By: Thorsten (offline) Sunday, 24 February 2013 (Read 14968 times)
I am Thorsten (from the northern part of Germany) and just joined the forum. First I would like to thank you, Ron, for this excellent blog, which I am enjoying very much since about 3 years and for your quick and friendly assistance in getting access to the forum!
In the week before Easter I will travel to Islay for a couple of days: This will be my third stay on this fascinating island â€“ I am already looking forward to my stay.
I enjoyed many beautiful walks during the last stays â€“ and so I am planning new hiking tours.
Might I use the chance to ask for a good advice? I always was a bit reluctant in crossing farmland and gates, because I do not want to inadequately disturb the livestock and to hamper the valued work of the farmers by this. But sometimes there are no opportunities for circumventing the fields. Incidentally I read about cattle (especially the bulls or mother cows with their calves) attacking hikers: Are there areas on Islay where this really is an issue for hikers like me (hiking without dogs and taking care when crossing a field)?
E.g. I am planning to walk from Bowmore to Port Ellen along the lagan bay, and from Port Askaig via Bunnahabhain to Rhuvaal, or on Jura: northbound from the ferry along the circular track at Cnocbreac, and from Portnahaven to Kilchiaran Bay then further on to Port Charlotte. Does anyone have a good advice for this tours â€“ or on the putative â€œcattle issueâ€?
In the meanwhile I am back from my trip to Islay â€“ and Islay was as fascinating as always!
In deed this time there was no need to worry about cattle or mother cows with their calves: I have seen many of them but they all were kept on fenced meadows, which did not have to be crossed during walking. Coming closer the mother cows seemed to become nervous quickly â€“ even if they are separated by a fence. So I would choose an ample detour in cases where I would have to cross fields without separating fences â€“ at least in spring time.
From the walks I asked for I left out the walk on Jura because of a lack of time â€“ but I enjoyed the other walks very much. All of them would be classified as moderate to strenuous in RonÂ´s useful walks page (thank you, Ron, for this good information!) and not suitable for children.
My personal favorite spot on Islay (with only a short ranking distance to all the other beautiful areas on the Island) is the area between Port Askaig and Rhuvaal along the Sound of Islay . Bunnahabhain is nearly half the way and gives the opportunity to visit the distillery (with an unbeatable beautiful location). Up to Bunnahabhain you can use the small winding single track road by car but I would recommend (if energetic enough) to walk. It is really worth the effort!
Behind Bunnahabhain (and after a dram?!) there is a track which fades away sometimes. But you cannot miss the direction: Just follow the shore line or the power line, which goes to the light house. There are people living at the light house so that it is important to respect their privacy. They will have their reasons to choose this quiet and secluded but beautiful location with views not only to the west coast of Jura but also to Colonsay and Mull. I would be interested in getting to know more about the circumstances people are living there. But the only information I could obtain from other people was that they are using a quad bike to get to Bunnahabhain. A landrover would not be able to make the route.
I wish all of you a nice walking season on Islay!
Sorry for missing your post the first time! Good to hear you had a great time and for your walk report. I myself haven't done the entire walk to Rhuvaal yet but would love to do so, guess I either have to go alone or wait for my daughter to become a bit older so I can take her.
And thanks very much for your kind comment on the walks page, much appreciated. I should include the walk to Rhuvaal as well
No need to apologize! Providing the Islay Blog alone is deserving many thanks!
Yes - I will get back certainly! But not more than one time a year, and even then for a couple of days only. This will change when our children are grown up - but that will take some time: Some time for growing up and some time for convincing my family that Islay is a very special, interesting, working but very beautiful and accessible island â€“ THE special place.
For this reason I find your remarks considering tours with your young daughter very interesting. How did she manage the journey? For us at the moment a trip to Islay with our both children would not be relaxing. So for the first family (â€œexperimentalâ€ ;-) ) Scotland trip I am considering a destination which is within easy reach of the Newcastle ferry port. May be the area around Kirkudbright. Or Arran. Does anyone have a recommendation? They should fell in love with Scotland so that they gain interest in travelling to Islay tooâ€¦;)
My daughter can deal with long car journeys quite well as long as we stop from time to time of course.
If you arrive in NewCastle and have a B&B halfway to Kennacraig you make the journey for your kids quite pleasant and not much longer than going to Arran. Mind you, NewCastle to Ardrossan (ferry terminal for Arran) is 3 1/2 hours, NewCastle to Kennacraig is 4 1/2 hours and I'm quite convinced that Islay has more to offer than Arran but that is of course my personal view.
Hi Ron /Thorsten ,
Just thought i'd comment on driving times to Kennacraig seeing that i live in Newcastle (as Ron Knows) and drive to Kennacraig the odd time.....:D
Our Travel times usually are ( assuming there's no diversion which there has been in the past....)
Depart Newcastle 4.30am
Arrive Balloch 7-7.30am (have a Break)
Arrive Tarbert 9.30am- 10am ( take a Coffee and Cake Break at Cafe Ca'dora , Shop for a few supplies at the Co-op ).
Arrive Kennacraig 11-11.30am .
On the way back......
Get off Ferry usually at 12.05 pm
Stop off for a meal somewhere along the way
Arrive home at Newcastle 6-6.30pm .
These times can depend on how many people are driving along the A83 off the ferry at 35-40 mph........ :x:x:x:x
Regarding getting to Ardrossan , i regularly drive to Bladnoch and it takes 2.5 to 3 hrs to get there and it's still a bit of a hike up the Ayrshire coast from there !
I did some research into using the new Ardrossan to Kintyre ferry service (to prove a point to others who said it would save me time/ a drive / be greener) .
Using the AA route finder ( a good source) it would save me 50 miles of driving , take longer , cost the extra ferry ticket and be no use at all as the service doesn't go to Kintyre on the Saturday Morning !!!!
I love the Early Saturday morning drive over Rest and Be Thankful anyway ! Especially when it's like this......
The Maggie is one of Ealing studios lesser known comedies. A wily old skipper of a Western Isles 'Puffer' and his motley crew lead all who come into contact with them a fine old time! Many scenes on Islay!