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Picture of a group of people, some looking through binoculars Thursday saw another reasonably early start, although we didn't have to drive as far as on the Tuesday. For this day we only had to drive the comparably short distance to Loch Gruinart. I left my parents and sister at the RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve, where they went on a guided walk.

As during the walk on the Tuesday Michael (Mike) Coplestone was a very competent leader, supported by Margaret Brooke, our host at Kilchoman. Some of the birds they were hoping for didn't show up, but instead they saw and heard a lot of other birds.

Not only were there birds, as Gruinart is home to a working farm they also saw some impressive cattle. And as if that still wasn't enough they also spotted some deer on the hills.
Picture of a few birds in a part flooded area Picture of a young deer walking down a hillside
Picture of the ruins of Kilnave Chapel with Loch Gruinart behind, the Paps of Jura in the distance Picture of the remains of a very old Celtic crossOn my way to Ardnave I briefly stopped at Kilnave for a quick look at the chapel and the remains of the Celtic cross. Unfortunately this cross is in quite bad shape compared to the ones at Kilchoman and Kildalton.

Small picture of a hen harrierWhile at Kilnave I also spotted a hen harrier. It was flying along the shore quite quickly, so the small glimpse of it is the best I managed to capture with my camera.

Picture of a beach stretching along a sea loch Driving on I soon reached Ardnave where I parked the car at the car park near Ardnave Loch. After putting on some sun lotion and changing into my walking boots I was ready for my own walk. My plan was to walk up the western shore of Loch Gruinart to Ardnave Point, then continue along the north western shore of Ardnave to Tràigh Nòstaig before returning to my car past Ardnave Loch.

Walking through the dunes I reached the beach along Loch Gruinart, where I turned north towards Ardnave Point. The view over Loch Gruinart was very nice, for a much better impression of the view you might want to try the Quicktime VR panorama of the view over Loch Gruinart, Islay. Below is a preview of what you're going to get, in the bigger version you can clearly make out the Paps of Jura, Killinallan, Mala Bholsa and other places towards the east:

Picture of a panoramic view over a beach along a sea loch
Picture of dunes and a farm seen over the sea I continued north along the beach, enjoying the sunshine and the views over the loch. Not much bird- and other wildlife along this stretch, only the odd oystercatcher and a heron. Across the loch I had good views over to Killinallan, where I had walked earlier during the year and was considering taking my parents later in the week.

Approaching Ardnave Point I left the beach and climbed up the dunes to continue slightly further inland. Here I was greeted with a beautiful view:

The machair with tens of thousands, more like hundreds of thousands, quite possibly millions of flowers. It doesn't really do it justice, but for a better view you can try the Machair at Ardnave Point panorama. You also get views of Nave Island, Colonsay and Oronsay and even the Isle of Mull:
Picture of a panoramic view over a machair with lots of flowers
Picture of the ruins of a chapel on a small island Across the machair I walked to Port Domhain for a good view of Ardnave Point and Nave Island. I sat down on the rocks for a break and to quickly eat my lunch, enjoying the views and the sunshine. A duck family swam past: Picture of two adult ducks with their young following

Across the narrow sound on Nave Island I could see the ruins of the old chapel with the chimney built inside. The chapel had been abandoned at some point and fallen into disrepair, the walls were later repaired in 1785 and the tall chimney built for the purposes of kelp burning.

Picture of a narrow sound between a coastal point and a small island
Picture of a view along a shoreline with a bay and cliffs in the distance Refreshed after the lunch I turned south west for the return leg of my walk. Across the water I had nice views to Nave Island and Eilean Beag, looking south west along the shore I could see Sanaigmore in the distance. A place on my ‘to visit list’ for the next week.

Quite a few oystercatchers were living in the area, making themselves heard and seen. On Tràigh Nostaig a whole group of them flew up, presenting a nice photo opportunity.

At Port na Muic I left the shore and turned inlands, walking south east now. Past large areas covered in cotton grass I walked towards Ardnave, the Paps of Jura on the horizon providing some guidance for the direction. Following the track I soon reached Ardnave Loch.
Picture of a group of oystercatchers flying over a beach Picture of two distinctively shaped mountains, a field with cotton grass in the foreground
Picture of sheep shearers at work Picture of a lapwing in mid flightWalking past Ardnave Loch I had my last bird sighting for the afternoon: A pair of lapwings was flying around exitedly and noisily making themselves heard with their distinctive calls.

Back at my car I quickly changed to drive back to Gruinart. Early in the afternoon I arrived back at the RSPB reserve to pick up my parents and sister. While waiting for me after returning from their walk they had been impressed by the speed and efficiency of the sheep shearers at the farm.

If you are interested in more information about Islay, Colonsay and Jura you might also be interested in my Isle of Islay pages. There you will find many more pictures and further information about Islay, Jura and Colonsay.

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