The Armin Grewe Homepage
Picture of walkers walking through woodland For our first walk we met at Lossit Lodge. Donald James MacPhee was going to take us for a walk to Loch Allan, the Sound of Islay and Baleachdrach. After a warm welcome a good 30 walkers left towards Loch Ballygrant, the Islay Walking Week 2007 was under way!

From Lossit Lodge we walked through the woodlands to Loch Ballygrant, where we heard about the fishing on the loch. We continued through the woodlands and then along the track until we reached Loch Allan, where we had a short break.

Along the way we had the opportunity to see some of the famous Middle White pigs, which are kept at Lossit Farm on Dunlossit Estate. They are partly kept for land management, but I'm told their meat also tastes very good.
Picture of Middle White pigs at Dunlossit estate Picture of walkers walking along a loch (lake)
Picture of walkers walking along a beautiful loch/lake (Lily Loch on Islay) Refreshed from the short break we continued along the north-western shore of Loch Allan before crossing the small bridge to reach the south-east corner of Lily Loch. Turning east we walked towards the Sound of Islay, passing the target practice range on the way. Anyone going on to a hunt has to prove that they can hit the target from a certain distance before they are allowed to go hunting.

We had hoped for a nice view over the Sound of Islay from Leonie's Seat, but it wasn't meant to be: While it was sunny and warm it was also very hazy, severely limiting visibility. Making our way down to the shore we reached the beach at the turbine waterfall/ Eas Forsa. This was the perfect place for a nice lunch in the sun, so out came the sandwiches and muesli bars.

Picture of walkers above a sound, very little visibility due to haze Picture of a few walkers sitting down for lunch on some rocks
Picture of walkers crossing a burn Then it was time for one of the first challenges of the walk: With a full stomach from the lunch we had to cross the burn to continue south along the sound. Everyone made it to the other side safely, I don't think there were any wet feet.

We continued along the Sound of Islay, trying to make out the Paps of Jura on the other side of the sound through the haze. On the way DJ told us about the history of the area and pointed out and explained several of the place names like Port na Seilich and Port Sgeir an Duilisg. He pointed out an area in a bay which had been cleared to be used as a slipway a long time ago, still visible if you knew what to look for.

Above Fionn-phort we stopped to admire the view, although we had to imagine how much better it would be on a clear day. We could only just make out McArthur's Head, 4.5 miles away.
Picture of a hazy view over a sound between two islands (the Sound of Islay between Islay and Jura)
Picture of a swan and two seals There was also some wildlife to be seen: Earlier during the walk we had seen a buzzard's nest (and the buzzard flying away as we approached the area). Then we saw a lizard among stones at one of the beaches. There were seals sunbathing on rocks out in the sound. And a swan was watching our movements closely. After a while we found out why, when we came across the swan's nest with its huge egg.

At one of the beaches DJ organised a little competition, stone skimming was the challenge. I don't know if our efforts were good enough to qualify for the World Stone Skimming Championships, which take place not too far away from Islay on Easdale Island. I believe Ken won the competition and a chocolate Easter bunny with his effort.

Picture of a swan's nest with a single egg Picture of people skimming stones on a pebble beach
Picture of a group of walkers watching wildlife Picture of an eagle in flightAlmost at the end of the walk along the shore, I think at Port Bhoraraic, we were in for a real treat:

DJ spotted an otter on some rocks out in the water. The otter ignored us completely and we were able to watch it for quite a long time. It moved around looking in various directions, allowing me to take a number of pictures. My lens wasn't strong enough for brilliant pictures, but I'm still quite happy with the results.

On the way up to Baleachdrach we went past the nest of an eagle, but it wasn't there at the time. We only saw it flying over the Sound of Islay later.
Picture of an otter from behind, the head turned to the side Picture of an otter looking up into the camera
Picture of an alpaca From Baleachdrach we followed the track to Lossit Farm, where we saw an alpaca. It was shy yet curious about all those humans. Past Loch Lossit we returned to Lossit Lodge, where we had some excellent pancakes as well as tea and some whisky.

An excellent start to the week: A very nice walk in mild and sunny weather with a lot of wildlife to be seen.

If you are interested in more information about Islay, Colonsay and Jura you might also be interested in my Isle of Islay pages. There you will find many more pictures and further information about Islay, Jura and Colonsay.

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