Twenty intrepid walkers met at Bridgend auction mart Tuesday morning, 15th April, to be taken to the walks start point at Gortantaoid in five 4x4 cars. Conditions were cloudy but started to brighten quite quickly once we had started walking, initially followed by a herd of sheep who obviously don't see much of a human presence in this part of the island.
The destination was Bunnahabhain distillery via Bolsa and Rhuvaal lighthouse. Some of the seastacks, natural arches and caves looked superb in the bright sunshine that was rapidly developing, once at Bolsa hill, walk leader Jack Adamson, head keeper for Islay estate gave the opportunity for people to climb Bholsa hill to admire the stunning views back down Killinallan Point and Loch Gruinart (as photo) or across to Colonsay and Mull. The visibility stretched easily some thirty miles right up the West Coast, at this point most peoples fleeces and coats were very much surplus for the rest of the day. Continue reading...... Once done, Jack led the group down to the beach and caves at Bolsa for a lunch break, the conditions so good now that a line of deck chairs would have been nice although that wouldn't have encouraged people to continue the afternoon section of the walk. To get people energised again he produced a bottle of Bruichladdich 10 year old and there was a dram for anybody who wanted, the bottle was kept in one of the caves for such occasions !
Then over the hill to Rhuvaal lighthouse where again the group was split with those wishing to visit the lighthouse or those heading straight to the distillery. There was a bonus for the lighthouse visitors as Howard and Patricia who live next door were in and produced a welcome cup of tea for all. The lighthouse is undergoing major refurbishment at the moment so a peek inside wasn't possible.
Then followed the final leg down the Sound of Islay to Bunnahabhain where we were met by John and Lindy MacLellan who supplied everybody with another dram of the Bunnahabhain variety this time. Another excellent walk which is part of the excellent Walk Islay festival organised as always each year by Ian Brooke of kilchoman House. Images can be 'clicked' on and enlarged to a full size (a new window will open). Story and pictures Mark Unsworth of Islay Studios