Thursday, 8 July 2010

Isle of Islay 28/06/2010 (Part 2)

Isle of Islay 28/06/2010 (Part 2)
Port Askaig to Bagh an Da Dhoruis
The cloud cover was steadily increasing as again we headed back onto the water.
The Sound with Jura and the Paps of Jura in the background.

The coast line north from Port Askaig is delightful to paddle: so much to see as the west coast of Jura opens up and draws your attention. There was the obligatory seal here and there but there was a notable drop in the number of sea birds. I was determined to see not only a Basking Shark, but see a Basking Shark close up. I had been scanning the seas intently for days now without any luck. Today was no different; perhaps tomorrow? As we rounded the north point of Islay the Island of Colonsay reveals itself on the horizon. The birdlife also increased as the swell from the Atlantic was felt for the first time.
The northern headland of Islay: Rubh’a Mhail and Rhuveal Lighthouse.
After rounding the northern tip of Islay it was a short paddle of about 1km to Bagh an Da Dhoruis (beach) were we would camp. It was an exciting feeling as the Atlantic swell. The sea was calm and serene as the swell lifted and dropped the kayaks gently, but you are left in no doubt that given the wrong weather conditions this part of the coast could be a very dangerous environment. A small colony of massive seals were spotted as they basked in different position on the rocks and skerries. Leisurely they came off the rocks to inspect us from a distance; before coming closer and following us. As always the high point of these encounters are the typical front fin slap on the surface as the seals semi- breech from the water to chase us off their territory. They eventually got bored with us and left, no doubt, to go back to their slumbers. We were soon at Bagh an Da Dhoruis and paddled to the west end of the beach which would give us some shelter if the weather deteriorated and the breakers got higher: we would still be able to launch without getting wiped out. Before landing we were once again escorted towards our landing site by an ever increasing numbers of seals.
Bagh an Da Dhoruis
Making camp.

A 5 star view from my tent door (I suppose it will do!!)
Relaxing after something to eat and taking in this fantastic wilderness.

Later in the evening we explored the beach and the caves at the east end of the beach.

Fresh tracks and markings of an Otter at a cave entrance.

End of another perfect day on Islay.

As I lay in my sleeping bag with my eyes closed that night, I was serenaded to sleep by the seals singing and the waves breaking on the beach.



  1. David,
    congratulations on your excellent photographs.
    There are some real quality ones there.

  2. It’s helps to take good pics when you have stunning scenery.


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  4. true true, but yours are good even when the background scenery is not that great.
    One question, what boats are guys in? I don't recognize "Sumarlidi" which seems to have a nice low cockpit coaming on the back but still rather high up front.

  5. Sumarlidi is a Quest, as far as I am aware it's a standard cockpit coaming. Cliodhna is a North Shore Atlantic.