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Blog Entries by Geograph Users

Recent Posts by Becky Williamson

Circumnavigation of Islay

3 months ago
Soldier's Rock from inside the cave, Islay
For how long have I wanted to entitle a blog 'Circumnavigation of Islay' or submit a photo for NR2976, one of the four gridsquares which cover Nave Island, Islay's most northerly offshore island. Thanks to Sandy's late mother, this trip was to cost me no more than an unexpected day's holiday and was to be one of the most memorable trips of my life (thus far!) A party of 12 intrepid passengers set off from Port Ellen under the supervision of Gus Newman of Islay Sea-Adventures and his...

Tighnaspeur - a circular walk

9 months ago
This was to be quite a significant walk for me as it involved completing my final grid square in the eastern block of the island. Furthermore, it was a 'green' gridsquare - and little wonder! Not only is it situated in one of the remotest parts of the island, but it has nothing within its 1 km square to entice the everyday walker. The Abhainn Staoin (bending/crooked river) flows diagonally NW to SE, almost dividing NR 4252 in half, but otherwise there is nothing but contours and a small...

Glas Bheinn's spurs

18 months ago
OK, so I'd just learnt this new term 'spur' and was keen to get as much usage out of it as possible; plus there were several gridsquares I wanted to bag in the area and the forecast for the day looked good. Not having been able to persuade any friends to come a walk with me (they've all grown wise to what that term means!), and knowing I'd be doing a lot of gratuitous walking, I set off solo on what was to be a long day's walk. I'd come prepared with enough food for an army. Reluctantly...

Walk Islay 2013 - Ascent of Beinn a' Chaolais, Jura

19 months ago
It was the day we'd been waiting for all week, which doesn't sound like a long time, but in a week of unsettled weather with several walks having had to be modified or cancelled, the highlight of the week, the long awaited ascent of Jura's lowest Pap was anticipated with anxiety. Would the weather put paid to this eagerly anticipated event? The forecast had looked good for Friday all week, but often it changes at the last minute. I logged onto XC weather the night before and peered over my...

Gortantoid to Finlaggan

19 months ago
This is the last in my latest series of walks. It's taken a lot of photo manipulation and working out which photo relates to which gridsquare, so a lot of time. Don't expect to see me on here for about another year! Just kidding, this thing is far too addictive for that to be the case. Sadly, though, there's only so much manipulating that can enhance boring photos and so I apologize in advance for the lack of interest in these photos; the weather was poor and, whilst the scenery was more...

Glen Beanie circular walk, Glen Shee

19 months ago
Our plans to do some hillwalking had been thwarted by the heavy snowfall of recent weeks, but we remained undeterred from doing some serious walking - my daughter and I that is. I simply revised my 'wish list'. Unlike when I am on Islay, constantly perusing the maps for gridsquares yet unvisited, I was looking at a totally green map and so could choose anywhere, as long as it wasn't too risky. I chose Glen Beanie. originally my wish list had included a circular trip which took in both Loch...

Loch Cam and Loch Drolsay Circular Walk, Islay

20 months ago
This was to be my third or fourth visit to what is known as the Sorn Valley in the centre (ish) of the island. The area is difficult to access and some gridsquares are therefore really only accessible by repeating some parts of previous walks. This is not a complaint, of course, particularly when the weather is as glorious as it was today. Angus, the friendly farmer of both Scarrabus and Balole farms met us at the deer gate Photo and welcomed us, advising us that we need not fear...

Giur-bheinn and Margadale Circular, Islay

20 months ago
Having my daughter home for the Easter holidays, combined with (finally) glorious weather meant that I just couldn't wait to be out. This was a reconnaisance walk for the forthcoming Walk Islay week on which I'd been asked to lead a walk up this modest hill. Being one of my favourite hills and being near one of my favourite ruins, I decided to combine the two and make it into a circular walk. After much research and enquiry, I've recently discovered that 'Gir' is an Islay word for crouching...

