A Walking Week for all on Islay, Jura and Colonsay
Guaranteed to be midge free, we believe!
Sunday 13th April
1. The Oa: This morning we meet up with Dave Wood and Mark Shields for a walk around the Oa RSPB reserve. We will meet at the RSPB car park at 9.30am to set of at 10am for a 5 mile moderate level walk lasting approximately 4 hours. We will head round to Kinnabus Loch looking out for Golden Eagles as we go. Then along the track to Giol before taking in beautiful Lower Killeyan Beach on our return to the carpark by mid afternoon. Bring your lunch for a wee picnic along the way.
2. Texa Island: An alternative walk is being held over on Texa where James MacAulay will take us on a relatively easy walk up to the old Chapel, lasting a couple of hours. Numbers are limited to 24, so please contact Bonnie Wood to confirm your place. Should the weather be inclement an alternative walk will take place. On our return to Laguvulin walkers can enjoy a wee dram at the distillery. Please meet up at 13.15pm sharp at Lagavulin, parking across the road from the distillery in the overflow car park. £12 per head to cover boat transport.
Monday 14th April
3. Kilchoman to Kilchiaran: Mary Redman will be our walk leader today. We will meet up at Machir Bay beach carpark at 10am for a 10.30am start. Mary will take us over the hill and down to Kilchiaran chapel. There will be lots of wildlife on this walk with fulmars on the rocks, a raven nest site, chough and some feral goats. Bring your lunch to enjoy at Kilchiaran before heading back over to the beautiful Machir Bay past Granny’s Rock. This is a moderate level walk over 4 miles taking 3-4 hours.
Tuesday 15th April
4. Beinn Bheigar: Tom Dunn will meet with us at 10am at the car park opposite the Ramsay Hall, Port Ellen where we’ll arrange shared transport and drive on to Claggan Bay. Tom’s walk will start from Ardtalla and will take us out to the summit of Bheinn Bheigier, (NR430565) Islay’s highest hill. The walk is around 5 miles of moderate to challenging walking and should take us not more than 4 hours. The views from the summit are stunning, but don’t forget your packed lunch.
5. The Oa: An easier option if you don’t fancy Islay’s highest peak will be on the Oa, meeting in the Upper Killeyan RSPB carpark (NR282423), at 10am sharp. Taking a different route to that of Sundays walk, the RSPB staff will lead us around the cliffs to the American Monument, with breath taking views over to Northern and the Republic of Ireland. This walk is about 2 miles taking approximately 3 hours to complete, so don’t forget to take along some light refreshments.
Wednesday 16th April
6. Colonsay and Oronsay: Today is Colonsay day for those that fancy a trip on the ferry. We meet up at Port Askaig at 9.15am sharp with James How to catch the ferry over to Colonsay. Depending on the tides there may be an option to walk over to Oronsay and view the Priory there, or if the tides/weather is unsuitable the option will be to walk to Kiloran Bay and 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. Either walk will be around 6-7 miles of moderate walking. We should return to Islay around 7.30pm so remember your lunch and if you wish have your dinner on the ferry on the way home.
Thursday 17th April
7. Ardbeg to Solum: Ardbeg Distillery car park is where we will meet today. We will gather in the car park around 10am and meet with one of the guides from the Ardbeg team. We will set off on our circular walk to the 18th century plague village Solum, returning to see the carved portraits on the rugged wall face at Callumkill. This is a moderate level walk of about 3 miles and will take a couple of hours with a stop at the hill top for a dram and a tale or two. For those that fancy ‘lunch out’ we will return to the Old Kiln café for soup and sandwiches at a special price of £5 per head.
8. Laphroaig: A circular walk of moderate difficulty lasting 2 hours will commence at 2-2.30 from Laphroaig distillery car park will be led by James Cameron and Pat. McGrann. We will walk along a short section of the newly constructed South Islay Distilleries Pathway visiting Macdougall’s Monument from where there is a panoramic view encompassing Laphroaig, Texa and the Oa and maybe Arran behind the Mull of Kintyre and Ireland. Leaving the pathway at “Stinky Shore” we cross fields in the direction of Brahunisray then head towards Kilbride before entering Torradale.
Returning on the road past the Old Excise House we re-join the pathway and leave at Portintuan continuing along the shoreline back to Laphroaig. Should it be a fine day we could consider extending the route to take in more of the South Islay Distilleries Pathway.”
9. RSPB Loch Gruinart Reserve: For those not wishing to head down south, why not meet with Mary Redman at the Visitor centre, RSPB Loch Gruinart Reserve for a guided walk. On leaving the visitors centre we head out onto the moorland and head North and return 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, 3.5 miles long, about 2.5 hours allowing for bird watching en route!An alternative shorter walk will also be lead by the RSPB down to the hide, returning through the woodland trail along tracks and paths, about 2 miles and 2 hours to allow for birding en route. Both these walks will start at 10am prompt.
Friday 18th April
10. Beinn a’ Chaolais, Jura: Donald Ewan Darroch will take us on a walk up Beinn a’Choalais, one of the 3 Paps of Jura. This will be a challenging and strenuous walk. We will be limiting this to 25 people only, so please confirm your name to Bonnie Wood to book your place. We will have an early start, meeting at Port Askaig at 8.15am to catch the 8.30am ferry to Feolin and walking from there to meet Donald Ewan at Inver. We aim to return on either the 4.55pm or the 5.55pm ferry. If the weather is unsuitable, an alternative walk on Jura will take place.
11. Dunlossit: An alternative walk will be led by Paul Graham, meeting at Ballygrant Hall at 10am we will walk to Lossit wood then around Lossit Loch and on down to Baleachdrach on the shores of the Sound of Islay. We may see otters, golden or white-tailed eagles. From there we will ascend the slopes of Dun Bhoraraic to see the ruined “Dun” or Fort and take in the breath taking views to Gigha, Kintyre and Arran to the south east and to Colonsay and Mull to the North and of course of the Paps of Jura……with binoculars we may be able to spot the walkers on Jura. A circular walk of about 10 miles, taking 6-7 hours a medium to strenuous walk.
Thursday 17th Walk Islay Farewell Supper
All walkers are welcome to enjoy a farewell supper from 7.00pm onwards at the ICCI Bowmore.
Sunday and Wednesday evening at the Port Charlotte Hotel
Friday evening at the Islay Hotel, Port Ellen
Fees and advice
A fee of £4 will be charged for each walk (except Texa at £12). The cost of a return foot passenger to Jura is £3.20 and to Colonsay £7.90. Refreshments as well as suitable footwear and clothing are strongly recommended.
We request that smoking is permitted only at the discretion of the walk leader and kindly ask you not to bring your dog due to the presence of livestock with young across the islands. We have tried to grade the walks as easy, moderate, challenging and strenuous.
If you require further information on walkislay, telephone Bonnie Wood on 01496 300094 or email email@example.com
Photographs courtesy of Armin Grewe www.armin-grewe.com and Jane McGrann
We wish to thank the various land managers who kindly allowed us to hold walkislay over their properties, and all the walk leaders for giving their valuable time helping to make the walks possible.