Since arriving on Islay there have been a few places I’ve been desperate to get to. Being as I am sans vehicle, and with the buses not servicing much beyond Loch Indaal or Port Ellen, I’ve had to be patient. Happily, the milder weather is bringing with it both seasonal bird visitors to the island as well as large flocks of tourists and holidaymakers. Even more happily, some of these holidaymakers are here to see me. As a result I’ve had the chance to get out to corners of the island so far unknown to me, beyond pictures and notes of historical interest in books.


One of my top places to visit, which seems to be high on a number of ‘must-see’ lists, was Saligo Bay. No wonder people like it, it is wild, remote and bears the full brunt of the Atlantic on its shores. I visited on a day of exceptionally strong winds and saw waves bigger than I’ve ever seen before, with spindrift as high as the waves themselves. Beautiful light, stunning rocks, lambs cavorting around behind me in the dunes. It was spectacular.


What’s in the name? I’m not sure. Some indicate a Gaelic origin, others state simply ‘unknown’. For the military historian there’s plenty of interest in the area with significant remnants of wartime communication stations, now well embedded in the sand and providing shelter for newborn lambs. It’s a really spectacular wee corner of the island.


A lamb very adept to listening.




Just off the coast of Argyll, tucked away in Loch Linne is a small, verdant island called Lismore. I recently visited for the first time and took mere minutes to become enchanted.

Fantastic textures on a little used pier…

Decaying paintwork in Balnagowan

Birds foot trefoil just about to bloom

There is so much to see on Lismore. As a result of some very inclement weather days out and about were limited (I have a high tolerance of rain and wind, but I have my limits and these were met on days 1 and 2). Happily, the rest of the time made up for it. We explored just about every corner of the island on a combination of bikes and on foot. Everywhere we travelled we were met with a smile or a wave, or on occasion a look of slight pity on long uphill stretches… There’s a fantastic community spirit on the island, which, for being small, is really admirable. The smells of wild garlic and salt water haven’t left me yet. I already can’t wait to go back.