Geograph Blog ::

Ballimartin to Killinallan - linear, cross-country walk

By Becky Williamson

This was a much anticipated walk. I'd poured over the map so many times in preparation for the trip that I was beginning to think maybe I didn't need to bring it with us. Oh, such foolish thinking! We'd gone about 10 yards before Linda asked, "Right which way is it now, Becky?" and I had to admit I wasn't sure. It's one thing geographing on your own when, if you get lost/stuck in a bog/want to take a detour/take longer than anticipated etc, you've only yourself to blame, but when you've got company you begin to feel the weight of the responsibility. It's a good thing I've got patient friends!

The walk would best be started a little further south than our starting point - ie in gridsquare NR3666. This would take in (with brief detours) two chapels and the ruins of Duisker. NR3666 : Duisker and Barnacle Geese, Islay by Becky Williamson. We forded the Allt Ruadh NR3667 : Ford across Allt Ruadh, Islay by Becky Williamson and admired the ancient township of Baile Tharbhach NR3667 : Baile Tharbhach and Dun Chollapus, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3667 : Baile Tharbhach, Islay by Becky Williamson. There is evidence here of several houses to comprise the township. Upon our return there was also evidence of the bulls to appropriate the name! They literally blocked the road as if to lay claim to the area.

The Allt Ruadh (Reddish Burn) is an attractive burn, rather more than a burn at the moment after all our recent rain. NR3667 : Allt Ruadh, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3667 : Allt Ruadh and Dun Chollapus, Islay by Becky Williamson. One waterfall is marked on the map NR3667 : Dun Chollapus and Waterfall on Allt Ruadh, Islay by Becky Williamson, from which a view of Dun Chollapus (no translation available) is obtained. This was a feature too tempting to miss NR3567 : Dun Chollapus, Islay by Becky Williamson so we climbed to the top and enjoyed the views. This was the best part of the day weatherwise so I'm really glad we took the time to do this. The remains of a wall can be seen in the photo. It has been speculated that the stones used in the wall's construction were taken from the original dun. See LinkExternal link for more information.

From the top of the dun we looked west towards our destination across Loch Mhic Dhuibhi, Loch Leathan and Beinn Cham (curved hill) NR3567 : View west from Dun Chollapus, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3567 : View west from Dun Chollapus, Islay by Becky Williamson. North-eastwards the Paps were adorned with a very slight dusting of snow. NR3568 : View north-east from Dun Chollapus, Islay by Becky Williamson. Peat cuttings and furrowed fields were evidence of erstwhile human habitation. Now this land is inhabited only by truly wild things and everywhere we went we watched herds of Red Deer, often standing tall on the horizon as if to remind us who was boss.

From here we headed north, trying to follow a vague path, towards unnamed buildings marked on the map by Abhainn Airigh na t-Sluic (River of the Shieling of the Hollow). NR3568 : Ruin by Abhainn Airigh na t-Sluic, Islay by Becky Williamson. For more information, see LinkExternal link. Strangely there are further piles of stones further north which seemed to serve no obvious purpose. NR3569 : Piles of stones below Beinn a' Chuirn, Islay by Becky Williamson. This brief detour was a solo venture, simply to bag another square! NR3569 : Eminence below Beinn a' Chuirn, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3568 : Ruin by Abhainn Airigh na t-Sluic, Islay by Becky Williamson.

Now we headed westwards and suddenly the clouds descended and we were in the midst of a blizzard. The others walked on ahead, desperate to get out of the bog. I was desperate to do so too, but didn't want to miss this opportunity to take photos - if only my camera would dry out and start working! It finally did and I caught the end of the blizzard at Loch na Leoig (Loch of the Ditch) NR3469 : In the midst of a blizzard, Loch na Leoig, Islay by Becky Williamson. I waited for the blizzard to stop and took more photos NR3469 : The snow begins to clear, Loch na Leoig, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3469 : After the Blizzard, Loch na Leoig, Islay by Becky Williamson and this one of the retreating snow cloud NR3469 : Snow Cloud, Loch na Leoig, Islay by Becky Williamson.