In the lee of Beinn Dubh, Islay

20 months ago
We nearly didn't go on this walk. The cold north-easterly wind did blow and we had planned to walk on Islay's eastern shores; well, not shores exactly; that just sounded better. I had worked out a circular route, starting at Ballygrant quarry, walking up the track to Lossit Farm, down to the bothy at Baleachdrach and then southwards at the foot of Beinn Dubh to Lochs Fada and Leathann and back to the road and the car. It was all familiar territory to me, although I have only done all the...

Ancient Ileach company on Mother's Day

20 months ago
Feeling a little sorry for myself as it was my first Mother's Day on my own - not that we had ever made much of a fuss about it in our family - I decided to pack a picnic and gain some more Islay gridsquares. After all, that was my favourite thing to do and I didn't mind doing it on my own so would be less likely to indulge in a bout of self-pity. Perhaps my least visited area of the island is the Rhinns peninsula. I'm not sure why. But I had long ago noticed on the map the curious name of...

Two Old Islay Farmsteads

20 months ago
I seem to be having a bit of a thing at the moment for Islay ruins - the more isolated, the better! Hence, after checking the forecast and yep, it was going to be another beauty of a day, Fiona and I met at the Coullabus road end at 9.15 am to work out car positions and the route. The only thing was, it wasn't a beauty of a day. It turned out to be the bad day sandwiched between two good ones - and naturally the day we'd chosen to walk! Fiona is familiar with this terrain - we both are -...

In search of ancient Islay

21 months ago
Three very amateur archaeologists set off in search of a variety of features shown on the Ordnance Survey map off what is known locally as the 'back road' to Gruinart. We were so amateur that we did not really know what the words in fancy writing indicated: - 'hut circles', 'burnt mounds' and 'tumuli' all had to be looked up and pages printed off from Scotland's Places website before we ventured forth into the unknown at Lagstoban Photo. For once I wasn't after gaining new gridsquares...

Sunderland hinterland, Islay

21 months ago
Ruined croft above Gleann na h-Uamha, Islay
At last the sun was out again and after several ramblings with other very patient people, I decided the time had come to venture out on my own again. There's only so many times that the words 'OK folks we're in a new square', can remain exciting to anyone other than a dedicated Geographer! I worked out a route from Burnside, Bruichladdich, northwards to Gleann na h-Uamha and hopefully reaching the intriguing Dun na h-Uamha, north-eastwards to Loch Treunaidh and south again to join a track...

A Walk towards Bolsa, Islay

21 months ago
Once again I was caught out with the weather. This really is a walk to do on a cold, crisp winter's day before the bracken, midges and tourists are out in force! We can say it snowed without lying, although it wasn't exactly blizzard conditions! But whilst my last walk was in relentless sunshine (for which I suffered a headache, not having taken my sunhat), the sun only made an appearance when the last car door was closed at the end of the walk - and I'd taken my sunhat! Of course! And my...

Circumnavigation of Beinn Bheigier, Islay

25 months ago
An 8 and a half mile circular walk, starting at Ardtalla, circumnavigating Beinn Bheigier (Islay's highest mountain) in an anti-clockwise direction, following Gleann Lera and the Claggain River to Claggain Bay and walking back up the road to Ardtalla. Spectacular views of the Sound of Islay and Islay's eastern range of hills. Quite difficult terrain, although quad bike tracks are followable most of the way round Beinn Bhaigier and deer tracks along the Claggain River. I did the walk in 6...
geo-trip walk

Circumnavigation of Beinn Bheigier, Islay

25 months ago
This was a walk I'd wanted to do in a long time, not so much the circumnavigation of Beinn Bheigier, but walking the length of Gleann Lera. I love walking Islay's glens and this one is no exception. Starting at Ardtalla in full sunshine I began following the well-worn track to Proaig, a place I have visited several times. The bulk of Beinn Bheigier, Islay's highest mountain, before me Photo. I remembered the fork in the track, but had never taken the higher of the two...

