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Events for your Visit
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Walk Islay 19th - 24th April 2020
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Walk Islay 19th - 24th April 2020



Our week-long walking festival takes place annually across the Isles of Islay, Jura and Colonsay.

Join us for 1 walk or 6, the choice is yours.

Walks vary from easy to strenuous and take in the beautiful island scenery, from beaches and lochs, to mountains and moorland. Wildlife abounds in all corners with a chance to see eagles, otters, deer, goat and chough

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Please see the 2019 Programme below as a an example of what to expect in 2020


Sunday 21st April

Walk 1 – A cliff top walk from the Oa to Port Ellen

Meet: 10am
Park: Kilnaughton Cemetery Parking Area
Walk Leader: David Wood & Phill Catton
Level: Moderate/Challenging & Strenuous in places
Distance: 6-7 miles, 5-6 hours
What to bring: Refreshments inc. lunch and suitable footwear/clothing
On a bus route: No buses on Sundays – see Facebook Group ‘Walk Islay Shared Transport Group’

We will meet at Kilnaughton Cemetery where the walk will end. From here we will arrange shared transport to the walk start point at Kinnabus Farm. We will set out from the farm and head up to the highest summit on the Oa Beinn Mhor at 202m, views from the trig point here are stunning across to Northern Ireland and the Mull of Kintyre as well as across the whole of Islay. From here we will follow the stunning cliff tops, the highest on Islay back towards Port Ellen. We will enjoy sea views all the way and along the route will discover ancient chapels, breath-taking waterfalls and hear stories of the tragedy of the Tuscania and the lives lost and saved along this route.

Monday 22nd April

Walk 2 – Beinn Dubh - Ancient Broch’s, ruins and stunning views.

Meet: 10.30am
Park: Ballygrant Hall Carpark
Walk Leader: Chris Abel and Sandy Taylor
Level: Moderate to Challenging and Strenuous in Places
Distance: Approx. 7 miles 5-6 hours
What to bring: Refreshments inc. lunch and suitable footwear/clothing
On a bus route: Yes bus arrives into Ballygrant at 10.20am

We will meet at Ballygrant Hall Carpark at 10.30am, find the hall by taking the road signed to Cluanach diagonally opposite Labels shop and café. From here we will follow road, track and hill to the ancient Dun Bhoraraic – the only fort on Islay to be identified as a Broch. From here we will head up to the summit of Beinn Dubh where there is a trig point and stunning views up and down the sound of Islay and across to Jura. From the summit it is downhill to Loch Fada and back along the road to Ballygrant. This walk takes in some stunning scenery, fascinating geology and ancient ruins. Bookings will be taken at the start of the walk for cream teas at approx. 4pm in Labels at the end of the walk.

Tuesday 23rd April

Walk 3 – Loch Cam and north to Carn nan Gillean and Dun Chollapus

Meet: 10.20am
Park: Bridgend Cattle Mart Carpark
Walk Leader: David Webster
Level: Moderate to Challenging and Strenuous in Places
Distance: 6-7 Miles Approx 4-5 hours
What to bring: Refreshments inc. lunch and suitable footwear/clothing
On a bus route: Yes – bus stop is at Bridgend stores, take road towards Portnahaven and the Cattle Market is on your left.

Today we will meet at the Bridgend Cattle Market parking area, this is to the right of the market building and cattle stores. We will be using the community bus and shared vehicles to get us up to the start of our walk near Scarrabus Farm. From Scarrabus we will follow the track towards Loch Cam and then head north up the south ridge of Carn nan Gillean to its summit trig point. We will go further north to Dun Chollapus and then return to the top end of Loch Cam via Toll a’Chapuill Bhain and Beinn Cham.

Walk 4 – RSPB The Oa – Walk to the American Monument

Meet: 9.45am
Park: The Oa RSPB American Monument carpark NR282423
Walk Leader: Shona-Isla MacIntyre and Phill Catton
Level: Easy/Moderate over a short distance
Distance: 2 miles (allow 2-3 hours)
What to bring: Refreshments (lunch if you like yours early!), Suitable footwear/clothing
On a bus route: No – see Facebook Group ‘Walk Islay Shared Transport Group’

Today we will meet at the RSPB carpark on the Oa reserve, approx. 40 minutes drive from Bowmore. Our walk leaders for today are RSPB staff and will lead a circular walk around the stunning cliffs of the Oa to the American Monument. The Monument was built to commemorate the lives lost in two shipwrecks 100 years ago during the First World War. If the weather is good, walkers will enjoy breath taking views across to Northern and the Republic of Ireland.
This walk will take just under 3 hours to complete. Bring your binoculars as there will be a good chance of seeing golden eagle and chough along the way.

Wednesday 24th April

Walk 5 – Across the sea to Colonsay – an exploration of Balnahard from Kiloran

Meet: 11.30am in order to purchase ferry tickets for 12.15 sailing to Colonsay £8.50 rtn. Meet in passenger waiting room.
Park: Ferry Users Carpark, Port Askaig
Walk Leader: David Hobhouse
Level: Moderate over a long distance
Distance: 7 Miles
What to bring: Refreshments, suitable footwear/clothing, money for ferry ticket (lunch and dinner can be purchase on board the ferry)
On a bus route: Bus arrives into Port Askaig 10.29am NOTE no return bus in evening – shared transport or a taxi will need to be organised for those without their own cars.

