Seil is barely an island, Clachan Sound which separates it from the mainland is very narrow and the famous Bridge over the Atlantic – by virtue that it’s a bridge over the sea and thus connected to the Atlantic – is impressively tall if not particularly long. The bridge is correctly called the Clachan Bridge and was designed by Thomas Telford and constructed in the 1790s. It was one of his earlier bridges, later and somewhat larger ones of his include the Menai Suspension Bridge and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. The short bridge crossing makes Seil seem little more than a peninsula on the mainland but geographically it counts as an island.
We probably didn’t do Seil justice, largely using it as a means to other islands. However, the climb of Dun Mor near the slate mining village of Ellanbeich, while only 106m, was a more serious undertaking than it might have seemed. It’s a precipitous hill with no apparent easy route up, all take a steep, grassy and exposed way to the top, and more trickily the same option for the downward leg – not a hill to do in the wet. The views from the summit were well worth the climb however, with Ellanbeich below and the tiny island of Easdale spread out below. Further away Luing and the islands leading to Scalpay lay to the south while Insh and Mull dominated the western vista.
Ellanbeich was our set off point for Easdale and later we stopped at Cuan as our means to Luing and Torsa. Our old lifeboat accommodation at Cuan was an unusual place to stay with views out over the Cuan Sound, with its impressive tidal race, and the toing and froing of the Luing ferry. Here too we took an evening walk out along the coast towards Port nam Faoileann through patches of yellow bog asphodel and pink cross-leaved heath and in one corner a scattering of white stars of grass of Parnassus. We squelched our way through bog and up a sodden valley before finding a route out and back to the road near Ballachuan and thus back to our lifeboat.