Monday, May 23, 2011

The dykes of the north coast of Islay.

All too soon, the tidal assistance came to an end when we rounded the point below the Rhuvaal lighthouse.

Sadly, the original lantern and rotating lens of this beautiful lighthouse has been replaced by what looks like a 100 Watt bulb on the end of a pole! However, the stonework of the tower has recently been painted and it was looking very well maintained. 

From Rhuvaal we turned westwards along the wild north coast of Islay.  Great basalt dykes emerge from the sea and march straight up the hillside...

...some 65km from their origin in the Tertiary volcano that once erupted on Mull.

Huge caverns, many now dry, hark back to a time when sea levels were higher and the coast was being battered by sea ice.

We founds a dramatic break in the rocky fore shore at Port an t-Sruthain. 

A narrow channel, just wide enough for a small boat...

...cuts straight through fangs of rock and emerges below a steep storm beach of cobbles. Was it man made or the result of natural erosion of a dyke?


  1. The lighthouse is indeed well maintained as someone lives full time in it as I found out in passing last year.What a place to live :)

  2. Wonderful travel writing.

    I appreciate the references to a lot, it also helps to "remember" the locations for future visits ...

    Thank you!!


  3. @Alex,

    yes and no, as the lighthouse and the lighthouse keepers cottage are separate entities, even though they are on the same ground.

    The lighthouse keepers cottage is indeed a private residence but it is separate to the lighthouse which is still owned and maintained by the lighthouse board. The people living in the cottage have no access (or responsibility) to/for the lighthouse.

  4. Thank you Marcus, I am so lucky to have such great places on the doorstep!

    Alex, Armin has explained the situation at Ruvaal, which also extends to all the NLB lighthouses. Some of the keepers' houses like Pladda now belong to an individual. Some like Corsewall have been converted to a hotel/restaurant.