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Great day on Kerrera

Great day on Kerrera


Postby KatTai » Thu Jul 30, 2015 8:06 pm

Route description: Gylen Castle circuit, Isle of Kerrera

Date walked: 29/07/2015

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 275m

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Had a great day out on Kerrera yesterday with both my dogs. The weather was looking good for over there so we decided to go for it! We arrived at around 8:30am and it turned out it was bin day and the ferry was bringing the bins across, so we got across to the island a bit earlier than expected. We followed the track around the island passing some cows that were in a fenced in field - I was worried about coming across cows loose on the trail as I read about in one report but they were all fenced in. The first gate we came to was a bit awkward, I had to lift the gate to slide the bolt in so I could then twist it out of the metal grip thingy the bolt was locked into before I could slide the bolt out. As I had the dogs with me, I had to open the gate or we would be having a very short walk indeed! Of course then I had to close the gate again. Then it was through a field of sheep - one of which looked like she was considering trying to start something with the dogs but fortunately she thought the better of it! Across at the woods there was a bit off a racket with a pair of hooded crows and a buzzard having a bit of an argument, and then a juvenile buzzard just did not want to shut up. There were signs dotted around the place, I particularly liked the "It's all downhill from here!" one!

Before reaching the tearoom we turned off to head to the castle. We were too early for the tearoom anyway. Following the trail and avoiding a particularly boggy section the castle was soon in sight. We followed the path split and we went to the left heading up to the castle on a more gentle slope. The views were amazing and I could see several islands in the distance. There isn't much to explore in the castle, but the views had most of the attention anyway! We then headed back down and this time followed the other track which led around the base of the castle to a sea arch - this whole section is raised seabed. It was about time for the tearoom to open, and having set off at 5am I was ready for a cuppa!

The tearoom was quiet when we arrived and I ordered my food (scone and a cake) and was entertained by watching the sparrows and chaffinches come hopping along hoping for some crumbs. The stop gave the dogs plenty of time to rest and as I was in no hurry I stayed there for a while watching the birds until it started to get busy and I decided it was time to move on. This was the first decision point as Fly was with us - to head back the way we came or to continue on round. She was doing fine though and so we decided to continue on the circular route with views across to Mull and the Calmac ferries crossing between Oban and various destinations.

We had a quick look in the craft stall (mostly soap and cards) and continued following the path (signposted "ferry"). This section seemed to take forever, coming close to bays and then moving away...a cyclist stopped and asked if I knew where we were on the map, which I didn't but he was heading for the tearoom so I was able to point him in the right direction! Then it was back inland through more boggy bits and then back onto a good track before another bay came in sight, which turned out to be Slatrach Bay meaning we were now on the last leg of the walk. We were stopped again to ask for directions (we must look like we know were we are going!), another guy heading to the tearoom. He had got the ferry across to the marina (I didn't even know about that ferry). I showed him where I thought we were on the map and pointed out where the castle and tearoom was. Continuing on, we reached the final set off crossroads. My initial plan had been to go to Hutcheson's Monument as well, but retired doggy was getting tired at this point and so extending the walk was out of the question. In all honesty it shouldn't have been anything to consider at all and I was only fooling myself by thinking it was a possibility. However, it is something to look forward to visiting another time.

The last stretch was all downhill to the ferry point. We were back early and so there was time for the dogs to have a swim while we were waiting (amazingly Fly discovered she had loads of energy when her water toy was brought out!). Play was abandoned though when a lab came and stole the toy, the toy was returned and the lab was dragged away but when we started playing again oh look, lab came running back...fortunately the ferry was coming back at this point otherwise I'd have ended up with two cross doggies not happy that they can't play in the water any more!

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The little ferry

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Noisy buzzard

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To the tearoom!

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Gylen Castle

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Dogs under the sea arch

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Share?

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KatTai
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Re: Great day on Kerrera

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:24 pm

That looks lovely!
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Mal Grey
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Re: Great day on Kerrera

Postby Gordie12 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:55 pm

Loved this - brought back great memories as we walked round Kerrera probably the best part of 20yrs ago now.

I remember we did it clockwise and my favourite part was near the end at the west side of the island with the views over to the islands and the CalMac ferries heading in and out of Oban.

You seem to have captured a lot more wildlife than me, I just remember cows and sheep but it was a brilliant day and really special views.

Thanks for posting. :D :D :D
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Re: Great day on Kerrera

Postby DonnyW » Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:49 pm

Nice report on a lovely Island KaTtai. I have enjoyed a coffee in the tea garden a few times too.

Quote KaTtai “The views were amazing and I could see several islands in the distance.”

The islands you saw from the castle are very interesting too.. unfortunately .. you need a boat to visit most of them... they are uninhabited.

The two islands furthest out and just to the left of the castle in your photo..are the Garvellachs. St Columba’s mother is believed to be buried there. There are also the remains of beehive prayer rooms on the outer island. The ancient monks crossed from the mainland in tiny coracles. Many didn’t survive the crossing as its treacherous waters. The Corryvrechan Whirpool is not too far from them..between Scarba and Jura.. its the third largest whirlpool in the world.

The closer of the islands are the Slate Islands. Easdale is still populated..but Belnahua was abandoned at the time of WW1. Its my favourite island in the area. Its like a museum of the past. The old cottages where 200 people lived are still standing..although the roofs have long gone. The iron pumps and boilers..although rusting ..are still there too. Thats the beauty of the remote islands..the tinks can't collect the iron and sell it for scrap..so everything is still there :-D

Just some useless info for you KaiTai.. glad you enjoyed your day on Kerrera
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Re: Great day on Kerrera

Postby KatTai » Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:11 am

Donny thank you for the island ID's! The guide book did list the islands that could be seen but didn't have anything to say which was which! Would be nice to visit some of the uninhabited islands.

It was a lovely trip out, I'm looking forward to going back again and reaching the north of the island as well.
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KatTai
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Re: Great day on Kerrera

Postby ancancha » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:33 pm

Liked the photo of the cows relaxing on the beach with the wreck in the background. My grandfather had one of those many many moons ago. A seine net fishing boat that is.
They had an interesting way of launching them. Once the hull was built, they sealed it and got all the village down to roll them off the pier into the water :!:
I must look out the photo....
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