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Barradale Circular, Islay

By Becky Williamson

I was excited as I set off on the day's plan C. Plan A had been abandoned as it was just too photogenic a day to go to a certain village on Islay which I won't mention for fear of insulting the hundreds of folks (!) who read these blogs! Plan B had been abandoned after driving 15 miles to Ardbeg in the thickening cloud which turned into heavy rain and which was no doubt a retribution for rejecting Plan A. So Plan C had to be put into operation. But first to devise Plan C as it wasn't in existence. The rain had passed and it was once more a beautiful day but I didn't feel like driving far so I got my colour coded map out and decided to visit an area which I hadn't visited before. Hard to believe I know!

I don't know if it's known locally as Barradale, but other names on the map seem to suggest it and it's such a beautiful sounding name that I've adopted it for the purpose of my geographs and this blog. It is situated on the west side of what is known as the 'Glen' Road which runs from bridgend to Ballygrant in the north of the island.

I started at Cattadale Farm NR3860 : Cattadale Farm, Islay in winter by Becky Williamson where the sight and sound of someone cutting the grass reinforced my feelings about this spring day. (Needless to say the photo I've linked to here was not taken today!). I walked through a gap in the conifer plantation to the Barr River where I sat for my lunch. NR3860 : Barr River, Islay by Becky Williamson

Crossing the river I walked directly northwards to the first of many ruins I'd see today. NR3861 : Ruin in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson I couldn't see the other ruins marked on the map, but they may have been very low and covered by vegetation, so I continued northwards to the deciduous woodland marked on the map. NR3861 : Woodland in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3861 : Woodland in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson. This woodland is more extensive than the map shows, but it is relatively easy to find your way through, crossing a small tributary of the Barr Vier on the way. Willow Warblers and Chaffinchs were calling incessantly as I ducked branches in this pretty woodland.

Out on the moorland once again, the song of the Willow Warbler was replaced by that of Curlews and Skylark - such beautiful sounds of spring. I was farther west than I wanted to be to see the next ruin, so waded through long grass to the next ruin NR3862 : Ruin in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson, one which stood on its own and therefore seemed all the more poignant.

The next settlement comprises quite a few buildings,NR3862 : Ruin in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson, including one with a high gable NR3862 : Ruin in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson and the final settlement in this gridsquare was more extensive still NR3862 : Ruins in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson, with one building being conveniently in the next gridsquare (NR3962) NR3962 : Ruin in Barradale, Islay by Becky Williamson.

From here I continued northwards to the dizzy heights of Beinn Bharr-dail, never being sure when I'd reached the summit, but settling for a photo of some sort of marker NR3863 : Near the summit of Beinn Bharra-dail, Islay by Becky Williamson. Then I headed down to Loch Bharradail NR3963 : Loch Bharradail, Islay by Becky Williamson where there were more ruins NR3963 : Ruin by Loch Bharradail, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR3963 : Ruin by Loch Bharradail by Becky Williamson.

Next came the difficult part of the walk. After crossing a civilised stile across the first fence I'd come across, and then having no further boundaries, I could see three more fences between me and the road - and boggy ground! There being nothing else for it, I plodded on and used my red foam mat to cross the barbed wire fences (an invaluable piece of rucksack kit). Just before meeting the 'main' road I saw two interesting formations in the fields here NR4063 : Hole in the Limestone Landscape, Islay by Becky Williamson and NR4063 : Gully in the limestone landscape, Islay by Becky Williamson. I assume they're part of the lead workings in NR3963.

Plodding down the last two miles of tar-mac was not a thought I relished so I was relieved when a farmer stopped to give me a lift. 'I wondered whose the car was,' he said when I told him where I'd parked. 'I've seen it before along here.' 'Yes,' I admitted, 'I'm often out this way for a walk!'

Loading map...
Marker only shows grid square

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 at 16:36
Grid Square
geotagged! NR3862

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