The Armin Grewe Homepage
Picture of a woman on a Calmac ferryPicture of a bird of prey in flight, probably a hen harrierSaturday, after a week it was time for the first good-byes: My sister left us for Kintyre, where she was going to go on a horse-trekking holiday for a week.

We had to get up quite early, as she was taking the morning ferry from Port Ellen. Imke said her good-byes to Ian and Margaret, then to our parents. We arrived in Port Ellen in perfect time, where she boarded the ferry after saying our good-byes. I then took a few pictures of her on the ferry before watching her leaving. Driving back to Kilchoman I spotted a bird of prey close to the road, I believe a hen harrier. I managed to take a reasonable picture, although not as good as I had hoped.

For the afternoon I had planned to take my parents on the Killinallan Walk I had been on during the Islay Walking Week in April 2007. Around lunchtime we left for Killinallan Gate, where we parked the car and got ready for the walk. Around 13:30 we left for the walk, although I had to make a slight change to the plan.
Picture of a landscape with small cuts and glens Picture of a long straight track stretching out into the distance
Picture of a dead adder on a track As it was still close to high tide I decided to complete the walk anticlockwise instead of clockwise as we had walked earlier in the year. That way we would be on the beach during low tide later in the afternoon.

Just past Killinallan we had to overcome an obstacle: A herd of cattle with some aggressive looking bulls was in the field the track was leading through. Not wanting to take any risks we decided to go avoid them and walked around the field.

Having passed the field with the cattle we rejoined the track for the long slog out to Gortantaoid. The picture makes it look worse than it actually is, it's not as long as it looks and you do get some nice views over the dunes and the hills in the area. Just before Gortantaoid River we found a baby adder, unfortunately it was dead.
Picture of a woman walking past ruins of farm buildings Picture of a couple walking towards a beach across some rough ground
Picture of a view over a beach with rocks in the foreground On arriving at Gortantaoid we had a quick look around the remains of the farm buildings. We had a quick look at the old farm garden, although we didn't pick any rhubarb as it was too late in the year.

From Gortantaoid we continued north, crossing a fence to reach the plain overlooking the beach and the shore. Avoiding the boggy areas and walking over rough ground we reached the shore just east of Gortantaoid Point.

We had a late lunch in the same spot as during the walk I had been on earlier in the year, enjoying nice views over the beach. Refreshed we continued the walk, we now had the nicest part ahead of us: The long sandy beach of Tràigh Baile Aonghais, very nice and relaxing walking with nice views over the dunes and sea. Even the sun started to break through more often!
Picture of panoramic view over a wide beach with two walkers
Picture of the hills of an island seen across the sea Despite the quite cloudy weather it was surprisingly clear, we had excellent views across the sea to Colonsay and even the Isle of Mull, about 30 miles away.

I had taken my mother to Colonsay in 2003, this was a good opportunity to show my father where we had been 4 years ago. We had hoped to visit the island this year as well, but as the weather hadn't looked very nice we had abandoned that plan.

Instead we pointed out Colonsay and Oronsay on the horizon while telling him about our walk across The Strand. From Gortantaoid Point to Killinallan Point we had a good 2 miles to cover, plenty of time to talk and tell stories.
Picture of a panoramic view across the sea to two other islands
Picture of a couple walking along a beach, the woman pointing with a walking stick When we arrived at Killinallan Point and turned south to walk into Loch Gruinart it was low tide, exactly as I had hoped and planned for. Walking the final stretch was quite exhausting though, as the sand turned out to be very soft. We managed to find some harder ground in places, but still had to ‘work’ quite a bit on others.

At the same time this was one of the nicest parts of the walk, for two reasons: The sun continued to break through again and again. And in the distance I soon spotted what I had hoped to see and show my parents: A large number of seals was sunning themselves on the sandbank in the middle of the loch.

Getting closer we could see approx 50 seals on the sandbank, some hastily moving into the water as we approached, but most just ignoring us.
Picture of a couple walking around a bend of a beach Picture of seals on a sandbank in a sea loch

A small picture doesn't really do the view justice, so I've also created a Quicktime VR panorama of dozens of seals on a sandback in Loch Gruinart. You get to see the seals much better (and as a bonus a view of the remains of Kilnave Chapel, although not Kilnave Cross):

Picture of a panoramic view of seals sunning on a sandbank
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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