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Tuesday, 14/Apr/2009

WalkIslay 2009 - The First Half

Picture of a group of walkers descending into a glen

Someone said I won't get any dinner unless I blog about WalkIslay 2009. Luckily I was offered to use the WiFi at an taigh-osda, so I'm more than happy to oblige and provide an update from this year's Islay walking week. We are off to a great start with some great weather again for the first half of the week. As usual the week kicked off with the first walk on Saturday morning, led by Donald James (DJ) MacPhee, who took us to the Sound of Islay. During the walk there was a lot to see:

Picture of a bothy at a sound between two islands

The walk took us down to the Sound of Islay, through Glen Logan and returning past Lossit Farm. We saw three Golden Eagles, an Otter and many sea birds. We waved to the ferry coming in with more walkers and had a great lunch at the An Claddach bothy. Not to forget the great pancakes afterwards, many thanks to DJ's family as well for their hospitality.

Picture of a group of walkers in the hills

On Sunday Lindy from Bunnahabhain and Karen (who runs Islay on Foot) took us to the hills in the north east of Islay, in particular to the summit of Giur Bheinn. Not as much wildlife on display during this walk, but the weather certainly held up and we had quite a lot of sunshine and mild temperatures. 47 walkers joined this walk and upon our return we were welcomed by John MacLellan and a wee dram of Bunnahabhain. Finishing a walk at a distillery seems a good idea.

Picture of walkers on the shore of a sound between two islands

Monday saw many of us making the short crossing over the Sound of Islay for some walking on the Isle of Jura. One group drove to Craighouse for two shorter walks with Gordon and Louise, very good walks again I'm told. I joined the group which took the bus to Jura House Gardens for the start of our walk. After a visit to the beautiful gardens we dropped down to the Sound of Islay to walk back to Feolin Ferry. While the day had started sunny it unfortunately turned quite hazy during the day, slightly spoiling the views over to Islay. Nevertheless it was a great walk, led by Keith and Susan (who are leaving Islay, I will certainly miss them!)

Picture of a group of walkers on a rainy moorland stretch

Today unfortunately the weather broke down for a large part of the day: Quite a lot of persistent rain, so much that even I gave in and took my rain cape out of my rucksack. Still several well attended walks took place: 28 walkers took on the Bholsa and Rhuvaal challenge, 30 walked on The Oa and a smaller group of 9 (including me) crossed Islay from Loch Indaal to Loch Gruinart. Jack Adamson again did a fantastic job in guiding us through difficult terrain and finding spots sheltered from the wind and rain. It did clear up in the afternoon and we now have some lovely late afternoon sunshine, hopefully a good sign for the next few days.

That's all I have for today, there are a few more (and larger) pictures on the Islay Pictures photoblog if you're interested. I'm off for some seafood at an taigh-osda now, looking forward to it!

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