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A Visit To Handa Island
by Alasdair Drummond » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:54 pm
Route description: Handa Island, near Tarbet
Date walked: 06/06/2012
Distance: 6.5 km5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
One of my fellow passengers, on the ferry across Handa Sound, remarked that it was an appropriate day for a beach landing and it took a second for me to realise that he meant the date, the 6th of June!
We were met on the beach buy 3 of the islands wardens, who pushed the landing ramp up to the bow so we could disembark. One of the wardens then escorted us through the dunes to the other beach then up to the stone built shelter which multi tasks as information hut, shop, meeting place and, well, shelter. There is also a fairly new toilet block adjacent.
There then followed the most pleasant and easy to comply with "Health and Safety" briefing I have experienced. We were ASKED to stick as much as possible to the path and REQUESTED to avoid certain areas. Not just that but we were given the explanations as to why these requests were being made. It's so much easier to do as you're asked than to do as you are ordered.
We then set off on our tour of the island. Now the leaflet you are given in the shelter (available in umpteen languages) suggests you head across the middle of the island towards the cliffs and ultimately a counter clockwise circuit. I suspect the sudden arrival at the top of the 85metre cliffs would, indeed, take your breath away. I, however, would suggest that, especially if it's your first visit, you take the clockwise option. The choice must be made roughly 500m from the shelter where the path splits.
Taking the clockwise path means that the island reveals it's wonders gradually, each one more astonishing and exciting than the last.
The Rocky bay, the natural arch, the Geos (deep inlets), the cave with the collapsed roof and the cliffs come at you one after tIhe other. It all culminates in arrival at the Great Stack (which is covered with puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes)and the nearby bay with the aforementioned 85m cliffs.
As we walked along an Arctic Skua encouraged us to keep walking past it's nest.
We spent a long time watching the seabirds, admiring the view and enjoying the magic of the place.
After a seat and a bite to eat, we set off down the boardwalk across the island back to the shelter. There we purchased some souvenirs and reread some of the information boards before heading back to the beach for the next ferry back to Tarbet.
If you go to Handa pick a good day during the nesting season, give yourself plenty of time and sandwiches, take the longest camera lens you can and binoculars. You wont be disappointed!
by Mountainlove » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:17 pm
by Paul Webster » Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:52 pm
by Mountainlove » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:21 am
by Alasdair Drummond » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:56 pm
Paul Webster wrote:Great place- but your photos are broken links - do you have them set to private maybe?
Yeah sorry about that but I have now uploaded them instead of linking to them, so here's hoping!
by Ian Johnston » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:35 pm
I've kayaked around Handa and "had a look" at the base of the Great Stack but the swell was too big to try squeezing into the gaps at its base.
During the nesting season the view from sea-level is astonishing - as of course is the smell
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