Today we’re heading up the Sound of Islay and across the sea to Colonsay. We will meet at Port Askaig and catch the 12.15pm sailing to Colonsay arriving at 1.25pm. It is advisable to have lunch during the crossing ready for walking on arrival – this can be bought onboard. Our walk leader David Hobhouse will meet us off the ferry in the village of Scalasaig and we will be transported north east to the start of our walk at Kiloran Bay. From here we will take the farm track north up towards Balnahard Farm and onto the Traigh Ban, the stunning beach at Balnahard Bay. Time and energy permitting we may also explore the northern most tip of Colonsay, aptly named the ‘North Point’. From here we will make our way back to Kiloran Bay and onwards to the village of Scalasaig where walkers can enjoy an early light meal in the Colonsay Hotel or The Pantry. The ferry departs from Colonsay at 19.15 arriving into Port Askaig 20.25. Note that the bus service is not running at this time and those without their own transport will need to arrange a taxi or carshare home.

Thursday 25th April

Walk 6 – The Big Strand
Meet: 10.30am
Park: The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links
Walk Leader: Fiona MacGillivray
Level: Moderate, flat walking on sand.
Distance: 5-6 Miles
What to bring: Refreshments, Suitable footwear/clothing
On a bus route: Yes. Walkers will take the bus from the Machrie at 11.05 to the start of the walk at Laggan Bridge. Those coming from Port Ellen on 11am bus stay on and get off at Laggan Bridge. Those coming from Bowmore direction on the bus will have a wee wait. Either disembark at Laggan at 10.25 and wait for walkers to join you at 11.15 or disembark at Machrie road end to meet with other walkers who will be there just before 11 and travel back north together.

Today we will all use public transport reach to the start of our walk. See above for details. For those not arriving by public transport please meet at the brand new Machrie Hotel where we will park, take monies and then walk back down the hotel drive way to catch the 11.05 bus north to the Laggan Bridge. Bus transport on this occasion will be subsidised by Walk Islay but any donations towards the cost of travel would be appreciated. From here we will head west along a track towards Islay’s longest beach The Big Strand, skirting Laggan Bay. Once we reach the beach we will walk south enjoying the sea vistas. Our walk will end at the Machrie Hotel where walkers can enjoy the beautiful new hotel for afternoon tea and scones at £7 a head. Numbers for afternoon tea will be taken at the start of the walk.

Walk 7 – RSPB Loch Gruinart birding spectacular

Meet: 10.00am
Park: RSPB Loch Gruinart Visitor Centre
Walk Leader: Shona-Isla MacIntyre
Level: Easy to Moderate over a short distance
Distance: 3 miles allow 2.5 hours
What to bring: Refreshments, Suitable footwear/clothing
On a bus route: No – see Facebook Group ‘Walk Islay Shared Transport Group’

Our walk will commence at the RSPB Visitor Centre at Loch Gruinart where there are toilets and a coffee machine. A moderate walk, approx. 3 miles long, about 2.5 hours allowing for birdwatching on route. The walk will be led by RSPB staff and will go up onto the moorland with great views over Loch Gruinart. Dropping down through the fields to follow the woodland trail back to the visitor centre.

Friday 26th April

Walk 8 – Across the Sound to Jura for a circular walk from Craighouse

Meet: 11am Craighouse Village Hall, Isle of Jura
Park: Carpark Adjacent to Village Hall
Walk Leader: Louise Muir
Level: Moderate
Distance: 4-5 miles
What to bring: Lunch and refreshments, suitable footwear/clothing. Money for ferry.
On a bus route: 10.30am Ferry from Port Askaig to Feolin, 10.40am Bus Feolin to Craighouse. Bus arrives into Port Askaig 10.29am or 9.16am.

Today we will meet in by Craighouse Village Hall at 11am. For those bringing a car across ferries Depart Port Askaig 9.30am, 10am and 10.30am. From Craighouse we will head back towards Feolin along the road before turning left and heading through forestry down to the coast. We will pass ancient ruined forts and stand stones on this circular walk that takes us along the rugged shore and back to Craighouse and the welcoming Jura Hotel for a drink to celebrate the end of Walk Islay.


For booking details please sign up to receive updates, link at top of page. For other enquires email admin@islayjura.com or post via our facebook site https://www.facebook.com/WalkIslay

Fees and advice

A fee of £5 will be charged for each walk.

Bringing refreshments as well as suitable footwear and clothing are strongly recommended - this includes waterproof boots and gaitors/wellies. We request that smoking is permitted only at the discretion of the walk leader and kindly ask you not to bring your dog due to the presence of livestock with young across the islands. We have tried to grade the walks as easy, moderate, challenging and strenuous.


We have a shared transport group on Facebook. We hope those with cars will be able to provide lifts to walks that the public transport service does not reach. Please request to join the group if you are seeking a lift or are able to offer a space or two in your car https://www.facebook.com/groups/1644688679165939/

Contact Information
E: admin@islayjura.com
W: www.walkislay.co.uk
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