Date & Time: Sunday 20th Sept 2009. ( Grid Ref : NM 299 234 )
Location : The Island of Iona, south western Mull on the Scottish west coast.
Places visited : Fionnphort, Iona, Loch Staoineig, St Columba's Bay & back to the Abbey.
Walk details : A walk to the southern end of the island and back to the Abbey.Distance and time : 8 miles, most of the day.
With : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Fine, sunny but breezy but went downhill after lunch.
Day two of our Scottish holiday and we take the ferry on the short crossing to the island of Iona.
The island has a very extensive history to uncover, and
several lovely beaches to explore.
Fionnphort and the end of the road that had brought us down the full length of the Ross of Mull from Craignure yesterday.
Ahead is the island but the cars stay this side which saves congestion for them . . . and money for us ! (Hey we're beginning to sound Scottish already)
A larger and more modern ferry than when we were here last . . . it makes Ann look small !
The short crossing brings us quickly to the island.
The ferry returns on another crossing, no doubt to collect a new set of visitors.
The wind is strong today and the channel is full of white horses . . . the garden shed is courtesy of British Telecom !
We walk with fellow guests from our hotel on the short track over to " The Bay at the end of the Ocean" . . . Camus Cuill an t-Saimh.
The machair grasslands on the coast here provide an excellent playing surface for the local golf club.
Old lobster creels washed up at the back of the beach.
Evelyn and Alex preferred to walk north to the top of the island (which we have visited before) so we parted company and set off south, leaving the bay behind.
On the distant horizon are some of the Treshnish Islands and above them an approaching weather front heralding a change in the weather by the look of it !
At the southern tip of the island is Port an Fhir-bhreige, also known as St Columba's Bay.
Port na Curaich, Bay of the Currach, with the distant hills of Islay and Jura.
We walked on around the island looking for the old Marble Quarries that we had heard about as stone from here was used in the rebuilding of the Abbey.
Careful observation showed the corner of a gantry and rather angular rocks on the beach below . . . this could be it.
Old machinery in the quarry still survives despite the harsh salty environment.
An old stationery steam engine driven by an adjacent boiler.
[ The firebox of the boiler has been recently re-painted to try and protect it from further deterioration.]
The beach was littered with white granite that had been quarried then abandoned when the workings closed.
Above the small quarry was the remains of the old building that would have been used by the quarry men at the time.
Heading back, we follow a narrow path across the moorland towards the village.
Indistinct at times, the track eventually brought us back to civilisation and the road we had used when we walked out from the jetty.
That poor weather that we had noticed out to sea earlier caught up with us as we reached the village beach.
The wind increased and the rain had forced us to put on our waterproofs . . . but the dogs didn't seem bothered.
Darker skies now than when we had crossed over on the earlier ferry.
There was still plenty of time before the last ferry of the afternoon so we walked on through the village to visit the Abbey.
Sunshine again after the showers as we looked through an old arch at the remains of the Nunnery buildings.
Well tendered organic vegetable gardens of the Iona Hotel, with the Abbey in the background.
The Street of the Dead, the old paved road that leads from the main Abbey door to the graveyard.
The walls of the Cloisters are now home to many old carved stones.
Some of the buildings have not been renovated and this one provides an airy perch for a large crow.
A narrow pathway leads to the old Post Office.
Inside the hotel ? . . . well we just had to have tea and scones to pass the time before the next ferry back to the mainland.
Back at the jetty some new lobster creels waiting to be used.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . an evening meal at the Ardarchy House Hotel.
A previous time up here - 13th to 23rd May 2006 A Scottish Island Holiday