Three Ferries and Seven Burns - Walk to Proaig and McArthur's Head, Islay

28 months ago
I hadn't dared hope for more than just a dry day when Jim (our pastor) suggested a walk at the weekend. After all we'd already had three glorious days of sunshine in a row - we couldn't ask for too much, now could we? The day dawned not quite as bright as the previous three days, but definitely dry enough for our planned walk to the erstwhile village of Proaig on the Sound of Islay. The sun made much more of an appearance as the day went on, however, and it ended up yet another glorious...
proaig mcarthur's head lighthouse islay

Barradale Circular, Islay

31 months ago
I was excited as I set off on the day's plan C. Plan A had been abandoned as it was just too photogenic a day to go to a certain village on Islay which I won't mention for fear of insulting the hundreds of folks (!) who read these blogs! Plan B had been abandoned after driving 15 miles to Ardbeg in the thickening cloud which turned into heavy rain and which was no doubt a retribution for rejecting Plan A. So Plan C had to be put into operation. But first to devise Plan C as it wasn't in...
barradale circular islay geographing trip report

Giur-bheinn Circular, Islay

31 months ago
As always, I had scrutinised the weather forecast for days before deciding to head up Gir-bheinn on Wednesday, 18th April 2012. As always, the forecast was not quite accurate, but at least I didn't end up getting drenched as our church party did on their walk on the same day on the Rhinns (my symapthies to them of course!) Gir-bheinn is a fascinating, if diminutive, mountain. Viewed from the east, as it generally is, it appears as a gentle mound, hardly noticeable in mountain terms. From...
gir-bheinn geographing trip report islay

Storakaig to the Sound of Islay

31 months ago
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'...
storakaig sound of islay geographing trip report

Ballimartin to Airigh Mairi Thormaid, Islay

32 months ago
I think it was on the walk before I discovered Geograph that I first saw Miri Thormaid's shieling. I was more interested at that time in getting to the top of Beinn Bhreac to acquire another Islay trigpoint than I was in remote Islay ruins. Then I discovered Geograph and began to be interested in these old, remote ruins. They are so evocative of a time gone by, of a different way of life and of previous inhabitants of this beautiful island. So I set off on a glorious, almost cloud-free...
ballimartin airigh miri thormaid islay circular walk

Bolsa via Bunnahabhain and Beinn Thrasda, Islay

32 months ago
Towards Sgarbh Breac from summit of Beinn Thrasda, Islay
This was another of the many walks I've walked through on the map many times, and which I've done parts of several times. I'd been checking the forecast all week and the day I chose to do it in reality dawned bright with cumulus clouds dotted promisingly across the sky. I started from Bunnahbhain, walking down to the deer gate Photo and then to the Margadale River, which is one of my favourite views on Islay. Photo The walk up to Rubh' a' Mhail lighthouse is one I have done...
bolsa circular walk beinn thrasda bunnahabhain

Circular Walk to and from Ardbeg, via Solam, Loch Uigeadail and Tighnaspeur, Islay

33 months ago
The walk started from the phone box at Ardbeg, along the track to Airigh nam Beist and then northwest to Solam, rather than northeast to Loch Iarnan as on a previous walk. Solam is known as the plague village on Islay because it is where plague victims were banished to keep them away from healthy Islay residents Photo. I have yet to find the carved faces, flat stone and wishing well mentioned by Armin Grewe in his blog: LinkExternal link....
loch uigeadail geographing trip report islay tighnaspeur

Ballimartin to Killinallan - linear, cross-country walk

33 months ago
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...
ballimartin islay killinallan geographing trip report

Dun Bhar-a-Chlaom, Islay

33 months ago
On a windless day John and I set off on a circular walk from and to Kilchoman via the ancient fort of Dun Bhar-a-Chlaom. As usual my attempts to find a translation of the Gaelic have failed, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Our walk started from the car park at Machir Bay, where we headed through the gate southwards across the dunes. A pool of water marked only on my edition of the Explorer map as 'Butts' is symbolised on the latest edition of the map. A family of Whooper Swans...
dun bhar-a-chlaom machir bay kilchoman

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