I caught up with the others at Loch a' Chlaidheimh (Loch of the Sword) NR3469 : Loch a' Chlaidheimh, Islay by Becky Williamson. I suppose a battle was fought here and would be interested to hear of the history of the name of this loch and nearby hill NR3469 : Cnoc a' Chlaidheimh, Islay by Becky Williamson.

The snow had mucked up our plans a little. I'd been keen to visit the Clach an Tiompain, east of Loch an Leinibh, but we were heading westwards and it would have been too much of a detour. Still, we headed north, a little disorientated after the blizzard and glad of the GPS to keep us on track. We headed towards Cnoc a' Chlaidheimh, across boggy ground NR3369 : Marshy ground west of Cnoc a' Chlaidheimh, Islay by Becky Williamson, NR3369 : Foot of Cnoc a' Chlaidheimh by Becky Williamson and NR3369 : Boggy Ground below Cnoc a' Chlaidheimh, Islay by Becky Williamson. Once at the top of the hill we were relived to see our agreed lunch spot - Loch an Leinibh (Loch of the Infant). By now the sun was out again and we sat basking in its warmth, enjoying views across the still waters of this intriguingly named loch NR3469 : Loch an Leinibh, Islay by Becky Williamson.

Refreshed, we continued to head northwards, although all our internal compasses were suggesting we head west. Naturally, I didn't allow anyone to take any notice of internal compasses until I'd bagged the requisite grid square - NR3470 : Beinn nam Fitheach, Islay by Becky Williamson. Originally I'd intended climbing Beinn nam Fitheach (Mountain of the Raven), but there wasn't enough time on this visit.

At last we could head west into some of Islay's less interesting terrain. The best views here are across marshy land to Islay's distant northern hills, like Beinn Bhreac (Speckled Mountain) NR3370 : Looking towards Beinn Bhreac, Islay by Becky Williamson and Beinn am Fitheach NR3370 : Marshland west of Beinn nam Fitheach, Islay by Becky Williamson. NR3370 : Marshland east of Killinallan, Islay by Becky Williamson. Soon we could see the distinct tower of the now derelict Killinallan farm NR3370 : Towards Killinallan, Islay by Becky Williamson.

This is pretty featureless terrain, but a funny little hill caught our attention. NR3271 : Am Màla,  Islay by Becky Williamson. It doesn't seem to be marked on the map, although it is located right beneath the words 'An Rumach' (the marsh) on the Explorer map. One of the few other features in this square is the Burn of the Marsh or Marshland, Allt na Rumaiche NR3270 : Allt na Rumaiche, Islay by Becky Williamson.

Rather unintentionally we headed north here and encountered yet more bog NR3271 : Boggy Ground near Am Màla, east of Killinallan, Islay by Becky Williamson. Further west several ruins are spread out across three grid squares. For more information, visit LinkExternal link. We visited two of the squares - NR3171 : Ruin south-east of Killinallan, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3170 : Ruin south-east of Killinallan, Islay by Becky Williamson and had another brief stop in the latter ruin, wondering when was the last time someone stopped here for a coffee break.

An unexpected deer fence had to be climbed before we were truly on the home stretch NR3170 : Deer Fence east of Killinallan, Islay by Becky Williamson and the last photo of the day was taken simply because I couldn't remember if I'd already got one for that square or not (suppressed laughter from my co-walkers). NR3070 : Marshland east of Killinallan Gate, Islay by Becky Williamson.

It hadn't been a particularly long walk, but my legs were complaining after such exertion through the boggy terrain. Still, we'd all enjoyed it and were grateful to Sandy for having carried her thermos of hot chocolate all the way in case we needed it - and of course we ended up drinking it within a few feet of her car which then transported us all back to Ballimartin!

Thanks to all for putting up with another geographing trip!


Loading map...
Marker only shows grid square

When
Wed, 22 Feb 2012 at 10:18
Grid Square
geotagged! NR3667

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