Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A four pointed cross on a two pointed island.

As we approached the mouth of Campbeltown Loch our eyes were drawn to the NE and the Isle of Arran which lay on the far side of the Kilbrannan Sound. It looked very enticing in the early evening light. That had been our poor weather alternative route back to Ardrossan but since the weather was fair we turned our eyes south towards the...

 ...causeway that links the west point of Davaar island to the mainland of Kintyre. We were amazed at the number of gannets, guillemots and razorbills we saw in the air and waters around us.

There was still just under 3 hours till local HW and the causeway was still dry so we set off round the outside of Davaar island which would add about 2 km to our route south, towards the Mull of Kintyre.

The attractive, white cottage (called the Lookout), which blends so well with the magnificent scenery, is now a holiday rental home. Its rather utilitarian architecture can perhaps be blamed on WW2 austerity. It was built for Royal Navy crews to watch shipping entering the loch and operate anti-submarine nets and cables.

The lighthouse was built in 1854 by David and Thomas Stevenson. It was automated in 1983. The light has a double white flash every 10 seconds.

Davaar is derived from the Gaelic "Da-Bharr" which means two points. We now approached the second, northern point.

This can be a lively place at the height of a flood tide (if the wind is from the north) but all was calm as we rounded the point and caught our first sight of the rocky monolith of Ailsa Craig.

 Once we were in the lee of Davaar Island, the wind dropped but soon picked up as...

...we cleared its southern cliffs. We did not have time to stop but on a previous visit....

 ...Tony and I had entered a cave with two entrances at the back of which...

 ...stood a wooden cross.

As our eyes became used to the darkness we saw a painting of Christ on the back wall of the cave. It was pained in 1887 by Archibald MacKinnon who was a local teacher. It has been restored several times by art teachers from the school in Campbeltown. In 2006 it was vandalised when someone painted a copy of Jim Fitzpatrick's image of Che Guevara over Christ's face.

It was a relief  to feel the pull of the sail in the free air as we cleared Davaar Island. My injured left shoulder was already hurting and we had nearly 200 km to go before we got back to Ardrossan...

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