Walk Islay 2012

A walking week for all on Islay, Jura and Colonsay (“guaranteed midge free, we believe”)

Saturday 14th April
Our first walk this year is led by Iain MacPherson. The starting point will be from the Killanallan gate at 10.15 for 10.30 start (NR304708). We will follow the coast line out to Killinallan Point and follow the shore line/ dunes out along Traigh Baile Aonghais and then head in to Gortantoid. We return to our cars along the track past Killinallan. This was the walk that Clare Balding did on her radio program during the summer of 2006. A circular walk of around 4 -5 hours, easy to moderate going, mind the sandwiches! Only a 2* with a moderate grading. See note at end relating to our stars!

Sunday 15th April
The walk today will be led by Dave Wood down on the Oa. We will meet up with Dave at Upper Killeyan (NR281422) at 10.30am. This will be a circular walk, but do not forget your food as there are no shops out there! A good 3* walk for your card! At 9pm in the Port Charlotte Hotel, there will be some light music along with some of the locals, so come along for a pint and enjoy the craic! No stars for this one, sorry folks.

Monday 16th April
Today’s walk is led by Florrie MacAllister and Maggie Pollard, we meet up with the intrepid duo at 10am. Their walk will start from the car park just after Claggain Bay (NR463538) and will take us out to Proaig and then out to MacArthur’s Head and the lighthouse The walk is around 5 miles of moderate to challenging walking and should take us not more than 3 - 4 hours. Our walk will actually commence from out towards Ardtalla, see Islay, Jura and all around from a different viewpoint. Again, please remember to bring your packed lunch. Their walk is worth every step to gain you another 3* A great walk, taking in some tremendous scenery, not too arduous although challenging in some places. Continue reading...

Tuesday 17th April
This morning we meet up with Neil Park, Tom Dunne and Niall Colthart at at 10 am at the car park opposite the Ramsay Hall, Port Ellen for shared transport. The walk will from the Beech wood at Ardillistry (NR440439) around the shore to Ardmore (NR 458508) and should take about 4 hours of moderate walking with a short section being over tussock grass and bog. Around 6 miles in length. Do not forget your packed lunch with you as there are no shops out there! The walk itself is coastal, the route does undulate and a fair amount of it is along the top of flat ridges which predominate the coast line. Depending on the tide, there may be an opportunity to croos over visit Eilean Maolmhoire as the access is dry at low tide. After crossing the Ardmore saltings, the route will proceed to Ardmore Point from where a return will be made via Kildalton Chapel and High cross. The walk will take in an area rich in bird and other wildlife including a large common seal colony. 3* star walk for those who come with us!

An alternative, shorter walk will be led by a member of RSPB staff, starting from the car park (NR281422) at the RSPB Oa reserve, Upper Killeyan at 10am sharp. This is a circular walk taking in the American Monument returning along the coastline to Upper Killeyan. On a clear day, Rathlin Island and the Irish coast can be seen. Apart from the tremendous views that may be seen, there is a good chance to see some of the birds and other wildlife on the reserve. This is about 4 miles of moderate walking and 3 hours of your time and is a 2 * walk. Light snacks advisable for those who wish one.

Wednesday 18th April
Today is Colonsay day for those that fancy a trip with CalMac. We meet up at Port Askaig at 9.15 sharp with James How to catch the ferry over to Colonsay. From calascaig we will walk to Kiloran Bay and on to Balnahard. We shall be taking vehicles with us to save you doing some of the road work! On our return to Scalasciag there may be time for refreshment before joining the ferry back. This walk will be around 6 - 7 miles of moderate walking. We should return to Islay around 7.00pm so remember your lunch again but you may wish to get your dinner on the way home on the ferry! James’s walk is another 2 * for your card. Graded moderate.

Thursday 19th April
Our main walk today is from Bunnahabhain. (NR418733) It will be led by Scott Brown and Catherine Fotheringham. Their walk will go out over the hill to Rhuvaal, then follow the coast to Bolsa and return back to Bunnahabhain. It should take around 6 -7 hours of your time and is about 12 miles of moderate walking. Meet up with Scott and Catherine at 10 am. A great 3* with a good chance to see Red Deer out on the hill.

There will be a shorter walk at R.S.P.B. Loch Gruinart Reserve, meeting at the visitor centre (NR276673) for 10.00.am. start. On leaving the visitors centre, we head out onto the moorland and head North and drop back to the road beside Moulin. From there, we walk along the road to Gruinart farm and then down through the fields and back along the sea wall and return alongside one of the “corncrake corridors”. A moderate walk, 4 miles long, about 2.5 hours allowing for bird watching en route! Sorry folks, Only 1*. Another walk will be led by Paul Capper departing at 4.30pm from the car park at the entrance to Islay House Square (NR338627). The walk is similar to walk led a few years back, led by Keith Findlay, the walk will all be on the tracks through the Bridgend Woods. Another 1* walk! After Paul’s walk there will be informal buffet in the Ballygrant Hall from 7 pm onwards to which everyone is invited.

Evans Walk on the Isle of Jura

Friday 20th April
Our last day and we head over to Jura to meet up with Donald Ewan Darroch. We will meet at Port Askaig at 9.15am and go over to Jura as foot passengers on the 9.30 am ferry. We will Donald Ewan at Inver. On reaching Feolin on Jura we will walk along the track to Inver and out past Cnocbreac. We will aim to have our lunch down on the shore before returning to Inver and then on to Feolin for the ferry back to Port Askaig. Another great 2* star walk for your card, not that you will be needing any more stars by then! You will get the chance to see Islay from the other side of the water for once! This is a similar walk led by by James and Lindy a few years back when the ferry to Colonsay was cancelled at short notice.

A nominal fee will be charged for each walk, and suitable footwear and clothing is strongly recommended. We regret that no dogs will be allowed on any of the above walks, with smoking only at the discretion of the walk leader. We have tried to grade the walks as easy, moderate, challenging and strenuous.

The full programme is also available as downloadable PDF in the blog's download section.

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