Scotland – Island Hopping 2022 – Days 6-8

Clachan– 11th May 2022
Waking to the quarry workings next to the site was a bit of a shame at 7am but the sun was shining, and life was good. After our marathon drive and late arrival yesterday, we wanted a gentle day and so walked along the shoreline into Clachan village. Occasional padlocked gate meant some clambering over, muddy track with cattle also diverted our perambulation (good word) closer to the shore, we always marvel at what we come across during our peripatetic (another good word) wanderings and again we were not disappointed. Sand Martins were skittering across our path as we followed a beautiful river shrouded with trees and Bluebells nodding in the breeze as we made our way into the village. Although not religious we are drawn to churches and found some very strange tall stones at Clachan with Celtic and sword markings, no idea what they were – perhaps someone can enlighten us?
Through the village, up the hill and veering off onto an old drover’s path from the village to an old ferry crossing we were struck by how ancient the route must have been. On the left were three ‘Duns’ (ancient or medieval forts) which we unable to visit as it was getting a little late in the day.

Strange markings on vertical stones – Clachan Churchyard.

Clachan to Westport – 12th May 2022
We are on the move again, itchy feet. We will look back on this adventure and say we were meant to kick back and decompress; the truth is we like moving on and seeing what is around the next corner. We drove down the west coast of the peninsula to Westport and parked in a large car park with 2 spaces marked for campers, an encouraging sign. The beach is around 6km long, we walked about halfway along once again watching Sand Martins skimming the rocks and sand, their acrobatic manoeuvring reminding me of the Cirque Du Soleil trapeze artists. We decided to stay overnight despite the car park being close to the road it wasn’t too noisy.

Moody skies over Westport Bay

Westport to Machrihanish – 13th May 2022
A short seashore walk in the opposite direction rewarded us with a great view of Turnstones, a Wheatear and the usual Ringed Plovers which always look like little clockwork toys, short fast runs stopping to look where the next threat might be and starting off again with intent. Another birding highlight was seeing a couple of Great Northern Divers – their plumage makes you realise the complexity and beauty that nature provides.

Well camouflaged amongst the rotting seaweed - Turnstones
Well camouflaged amongst the rotting seaweed – Turnstones

Provisions were required so we drove into Campbeltown on the opposite coastline. Janette just can’t find decent wholegrain bread, but then maybe supermarkets are not the right place and we should be looking for those small independent bakers, but we always want to be on the move rather than wasting time ‘shopping’.
Moving to Machrihanish we had previously looked at the Park4night app and identified a wild camp spot just outside the village, not in front of any houses and we felt a respectful distance from the nearest property. A fantastic view out towards the Atlantic with Gannets often crossing our view and a Hooded Crow (native to Scotland) flying very close to Hilma’s windscreen giving us the once over to see if there was any free food. We walked to a seabird observatory which unfortunately was locked but the blue of Spring Squill (Scilla) against the close cropped verdant green grass was refreshing on the eye.

Machrihanish – Spring Squill (scilla) – a veritable sea of blue which pierces the eye and cannot fail to impress
Machrihanish – Gannets in flight – so elegant, and look at the head, made for those high speed dives at up to 60mph!
Machrihanish – Sea campion (silene)
Machrihanish – Rock Pipit – keeping an eye on us, a pair were probably nesting nearby as we saw them often.

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