The Armin Grewe Homepage
Picture of a view over a heather covered landscape towards a hill Having visited two Islay distilleries earlier in the afternoon I decided to use the rest of the beautiful afternoon for some quick hillwalking. From Bruichladdich I quickly drove to Port Charlotte and then on to the Kilchiaran road. Stopping near Gleann Cnoc a' Chrochaire I decided on a slightly unusual approach to where I wanted to go: Beinn Tart a'Mhill.

While there are easier ways to get to the summit of the highest hill on the Rinns of Islay I was hoping for gradually improving views when approaching from the north east. Walking across the heather covered land I soon had promising views back to Port Charlotte and Bowmore.

The route I had chosen wasn't perfect, as I had to walk around various wet and boggy areas.
Picture of a view over low hills to a sea loch Picture of a boggy landscape
Picture of a view over a sea loch to the end of some cliffs with a monument on the top Having passed the boggy and wet stretch the real ascent began and the views continued to open up. To the south east I could see the Mull of Oa with the American Monument. Behind it in the haze I could make out parts of the Irish coast, 30 miles across the North Channel.

The ground was still quite rough with bracken and heather in places, but there were enough areas with just grass fairly easy to walk and climb the hill on.

Looking back I had amazing views over Loch Indaal with Port Charlotte and Bowmore on the western and eastern shores respectively. For a much better view you might want to try the Quicktime VR panorama of the view over Loch Indaal on the Isle of Islay, which will also give you much more detail:
Picture of a panoramic view over a sea loch with two villages
Picture of the top of a hill with some telecommunication masts Soon I arrived at the summit with its trig point at 232m. Not too far away to the south east the Ministry of Defence and telecommunications mast installations. Obviously necessary, but unfortunately also disturbing some of the fantastic views.

It was late afternoon by now, with the sun starting to descend the light was wonderful. While hazy I could see Ireland fairly well (unfortunately it didn't come out on the pictures very well).

Looking south east across Loch Indaal I could see The Oa stretching out in all its glory, the steep cliffs along the shore. Towards the southern end Beinn Mhór and the Mull of Oa with the American Monument. Looking down just below me I could see Nerabus and Octofad Farm.
Picture of a view over a sea loch to a peninsula with steep cliffs
Picture of a lighthouse seen from the top of a hill Walking past the masts to the south western end of the summit I had more great views: Ireland visible in the distance, below Portnahaven and Port Wemyss with the Rinns of Islay lighthouse on Orsay behind.

Looking to the north-west I had great views of the area around Kilchoman: The old radar installations on the hills between Kilchiaran and Kilchoman were easily visible, behind it parts of Machir Bay. In the distance Saligo Bay with the cliffs at Dun Bheolain (sometimes also known as Opera House rocks).

In the far distance to the north I could see Colonsay and even the Isle of Mull. Unfortunately this didn't come out very well on the pictures I took.
Picture of a view over a bay behind some hills with aerials on the top
Picture of a hill flank with a sea loch in the distance Now it was time to return to my car, so that I could hopefully catch up with the Islay Malt Pillage at one of the southern distilleries. I decided to descend the hill on its north western flank, dropping into Gleann Tart a'Mhill.

Once I had arrived at the bottom of the hill I continued north east towards Olistadh. I had a quick look around this abandonded settlement, not knowing anything about its history didn't make it particularly interesting.

The final stretch took me through the woods to Gearach and then back along the roads to my car. A quick drive took me to Port Charlotte, from where I started my last evening on Islay.
Picture of the ruins of an old settlement with a hill in the background Picture of a coastal village with distillery warehouses
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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