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Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves


Postby mrssanta » Wed May 14, 2014 12:36 pm

Date walked: 30/07/2007

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 20 km

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I have been writing a retrospective walking log book in order to prove I have a bit of experience for a certificate allowing me to help with DofE expeditions and came across some pictures from an adventure which I thought might amuse.
We have friends now elderly who used to spend at least a week each summer fishing and camping in caves at Bolsa on the north coast of Islay and it was always something we fancied doing - not for a week but just a night.
So one day during the summer holidays when the weather seemed like it would be fine we thought "let's do it!"
We hadn't planned this for ages and didn't really have enough equipment, but we did have a sleeping bag each, managed to dig around in Granny's house for a rucksack each, and went and bought mounds of sausages and bacon and rolls and apples for tea and breakfast. we even managed to gather together some sleeping mats, although one of them consisted of a roll of bubble-wrap! surprisingly effective although not really that hard wearing! we had a storm kettle and an enormous frying pan.
we asked our friend for advice about finding a good cave. he said to just look out for a rock that looks like a loaf of Hovis Broon and the cave is in there! And what's this about sleeping mats, just get a pile of bracken to sleep on you'll be fine!

So off we were, two mummies and a raggle taggle of young folk, 7 of our own and an extra, ages between 8 and 16.
We drove to the locked gate at the road end about a mile before Killlinallan and enjoyed a picnic lunch before setting off on our adventure.
setting off2.jpg

really setting off.jpg

Granny came with us with the dog for the first part of the walk.
granny and daisy.jpg

It's a beautiful place with a huge and empty beach
Gruinart.jpg
looking back across Gruinart to Ardnave

There is a good track which passes two ruined farmhouses looking very sad, then crosses the Doodilmore river by a bridge before petering out at the old settlement of Doodilbeg. from there on the going is very rough over moorland and through bracken, you can go close to the shore which means a lot of climbing up and down into bays and gorges, or you can go higher up where the route is straighter but there is more vegetation. Either way it is a fabulous coastline with caves, arches and stacks to feast the eyes on.
near bolsa.jpg

near bolsa2.jpg

near bolsa3.jpg

butterfly.jpg

Ahead of you is the lump of Mala Bholsa where we were heading for.
If you have two cars it is a great walk to go all round the top of the coast and end up at Bunnahabhainn which we did once when I was in my teens and have always wanted to do again - but never got round to it.
The boys in the party insisted on taking the cricket gear with them and once we got close to Mala Bholsa spotted a good cricket pitch on the shore. This was obviously where we were stopping.
Cricket again.jpg
boys playing cricket.

I don't think we slept in the recommended cave. I'm not sure I saw a rock looking like a Hovis Broon either. But we did find a long narrow arch which fitted all ten of us, was dry and reaonably flat underfoot. The opposite end of the arch ended nearly in the sea but there was plenty of space.
our cave on the left.jpg
our sleeping cave is the narrow one on the left

all asleep.jpg

We collected driftwood and cooked our sausages on the fire, boiled the kettle, and kept the fire going to keep the midges at bay. we found a great big lump of wood which kept the fire in all night so it was an easy matter in the morning to cook the bacon for breakfast.
fiona cooking 2.jpg

2 fires.jpg
the campfire and the kettle fire.

campfire3.jpg

sunset2.jpg

campfire in morning.jpg
the campfire in the morning

Overnight we had very little sleep. Eight youngsters singing all night, Do you know a silly ditty "I saw a bird with a yellow bill"? well we had various increasingly silly versions of it all night. The next day we walked back the way we had come. The lack of sleep took its toll on us all and some people moaned all the way back.
doodilmore on way back.jpg
my favourite picture of everyone looking wrecked on the Doodilmore bridge. Happily I am taking the photo so you can't see how I looked!

but they still talk about it now!!
And just a word about using bracken instead of a sleeping mat. Ticks. not recommended.
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mrssanta
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Wed May 14, 2014 2:52 pm

Really enjoyed that ...what a great adventure! :D
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby RiverSong » Wed May 14, 2014 8:20 pm

What a great story, that last photo where you are all knackered shows just what fantastic fun it must have been :clap:
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby Silverhill » Wed May 14, 2014 10:16 pm

Fantastic fun and a true adventure, sleeping in a cave on bubble wrap! Great pictures of the coastline and the enormous frying pan! :D
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby orion » Wed May 14, 2014 11:48 pm

The north west coast of Islay is one of Scotlands hidden gems :)

A shot of the caves you were probably aiming for.Wild goats may have to be evicted first of all if you want a kip inside :lol: The pinnacle at Bagh an da Dhoruis and the summit of Mala Bholsa.The latter is a lovely wee hill if you are back in the area . Have had it marked down for a summit camp for a few years now 8)
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bagh an da dhoruis pinnacle.jpg
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby Mountainlove » Thu May 15, 2014 8:23 am

Oh that sounded so much fun! Never had thought of sleeping in a cave but what an adventure. Thank you for sharing!!
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby denfinella » Thu May 15, 2014 9:06 pm

I had no idea the Islay coastline was this dramatic, and unusual!
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Thu May 15, 2014 9:41 pm

Oh that's lovely - we obviously need a trip to Islay :D :D
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby shish » Sat May 17, 2014 11:19 pm

Oo yes. This was a brilliant adventure!
There was a thick layer of goat poo in some bits of the cave and it was quite soft to sleep on. Mostly fairly well composted. My head was slightly out of the cave so I had a proper starry view overnight. Check out those knees! It's the angle of the camera or something. :lol:
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby dogplodder » Sun May 18, 2014 4:26 pm

Proper Famous Five stuff - what a cool mum you were/are! My boys would have insisted on taking cricket gear along too! :D
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Re: Cricket on the Machair and camping in caves

Postby mrssanta » Mon May 19, 2014 7:22 pm

As I remember there was some Test match on and they refused to go unless they could play cricket. Fine by me if they are prepared to carry it. Summer holidays have always involved cricket with the cousins on various beaches or ruining Granny's lovely garden!
Thanks for the pics, Orion. Shish and I will no doubt be back but we'll probably leave the kids behind next time - they are all old enough now!
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