Sunday, May 09, 2010

End of an Islay day.

After our rounding of the Mull of Oa, the most southerly point in the Hebrides, getting through security at Kintra was relatively easy. There was no queue and although we had to put our liquids bottles into bags (there was no volume restriction) we did not need to remove our shoes.

There was no way I was going to walk back to Port Ellen, so we pulled our kayaks up to the Kintra road end and I phoned Fiona's Taxis in Port Ellen. (Just in case there was no phone reception, I had allowed time for Jennifer and Misha to walk back to Port Ellen and recover the car.)

In the distance, far to the WNWacross Loch Indall, we could see clear sky and sunshine beyond the Rhinns of Islay lighthouse. The lighthouse is actually on the island of Orsay which lies beyond Rhinns Point. It was built in 1825 by Robert Stevenson. Its light flashes white every 5 seconds.

We got changed back at the car on the front at Port Ellen as the sun was setting.

Due to the taxi, we had about an hour to spare so we drove up to the head of Loch Indaal which is overlooked by the magnificent Paps of Jura.

The warm lights in the cottages on the far shore looked so inviting in the bitter cold winter light of the gloaming.

We stopped for a break in Bowmore the capital of Islay. The view to the head of Main Street is dominated by the iconic Round Church, which was built in 1767. I have always thought that its shape resembles that of a whisky still which is not wholly inappropriate on this island of malts! Needless to say we stopped of at the truly excellent Harbour Inn, which is a very short step from the slipway at Bowmore's little harbour. An excellent sea kayaking pub!

The only reason this trip was possible was due to one of the two Islay ferries being taken off service for annual maintenance. The usual 17:00 return sailing from Port Ellen (which would have been too early) was replaced by a 20:20 ferry from Port Askaig. Here the MV Hebridean Isles is just nudging into her dock at Port Askaig. In the foreground, our old friend, the MV Margaret Sinclair from Mull was acting as a relief ferry for the island of Jura.

Our day trip to Islay was over.