At Claggan Bay a merry notice reads. 'Chasing cows will be our fate if you do not close this gate.' We hear of otters seen for a couple of hours last evening. Our route is poached by cattle, with ruts from stalkers’ vehicles deep in water. A pasture of cows, calves and bull heading for our ‘ footbridge over a small burn.’ Can see only a deep pool of cattle poaching through which the herd goes splashing.
Walks on the inner Hebrides may be short but arduous, with bracken at its highest in July. Tussocks in waterlogged ground, a lurch. Knee-high, thigh-high heather. Rushes with uncertain footing. This soft rough is what Iike.
Kilbride Cross is set in a mown field where sheep are grazing and swallows feed low about us. Kildalton Cross Kil means church. 12th/13th century church.
Finlaggan where we arrive as they are mopping the floor at the visitors’ centre, and closing. But they invite us to explore outdooes.
I try to imagine Eilean Mor humming with activity, a power base for the Lords of the Isles, a place of ritual with installation ceremonies for new lords, descendants of Somerled. In the late afternoon we are alone on Eilean Mor. The Paps of Jura rise beyond the ruins of the chapel as dark clouds lour and sunlight gleams off the loch and casts a wonderful light upon the scene. The grass is mown about the ruins but the loch is bordered thick with flowers: sneezewort, orchids, water avens, marsh valerian, meadowsweet and purple loosestrife.