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Kintour to Kynagarry, Islay, April 2011

By Becky Williamson

Islay is heaving around the second week of April every year with enthusiastic walkers who meet for the annual Walk Islay week. Admittedly these are not ardent geographers, but what a great opportunity to grab a few 'green' squares on a walk I would not otherwise be able to do because it requires two cars, one at the start and one at the finish.

The walk in question started at Kintour on the east coast of Islay (NR 45 51) and finished at Kynagarry (NR 37 58), inland and to the north-west, a total of a measly seven (but gruelling) miles. My first quest was to find a GPS possessor as even a quick glimpse of the map told me there were some pretty featureless gridsquares en route and not everyone (in fact hardly anyone) wants to wait for someone who insists on dragging out the map and analysing it every few paces.

My poor GPS possessor did not know what she had let herself in for. 'You mean I've got to keep it swtiched on all the time?' she asked. Hmmm, it really is time I got one of these things for myself. But she was willing and very kindly plotted every single photo throughout the walk. (In fact I think she got so much into it that she may well join geograph herself!) This was an invaluable help as not only are the gridsquares pretty featureless, but we were marching on at twice the speed I usually go.

The Kintour River is very attractive, running through some ancient native woodland.
NR4551 : Kintour River, Islay by Becky Williamson

We headed north, crossing the river at NR 453 521 NR4552 : Don't  Post a Letter! by Becky Williamson by one of Islay's many makeshift bridges - this time a door!

It's a bit of a climb to Cnoc Dhota where some ruins are suggestive of erstwhile shielings and we looked across to Beinn Bheigier. We left the woodland behind here and headed out to vast, featurelss moorland. NR4452 : Cnoc Dhota, Islay by Becky Williamson NR4452 : Woodland at Cnoc Dhota by Becky Williamson

The next square was a challenge, with very little to photograph, so I chose the Drovers' path which we followed most of the way, although it all but disappears in places. NR4352 : Drovers' Path, Islay by Becky Williamson

A dent in the moorland provided slight interest, enough for a photograph in NR 43 53 NR4353 : Dried up pool in moorland by Becky Williamson and some tiny pools featured in grid square NR 42 53, looking south to the interesting terrain of hut circles, dns and cnocs (ripe for another geographing adventure).NR4253 : Pools in moorland by Becky Williamson

We were gradually ascending all the time now from the south-east, but it did not feel too bad and actually reached a height of around 400 metres (remember this is Islay, so that's pretty high!) The unnamed hill sloped steeply away from us to the east and we could see the glorious vista of Beinn Bheigier and Gleann Lera with the Claggain River running through the valley. A waterfall featured in the next grid square, although it was a bit pathetic today due to the dry weather we've been enjoying recently. NR4254 : Waterfall, Gleann Leòra by Becky Williamson

After lunch we continued to ascend a few more contours and passed a few wee pools in NR 41 54 before happening upon a little lochan bang in the middle of NR 41 55. NR4154 : Moorland pools on the plateau of an unnamed mountain on Islay by Becky Williamson NR4155 : Central Lochan by Becky Williamson.

Anxious to see Loch nam Breac (Loch of the Trout or Salmon) in NR 40 55 I made a quick detour to the west and photographed the loch from the adjacent square, leaving its full geograph status for another visit (or someone else). NR4055 : Loch nam Breac, Islay by Becky Williamson This loch can be viewed from Beinn Bhn and, like all moorland lochans, possesses a character and beauty of its own. NR4056 : Beinn Bhàn's eastern top, Islay by Becky Williamson.

I had to speed up a bit to catch up with Bronwen who was patiently waiting to inform me that we were in the next grid square. However, I waited for the lochan which covers two squares before taking a photo and again wished I'd got time to nip over to photograph its eastern half. NR4056 : Unnamed lochan in moorland, east Islay by Becky Williamson

There was now only one new square for me to photograph and I saved it for the wonderful wooded valley of Allt Coir' a' Chinn-Chlach (which translated means something like Burn of the Corrie or Glen of the Head-stone - according to local legend, a battle was fought here in the 16th century, although there is no sign of any headstone!) NR4057 : Allt Coir' a' Chinn-Chlach, Islay by Becky Williamson NR4057 : Allt Coir' a' Chinn-Chlach by Becky Williamson It was beautiful, however, and I could hear Willow Warblers singing from the stunted trees there and longed to explore more.

Now it was down to the footbridge across the Kilennan River and familiar territory for me. NR4058 : Footbridge across the Kilennan River, Islay by Becky Williamson. We stopped at the attractive Sruthan Allallaidh (can't find what this name means except Sruathan is streamlet) for folk to bathe their feet, it being so hot.NR4058 : Tiny, attractive  copse on Sruthan Allallaidh, Islay by Becky Williamson

It's about two miles from here to Kynagarry past more ruins NR3958 : Ruins (possibly shieling) on Kynagarry track, Islay by Becky Williamson and conifer plantations NR3858 : Forestry near Kynagarry by Becky Williamson. The track is very good and we heard Cuckoo and saw the diminutive and delicate Green Hairstreak Butterfly on these last two miles.

We made it back to Kynagarry five hours after we started. NR3758 : Kynagarry Farm by Becky Williamson We had been granted special permission to park at the house. Usually I park at the end of the track. We walked south-east to north-west. Although the walk could be done in reverse, it potentially mean having the sun in your eyes all the time, which is a consideration.

It had been a wonderful walk. Next time I go, I'll be armed with my very own GPS - or more long-suffering friends!

This trip is also available on Geo-Trip page LinkExternal link

Loading map...
Marker only shows grid square

Wed, 20 Apr 2011 at 15:56
Grid Square
geotagged! NR4551
Chosen Photo

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