in the distance. Crossing burns Andy didn't know they existed (or at least hadn't see so full before) we turned east again towards Giol. At the farm some of the tracks had turned into rivers we had to cross instead of being able to walk on them.

Picture of walkers in wet weather gear
Picture of cliffs in the rain Picture of walkers in the rain
After about three hours of walking we returned to the cars to drive back to our hotels or homes. Time for a warm shower and a bite to eat, as we had skipped lunch during the walk, not much point in stopping for lunch in the rain.

In the evening it was time for the Visitors Welcome Evening at the Ionad Chaluim Chille Ile (The Columba Centre). Music, a slide show and traditional Highland Dancing as well as a wee dram of Islay whisky made it an enjoyable evening. After all the rain we were promised great weather for the next day, something we weren't sure if we should believe it. We even discussed a potential cancellation of the walk on Jura for the next day, but it was decided to wait until the next morning to make a decision. There were also some worrying news: An ill prepared walker had got into trouble on Jura and Coastguard and Mountain rescue were searching for him. We later learned that he was rescued but had to be taken to hospital and quite possibly wouldn't have survived if he had been found much later. Another reminder only to go into the hills with the right equipment and preparation, a point Ian Brooke reminded all participants of for the next walk: If you don't have the necessary equipment you won't be allowed to join.

Outbound Journey <- WalkIslay 2005 -> Walking on the Isle of Jura