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Friday, 16 August 2019

Two Easy Short Walks On the Isle Of Mull May 2019

These two short walks take in KNOCKVOLOGAN BEACH with some fine views and a linear walk along LOCH BA.
May 18th saw us visit Knockvologan beach that is reached by turning off the the main road at the Fionnphort Ferry and heading past the car park and eventually a farm and campsite following the road round to another farm where there is space for a few cars. Follow the track past Knockvologan Farm where the path leads through vegetation and shrub before coming to the beaches. The weather today was overcast with a light drizzle in the air so not really good for photo's or hanging about on beaches but hey, we're on holiday so what the hell :-) A good look round the beach but we didn't make it across to ERRAID as we weren't sure of the tide times and didn't want to get stuck! We found out that the tide was coming in so a good decision in the end.
Passing the Farm at the beginning of the walk
Track leading down to the beach
Beach view
Bench with a view
Beach View
Beach View
Shell Pattern
Abandoned fishing boat
We headed back up the beach following the sands that separate Erraid from the mainland and it was quite wet here, once we left a grassybank. A mixture of wet sand and mud and then boggy ground as we made our way back to the car through wet grass

Follow the leader


May 22nd saw us visit Loch Ba, which we visited last year, to see if we could spot any Sea Eagles or the Red Deer, that are meant to be quite a common sight round here due to the presence of the fish farm. Like last year we only saw a few deer high up the mountainsides and only one fleeting glance of an eagle but couldn't tell if it was a Sea or Golden with it being high above the mountains. Despite that, it was still a good few hours walk in the along the shore of Loch Ba in the Benmore Estate. There is a small parking area just off the B8035 at Knock where we then followed the easy to follow path along the shoreline all the way past the fishing bothy, Knockantivore, and the head of the Glen where we rested for a bit hoping for a bit of Eagle and Deer spotting. It was also a good place to get out of the wind that was blowing all round the glen that had a bite to it. Thankfully it was a good clear day with good sunny spells but the wind made it feel quite cool. We made our way back the same way but had to wait a few minutes while the local bull decided to let us pass :-)
Loch Ba at the start
Blue sky and mountains @ Loch Ba
Our resting place where we spotted the Red Deer high in the mountain across Loch Ba
The only eagle sighting here was when one came over the far ridge before heading back out of sight
The Knockantivore fishing Bothy on Loch Ba
Thou shalt not pass
The guard of Loch Ba
River Clachaig
Spring Lamb

So two good walks on this great little Isle that offer different surroundings but both with a wild feel to them. If you ever visit the Isle of Mull, its worth checking them out.


