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Friday, 7 September 2007

Port Askaig to Bunnahabhain, 2nd September 2007

I had had the opportunity to check out this coastal route on a recent ferry trip to Colonsay. I wanted to make sure it was possible to walk along the shore and, apart from a couple of questionable places, it looked do-able so, having secured a lift from Bunnahabhain back to my car at Port Askaig, I set off.
A little old lady was pottering around in the last house on the shore at Port Askaig. I knocked on the door and asked her if it was possible to walk to Caol Ila from here. "I used to do it in five minutes when I was a girl," she replied, after inviting me in to her beautiful conservatory. She told me she'd seen a family of three otters the night before and I set off again, with my otter hopes high. "Be careful of the slippery rocks," were the words of warning offered on my departure.
I was glad of the advice and glad too that the tide was on the way out so that more of the shoreline was revealed. I'm not sure how accessible this route would be at high tide. As it was, it was tricky in places and as for my desire to be as close as possible to the sea, I was sometimes actually IN the sea; it was necessary at times in order to get by a particularly large rocky outcrop.
Underfoot it is pebbly all the way and concentration is required constantly to avoid slipping. Several times my walking stick prevented a nasty fall. So it is a tricky walk, but not at all unpleasant with the Sound of Islay on your right and native woodland sloping upwards on your left. I saw Speckled Wood and Small Copper butterflies.
When I saw the wreck of the Wyre Majestic, the 338 ton trawler which ran aground in 1974, I knew I was on the home run. There is some difficult scrambling still to do before you get to Bunnahabhain, however, over scree, and I was thankful to reach the final stretch and walk under the pier to the car park where a lift was awaiting me.
I was rather disappointed to discover that I'd only walked about 2 and a half miles - it had seemed much longer! This had been a difficult stretch, but compared to today's walk, it was a piece of cake! I'll write about that when I've recovered!


Armin said...

Interesting way to get from Port Askaig to Caol Ila ;-)

I would have taken the path across the top, quite nice with great views and a bit easier to walk. But then I guess to follow your rules that wasn't really an option.

Becky said...

Oh, I've often walked along the clifftops if the bottom route looked impassable. I do prefer to be as close to the sea as possible, though. Have you walked the route you mentioned? I ask because it looked thick with bracken which is not at all pleasant. But of course that wouldn't be there all year round. :-)

Armin said...

You're right, didn't think of the bracken.

I think I've walked the path twice, the first time was definitely early in the year (April), I can't remember when the second time was. Quite possibly early in the year as well.

Considering how late it is in the year the bracken must be quite high now, so I can believe it's not very nice there now.

I remember walking to McArthur's Head in late August a few years ago, the bracken was taller than me in places. And that means something, as I'm 6'3...