Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve is an important area for wildlife, home to large numbers of Barnacle and White-fronted gees in the wintertime. In spring Loch Gruinart is full of life with breeding wading birds such as Lapwings, snipe and redshanks. At night the Corncrake is a prominent guest. The picture is made in the wintertime at Loch Gruinart where Roe Deer are crossing the loch. Arra Fletcher from the Persabus Pottery was kind enough to send me this picture.
In earlier days the Gruinart Flats were flooded at high tyde all the way up to Druim na h-Erasaid untill a dutch man was hired to build an original Dutch polder. When he arrived around 1850 a dyke was built creating extra grasslands for the Geese. The idea behind it was that the Geese would leave the grasslands from the farmers alone and stay in their designated area. Wishfull thinking at that time and the Geese continued to graze on the farm lands leaving the farmers with a problem. Nowadays the farmers are financially compensatated by the government for letting Geese graze on their land.
Besides a Nature Reserve Loch Gruinart is a magnificant place for walks on one of the stunning beaches on either side of the Loch. Close to the RSPB visitor centre at Aoradh Farm is a bird hide and a wonderful sheltered woodland walk. The finest walks however can be made on the west side of the loch where a circular walk takes you up to Ardnave point. Just before the parking place on the right are the remains of the ancient village of Tayovulin. In the early days a place where a few hundred people lived and worked in the herring industry. Another wonderful walk can be made on the east side of the Loch crossing Killinallan Point towards Gortantaoid Point. From there on Islay becomes almost inaccessible except for the more experienced walker. This is also a part of Islay where Jeremy Hastings from Islay Bushcraft takes people on a bushcraft course.