15. Kerrera

P1060841 Gylen Castle SAH
Gylen Castle (c) Sally Hutt
IMG_8107 Kerrera Ferry DJH
The Kerrera ferry (c) Duncan Hutt

The Ferry pulled away leaving one of us on the quay.  The small 12 person passenger capacity meant that with the crowds, of over 24, wishing to visit it had to make three journeys.  The two of us were reunited after the second.  We set off over the track towards the west leaving everyone behind, ahead blue seas with Lismore and Mull stretched behind, a couple of red white and black ferries crossed on route to Mull and back.

IMG_8123 Barnabuck DJH sml
Barnabuck with Mull behind (c) Duncan Hutt
P1060799 Lobaria pulmonaria on Sycamore (2)
Tree lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria) on Sycamore (c) Sally Hutt

The road turned into a track and passed cliff and bog before dropping to Barnabuck, a remote house in a quiet bay. Here large sycamore trees pointed to a long ago need for some shelter from the westerly winds; today the sturdy trunks were home to large leafy lichens not normally associated with this introduced tree.  From here the track grew rougher before funnelling us down to the southern shore where a triangle of solid rock, the remains of a volcanic dyke, stood incongruously in green pasture.  Here we met our first people since the ferry, all doing our walk in reverse.

IMG_8127 Rock Dyke DJH sml
A section of rock dyke emerges from the ground (c) Duncan Hutt

Around a corner or two and, where a family of wrens fed in the bracken, we got our first view of Gylen Castle which along with the tearoom seems to provide the two main tourist hotspots on this small island.  The remains of the castle are impressive, sitting high up on a precipitous headland.  The people weren’t a problem but the small drone that was being flown above was somewhat annoying and a little intrusive.

IMG_8157 (2)
Gylen Castle (c) Duncan Hutt

The castle seems to have had a rather short life.  Also known as Duncan Castle it was built in 1582 by Duncan MacDougall of Dunollie.  It was sieged in 1647 which resulted in the massacre of those who surrendered.  The castle fared no better and was ransacked and burned and has not been lived in since.

Along with everyone else we had a stop at the tearoom, sitting in a warm and sunny garden making the most of the sunshine while it lasted.  The path back up the western shore took in views to the mainland and the near constant activity of the little ferry was visible to the north.  A couple of feral goats foraged on the shoreline and a few butterflies foraged in the gardens of coastal houses.  Wise to the ferry rules we managed to remain together for the return run and gave a fellow passenger a well needed lift back to Oban.

IMG_8162 (2)
Feral goat (c) Duncan Hutt

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