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Storakaig to the Sound of Islay

By Becky Williamson

It wasn't the first time it had happened. XC Weather had got it wrong before. 8% cloud at 10 am had really meant 80% on at least one other occasion. Feeling slightly hard done to, and exchanging my favoured polariser filter for a regular skylight filter, I decided to go for it anyway. Those squares on the east coast of Islay had been waiting long enough!

The poor lighting meant at least I got further quicker, stopping only to take the requisite photos, and rarely for any additional 'bonus' ones. I walked south from Storakaig, stopping at the redundant sheep dip NR4061 : Sheep Dip, Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson and taking advantage of the rapidly disappearing sunshine. I managed a couple more photos as I walked eastwards, before the sun disappeared completely for the rest of the day/weekend/week/month? NR4060 : Boggy Moorland south of Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4060 : Boggy moorland south of Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson It was boggy terrain, but, hey!, the past few months walking through sheer bog had given me plenty of experience of bog. I watched a Red Deer Stag somehow get beyond a fence I had yet to negotiate so reckoned it must be doable somehow. Wandering up to the fence I realised it wasn't as high as I'd thought NR4060 : Corner of fence near Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson and I paused before crossing it to take more photos while there was still the last remnant of sunshine. NR4060 : Looking south-west across peat moorland near Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4060 : Looking northwest from fence near Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson.

I continued southwards to the Allt Craobhach (Wooded Burn)NR4160 : Allt Craobhach, Islay by Becky Williamson. There was not much evidence of woodland anywhere along the section of burn I walked along, but it would have made a prettier walk if there were more sun . . . oh, shut up moaning, Becky! I took a couple of photos here, NR4160 : Allt Craobhach, Islay by Becky Williamson and this one showing Sgorr nam Faoileann (Hill of the Common Gulls) on the left and Glas Bheinn (Grey Mountain) on the right - NR4160 : Looking down the Gleann Allt Choireadail, Islay by Becky Williamson.

I got closer to these two mountains in the next two grid squares as I followed the burn through the Valley - Gleann Coireadail (Glen of the Dale of the Corrie) NR4260 : Looking across Allt Craobhach to Glas Bheinn, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4260 : Glas Bheinn from Allt Craobhach, Islay by Becky Williamson in NR4260 and NR4360 : Sgorr nam Faoileann from Gleann Choireadail, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4360 : Sgorr nam  Faoileann from Gleann Choireadail, Islay by Becky Williamson in NR4360. A small moorland pool made an otherwise drab landscape a little more interesting NR4360 : Moorland Pool near Glas Bheinn, Islay by Becky Williamson, as did an old boundary wall NR4360 : Boundary Wall up Sgorr nam Faoileann, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4360 : Boundary Wall ascending Glas Bheinn, Islay by Becky Williamson. This stretched from near the summit of Sgorr nam Faoileann, down to the valley where I was walking, and up to near the summit of Glas Bheinn. Quite incredible!

Crossing the wall meant crossing into the corrie formed by Glas Bheinn and Beinn na Caillich (Mountain of the Old Woman)NR4360 : Gleann Choireadail, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4360 : Gleann Choireadail. Islay by Becky Williamson. It was here that a low grunting noise alerted me to the presence of a pair of Golden Eagles, flying quite low in the circling mist. I could see the upturned 'fingers' of their wings.

Continuing east, I entered the next grid square, still in the Corrie Glen NR4460 : Gleann Choireadail, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4460 : Gleann Choireadail and Beinn na Caillich, Islay by Becky Williamson. Tiny purple milkwort flowers cheered me up in this colourless landscape. I made up my mind to return when the sun shone. I could visualise this being a truly beautiful place.

There is a corner of land in NR4561, a grid square otherwise dominated by sea. I determined to get into that gridsquare, gratuitous though it was for today's walk. It took some head-down on GPS walking, but I got there and took a boring photo, being very conscious of the steep drop to the sea! NR4561 : The Sound of Islay from Lower Slopes of Beinn na Caillich, Islay by Becky Williamson. Then I turned back and headed north up the coast to An Cladach bothy, a place I have visited several times before.

I passed a natural arch NR4461 : Natural Arch on the Sound of Islay by Becky Williamson and a cave NR4461 : Cave on the Sound of Islay by Becky Williamson, whilst looking for a suitable and safe place to descend to the coast. I found one just before the mouth of Allt Gleann Choireadail NR4461 : Allt Gleann Choireadail, Islay by Becky Williamson. I suppose this is where I would have ended up if I hadn't gone for the gratuitous square.

By now I was very wet and could scarcely see through my binoculars, but I could see figures huddled outside the bothy and plodded on, stopping to take a photo of an unmarked ruin NR4461 : Ruin south of An Cladach, Islay by Becky Williamson and making sure I just got into NR4361 to take a photo NR4361 : Beinn Bhreac from the Sound of Islay by Becky Williamson, knowing that I wouldn't now be ascending Beinn Bhreac as intended, due to the mist which covered the summit.

Before going into the bothy, I walked out to NR4462 to get a photo of the beach NR4462 : Beach at An Cladach, Islay by Becky Williamson. I was surprised to discover the bothy full of people, both coming and going. I was glad of some respite from the rain and the opportunity to share stories and grab some lunch and a hot cuppa before waving goodbye to those who were staying the night and continuing on my way. I'd revised my route slightly, due to the weather, but was reassured that a group of three guys were not far behind me. It was just reassuring to know there was someone else close by as I couldn't see very far ahead of me.

I passed the natural arch I'd taken photos of on previous occasions NR4362 : Natural Arch north of An Cladach, Islay by Becky Williamson and then arrived at the mouth of the Abhainn Gleann Logain NR4362 : Mouth of the Abhainn Gleann Logain, Islay by Becky Williamson. Here I turned westwards, clutching my GPS. Without my GPS this would have been a very difficult walk. I feel confident carrying it with me, although I know it should not replace common sense and a compass. That's why I didn't go up the hill. I satisfied myself instead by wandering a little further south than I needed to, following a tributary of the Abhainn Gleann Logain NR4362 : Fork in the Abhainn Gleann Logain, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4262 : Tributary of Abhainn Gleann Logain, Islay by Becky Williamson. There were some steepish ascents here, good muscle work, as I climbed into the next grid square NR4261 NR4261 : Boggy Moorland west of Beinn Bhreac, Islay by Becky Williamson and snapped what I could see - which wasn't much!

I continued westwards, taking photos of more mist NR4161 : Moorland Mist near Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson and finally finding a quad bike track NR4162 : Quad Bike Track near Storakaig, Islay by Becky Williamson which took me back to the gate at Storakaig. NR4062 : Bikes at the Storakaig Gate, Islay by Becky Williamson


Loading map...
Marker only shows grid square

When
Sun, 8 Apr 2012 at 20:27
Grid Square
geotagged! NR4460

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