Friday, 20 May 2011

Beaches and birds on Islay...

Although I've already blogged about our whisky adventures on Islay, our main reasons for going were more to do with beaches and wildlife than alcohol.

Islay has some stunning beaches, like the Machir Bay in the north west corner of the island, near Kilchoman...
Machir Bay 1

Which I can report has excellent sand for drawing flying stick horses...
Flying beach horse
:)

And was also wide enough for the first outing of Ade's Aerobie disc (which I am completely rubbish at throwing, resulting in lots of sand going in my face!)...
First Aerobie

There are more beaches further round to the east at Sanaigmore Bay, where I was mesmerised by the waves for ages...
Wave crash 1

Waves at Sanaigmore Bay

And we found an extra added cove nearby that we didn't have time to explore properly...
Hidden cove at Sanaigmore Bay

The Singing Sands near Port Ellen were lovely but not singing on the day we visited. We found a ruined church-like building at the end of this beach so Ade climbed in to practice his preaching gestures...
Ade gestures at the window 2

Ade gestures at the window 1

Down to the south of the island is the Mull of Oa, a bleak kind of place, particularly on the kind of drab day it was when we visited. It's still spectacular though. It's an RSPB nature reserve and there is a nice trail to follow along the edge of the cliffs...
Oa trail

We saw a golden eagle floating about up there, as well as chough, which are the rarest crows in Britain and very lovely when you get a good look at them. Their plumage is blue-black and they have bright red legs and a downward curving red beak. We call them the 'ladies crow' because they look so elegant. I don't think anyone else calls them that, we're just a bit strange... :)

There were lots of wild goats grazing the seaweed down on the beach too! We couldn't get down to look at them closely, which is probably just as well because I've heard that the locals say you can usually smell the goats before you see them!

There's a huge American monument on the Oa...
Man and monument 2

And a place to sit that feels like the very tip of the island, with nothing but ocean in front of you (it also feels a bit hairy when the wind is gusting!)...
On the Mull of Oa

We decided to go on a guided walk around the other large RSPB reserve at Loch Gruinart. Although a corncrake had been singing on the morning we went, it was all quiet by the time we got there. We didn't see much else but its a lovely reserve and it was just nice to wander around and learn about the wildlife you can see there.

We were really hoping to see an otter at some point on Islay but they eluded us again (as they always seem to). Oh well, at least it's an excuse to have another trip there! :)

2 comments:

  1. Oh, this looks like a wonderful holiday and your photos are always incredible. We had an aerobie for five minutes when the children were little. Two throws and it went straight into the sea! xxx

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  2. Ade was worried about it ending up in the sea, especially since I was on the sea-side! I promised that I'd go in after it if I missed the catch but I don't think he believed me :) x x

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