The Whisky Tasting Club

Day 3 Two walks

So monday started overcast. In the morning we walked from Ballygrant to Caol Ila and in the afternoon around Ardnave.

Ballygrant to Caol Ila  is a pleasant wood walk past a couple of lochs. From Bridgend, head off on the Askaig road until Ballygrant. Take the first right in the village up Mulindry Drive. There was parking near the top of the hill. After parking continue walking along Mulindry Drive and take the first left up an estate road. Keeping the woods on your left, continue up the hill and take the second entrance to the Dunlossit Estate. It is a gated track into woods. Walk along the drive through the woods until you come to the Ballygrant loch at the sluice gate. Continue along the western shores of the loch and past the track to Loch nan Cadhan. Appparently you can reach Loch Allan by a short track to the right of the main track at the red bridge, but we missed it.

The path arrives at the Lily Loch, which is very pretty. The lilies were not out, but you could imagine it would be spectacular if they were. The track runs round the lily loch and then uphill for a short distance until you reach a gate for the land of Dunlossit Castle (I think there was a path at lily loch back up to the main road, which would have been faster for Caol Ila, although the main route is scenic and allows a view of Port Askaig) 

The track winds through the estate, which is more a park than the woods. There is a signpost for a garden, but it was being renovated when we were there. You go past the impressive stately house, up the drive and gate house which brings you back to the main road. You are then 100 yards from the Caol Ila turn off. It took us about 1 1/2 hours, no special footware needed.

In the afternoon we drove up to Ardnave. Ardnave is the hidden gem of islay, it doesnt seem to get mentioned (its not in our walks book) but it is in our opinion the most attractive part of the whole island. To get to Ardnave take the first right on the road from Bridgend to Bruichladdich. This is a rough road that winds through farm land, you may see some highland cattle. The first right goes to Killinallan up the east side of Loch Gruinart. Be warned this is a rough road.

Its nice enough, but we think Ardnave is better, so dont take the turn to  Killinallan, instead continue and take the next right to Ardnave. There is a RSBP nature reserve here, we havent been but it looks nice. Continue up the road for a few miles until you reach the Ardnave car park. There is a walk around ardnave point, there is a map there. We were completely knackered and instead just went for a walk on the beaches on the east side. Its lovely, you have cornish type rocky beaches, Norfolk-esq wide open spaces and big dunes. We absolutely love it there, especially in the sunshine.

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