Sunday, 1 November 2015

Bourblaige Circuit

The first day of November brought us a glorious sunrise - this was the view from the back of our house at 7.15 - and a promising weather forecast, so we had an early breakfast and headed for the hills.

The walk we chose is one we have done many times before but it remains one of our favourites. It's one of the most scenic, there is always wildlife to be seen, and it's also one that few other people seem to follow.

We parked the car at the sharp turn between the Basin and the section of road that runs along the hillside above Camas nan Geall, and walked....

....along the lumpy ridge that runs to the east of Bourblaige. This area may be deserted today but for hundreds of years it supported a considerable population. All along this section there are the ruins of shieling houses, abandoned fields, and the old stone walls that separated them - like the one at bottom left of the picture - wind their way across the landscape.

Following the ridge brought us down to the sea, to the series of deserted shingle beaches that face out onto the Sound of Mull. We followed these beaches westwards towards Maclean's Nose....

....until we came to the two ruined houses which stand right on the beach, where we sat on rocks which had once formed one of their their doorways and had coffee. In the past we've always assumed these were the dwellings of fishermen, and associated with Bourblaige, but the occupation of their inhabitants may have been kelp burning, though there is no sign of one of the pits used for the process.

Behind this beach the hill rises steeply, and by climbing it we enjoyed distant views eastwards up Loch Sunart. The promontory in the middle distance is Ardslignish, with Camas nan Geall occupying the shadowed area on this side of it. In the right distance is the island of Oronsay, and the peak in the left distance is Beinn Resipol.

We headed back towards the car by following the wide ledge of land that traverses the southeastern slope of Ben Hiant, and gives one views straight down onto the ruins of the clachan of Bourblaige, cleared of its people in 1828.

A small herd of deer, a mixture of hinds and stags, must have been feeding in the area around the ruined houses during the night as they passed in front of us, climbing the hill towards bowl of land between Ben Hiant and Stellachan Dubha where deer are often to be found....

....leaving us to make our way back to the Basin and the car.

Satellite view courtesy Bing Maps.
The walk takes about three hours.


  1. Wonderful photos.
    However, my comment has nothing to do with this entry but I refer to 7 August 'Ships in the Sound'. I sent the link to a Norwegian friend and this was his response. I just thought it might interest you.
    "Anna af Sand is kind of ship they built a lot of in this area, and still when I was a boy and a young man there was many of them. In fact when I was about 15 years old I was a crew member onboard in one called Solo. The ship Roald Amundsen sailed through the North West passage with, Gjøa was that kind of ship built in Rosendal not far from here. In Norwegian we called this kind of ship “jakt” if they are so small that they only got one mast, “galleas” if they are so big that they got two. There are few again of this. I think one of the finest is Mathilde from Nordheimsund in Hardanger."

  2. Many thanks for this, Gillean. Jon