Saturday, 15 June 2019

Carsaig to Lochbuie (well nearly) Isle Of Mull 20-5-2019

This was a superb there and back shore walk on varied terrain with fantastic views of the cliffs, basalt formations, a sea stack, native woodlands and several waterfalls. As with the coastal walk we did yesterday, SHIABA & COASTAL WALK, the weather was quite good to us, with no rain, a gentle breeze, a bit warmer but overcast. It did brighten up during the day and we did have another surprise as we made our way along the rocky coastline. After the adventurous drive down the single track lane, the walk starts at the small car park just above CARSAIG BAY & PIER, where there is room for about half a dozen cars. There are also a few cottages for rent here and if you really want to be away from it all then this is as good a place as any. I thought we were out of the way at our base but this is off the grid but with superb views across the bay towards the great cliffs of Malcolm's Point and the distant isles of Jura, Colonsay and Islay. While most people head west from the pier to visit the well-known CARSAIG ARCHES, we headed east along the path that goes through a wooded area past the cottages before coming into a more clear grassy area before you get on to the rocky coastline. All the time looking out to the water to see what's out there but apart from the seals that were resting on the rocky Islands further out, we didn't spot anything else along this part.
Carsaig Pier
Carsaig Pier with seals resting on the distant rocky Island
Through the wood
Through the wood
Into the clearing
Towards the rocky coastline
Onto the rocky coastline
The path on the coastline was fairly easy to follow as it snakes it's way through scree, boulders and grass as it goes under the steep cliffs. There are, at some points along the way, places where there should be waterfalls but as there hasn't been much rainfall for sometime, the falls were none existent apart from a couple. You could get behind one that didn't have much water coming down but you could see the potential for some good falls. There is also a sea stack, An Dun ('the Fort'), on the part of the coast where it is quite wide. There are some narrow parts where it looks like it would be a bit tricky if the sea was to come in but today the sea was calm and posed no threat to our walk. For the most part though, the path is usually away from the shoreline and more towards the rockface as it is a bit easier to follow through the vegetation.
Empty waterfall
View from behind the falls
The path goes under the rock face
The sea stack coming into view
The sea stack An Dun ('the Fort')
An Dun ('the Fort')
I didn't have a look in the cave at the front of An Dun, I left that for the return as I wasn't sure how big the cave may be and I might of been in there for some time so best left for later on. One thing we did see just passed here were sheep and lambs. They must be hardy souls here, although there is quite a bit of grass and other vegetation for them to eat. The rocky shoreline does narrow in places but here it was quite wide and not sure where they'd go when the tide really comes in, I'm sure they'd be OK or a farmer would get them out. They seemed happy enough though, as we were, as we made our way along this interesting coastal path. We came to some more trees, bracken, a couple of bits of boggy ground and moss covered rocks as we passed under steep cliffs and open grassland all the time looking out towards the water, just in case.......
The coastal sheep
On the lookout for sea creatures
Coastal sheep
Through the gate or around it??
Under the rockface
The wood meets the sea
Up through the bracken
It was just after the open space and bracken's that we had another great sighting of some Dolphins casually passing close to the coastline. They looked like they were making their way out of LOCHBUIE bay and down toward Carsaig. Another great viewing and this time I managed to get a couple of decent photos as they swam past the rocks where we were watching them from. Only a small group of about 4 or 5 and a great sight to see.
The rocks where we watched the dolphins from
We watched them for about 10 minutes as they made there way down the Loch as we followed the paths up the Loch. Another great encounter. We made our way through more bracken, grass,and rocks before we came to a point where there was a rope fixed to some rocks to help you get up and over them. Nothing too difficult, more of a helping hand in wet and damp conditions as the rocks were quite smooth. It looked more precarious than it was but a bit of fun all the same.
Through the moss covered vegetation
A bit of rock hopping
Passing another empty waterfall
Open grassland
More rock hopping
The helpful rope on the rocks
Another waterfall
The walk became a bit more gentle again as we were once again on a grassy section that passed another small cave, Uaimh nan Taillearan (the cave of the tailors), that would be easily missed behind all the bracken. I suppose its the walled entrance that gives it away, although I did have a peek through the entrance, it was a bit on the small side so didn't bother getting on my hands and knees. There was the remains of a sheep just inside the entrance so I let it be. Along a mixture of grass, rocks and pebbles, bought us to the abandoned farmhouse at Glenbyre. The house looks like it was left as it was when the last person closed the doors and just left everything including an old motorbike and bed. It looks like the sheep/cattle shed are still in use and we made good use of the old tree swing :-)

Uaimh nan Taillearan (the cave of the tailors)
Uaimh nan Taillearan (the cave of the tailors)
Rock sea stack
The Glenbyre
Highland cattle of Glenbyre
The pebble beach at the farmhouse
Sheep/Cattle pens at Glenbyre
Having fun @ Glenbyre
Having fun @ Glenbyre
Bed & Board
And through the square window
Back of Glenbyre Farmhouse
From here the track eventually leads to a pebble and sand beach where we decided to rest up for lunch and also made it the end of the walk going forwards. We had about another 30 minutes to the end of the Loch and the settlement of Lochbuie but it would of been at least another 90minutes or two hours extra with a look round so we thought we'd have a drive there another day. We found a good place to rest up and ended up watching a couple of seals going about their business. We also spotted an Eagle but to high above the surrounding mountains for any photos.
Along the farm track
Pebble Beach
Sandy Beach
Watching the locals
The beach is as far as we got
After a good half hours rest, it was time to turn round and head back the same way. Down the farm track, past Glenbyre, across burns, through holes in walls, through gates, past caves, waterfalls, through boggy ground, through moss covered trees, over rocks and under cliffs on this very interesting walk

View back to Lochbuie and across the bay to the Laggan peninsula

When we got to An Dun, I had a look inside and was a bit disappointed to see it was only a very small and someone had put a makeshift bench inside. I was hoping it would go in quite a bit for an interesting look round as the outside is quite large and appealing
An Dun and the small cave entrance
Bench inside An Dun
An Dun
Blue skies appearing and good views across to sea to the distant isles of Jura, Colonsay and Islay
Carsaig Pier
So a great 10 mile walk along this very interesting coast in around 7 hours, starting off in overcast conditions and finishing off in somewhat brighter warmer conditions. We did visit Lochbuie in the car a couple of days after as we had a drive round where we had a look round the ST. KILDA'S CHAPEL and spotted a couple of deer that weren't too fazed by our presence.
St. Kilda's Chapel
St. Kilda's Chapel
The head of Lochbuie
Deer of Lochbuie
Deer of Lochbuie
Deer of Lochbuie
Another great walk on this most interesting Island
Cheers :-)

The route was taken from WALKING HIGHLANDS