Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mala Bholsa and Sgarbh Breac.Islay.

We really struck it lucky with the weather this trip.The rain stopped when we started walking and returned when we finished :)
We drove over towards Port Askaig and branched off to the left up the single track road to the distillery at Bunnahabhain where we parked on the grass verge at the start of the track at NR 418 733.Along the land rover track for 100 metres and take a right heading towards another gate across a field and this will take you to an unmarked bridge over the Margadale river.From there it was a gently undulating 90 minute walk along an ATV track,a bit vague at times,to the lighthouse at Rhuvaal.A quick bag of the trig for me and down to join the others for a bite to eat on the jetty where we were entertained by an inquisitive seal.



It was a bit of a surprise to find out that the lighthouse cottage was occupied given it`s rather remote location.The garden certainly looked impressive and well tended.



From here we cut across the heather and bog to the start of the coastline out towards Mala Bholsa.Up until the lighthouse the scenery had been quite tame though no doubt on a clearer day the Paps of Jura would have enlivened the walk.From here on however we were in our element...




Soon we reached the beach at Bàgh an Dà Dhoruis....


....which sported a nice wee pinnacle that needed bagging.


Looking down from the pinnacle to Gavin...


Looking northwards to Scarba...


A lifetime on the hills and Bob,Gavin and I know how to pace ourselves.As Millie is only two years old she has yet to master the importance of this :) She had been chasing a stick now for three or four hours and Gavin took the chance when she wasn`t looking to hide it under Bob`s jacket.She was not to be denied however.



Next up were the terrific caves at Port a`Chotain. A herd of wild goats had been lazing around outside the middle one and were a bit miffed by our arrival,drawing us disdainful looks as they made their way up the hillside.The middle cave seemed to be their cave of choice and a fine one it was too.A nice flat earthy floor and quite a considerable size also.




Inside Maison des Chèvres...


We carried onwards weaving our way along the coast and threading a few natural arches.


A sudden movement to our left had us agog as a young golden eagle wandered round the corner towards us.It was only ten yards or so away.I fired off a few shots as it half hopped,half flew down the beach.


It took us a few seconds to get our wits back together and it dawned on us that it was either injured or exhausted.There had been a bit of a storm 36 hours previously and we wondered whether it had been blown across from Mull or one of the other islands.Having had time to upload and look at the pics my money is on the injury from the pic below.



We took a line up to the col between Mala Bholsa and Sgarbh Breac where we dumped our sacks at the ruins of the old shieling.......


....... and wandered out to the summit of Mala Bholsa which is one of the finest little tops I`ve been on in years.Seals arguing and singing on the rocks below,wild goats grazing away and fine views over to Colonsay and Oronsay.A wild remote feel to it.Oh aye,it had a trig point too :)



I would have happily stayed here for hours but time was pressing on.It would make a cracking overnight camp though :) Back to the rucksacks and we headed up the slopes of the nearby Marilyn, Sgarbh Breac which was the shortest way back to the car.Looking back to Mala Bholsa with a ship ghosting by on the horizon....




The mist that had been carpeting the top hundred feet or so of Sgarbh Breac all day was still hanging around depriving us of what would have been a great view out to Jura,Mull,Colonsay and the rest.Oh aye,it had a trig point too :) It had been a long day with lots of ups and downs and tough going underfoot and we were glad to be on the last lap downhill towards the distillery at Bunnahabhain in the distance.



Some of the party were feeling the pace and needed some assistance over the last mile or two :)


This must be one of the best coastal walks in Scotland and had a distinctly remote feel to it.Well worth doing. I have a sneaky feeling it would be even better on a wild winters day with a raging sea ....

9 comments:

The Glebe Blog said...

Great pictures and adventures gentlemen.
Though this wouldn't exactly be the route of 'The Road to the Isles' it's lyrics come to mind with this blog.

'A far croonin' is pullin' me away
As take I wi' my cromack to the road.
The far Coolins are puttin' love on me
As step I wi' the sunlight for my load.'

'The blue islands are pullin' me away
Their laughter puts the leap upon the lame
The blue islands from the Skerries to the Lewis
Wi' heather honey taste upon each name.'

auntiegwen said...

Some gorgeous photos there, how I miss home but tapadh leat for the Scottish porn, nothing like it. x

Neil said...

Excellent...you were lucky with the weather. It is years since I was in Islay; need to go back to explore there and also to do the Paps of Jura, which I have never got round to doing. Neil

andamento said...

Great photos, the third one is just beautiful. Haven't been to Islay for a long while (~15yrs, gosh!), due a return visit methinks.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers everyone for the comments.The bad news is we had two other walking days on Islay, each one(in my humble opinion)being better than the last.So more photos and gibbering to come I,m afraid.......Sorry. Bob.

Armin said...

More to come? The more the better!

PS: I'm just mentioning in my Islay blogging roundup that you've said there's more to come, now you'll have to write more ;-)

blueskyscotland said...

Bob has just written one up on the Mull of Oa Armin :)

Holly said...

This is truly some of the most stunning and beautiful countryside I have ever seen. I hope someday to travel to Scotland and see it for myself!

Holly said...

This is truly some of the most stunning and beautiful countryside I have ever seen. I hope someday to travel to Scotland and see it for myself!