Sunday 29 May 2016

Isle of Seil

Having ridden around the West of Scotland for over 40 years it can be hard to find somewhere new to go locally. But studying the map I found the Isle of Seil near the Highland town of Oban. It is an island, but only just. It is separated from the mainland by a narrow strip of water that looks like a river.

Seil is connected to the mainland by the Clachan Bridge. I've featured this in the past but it looked different today…..
…that is because the flowers that grow on the bridge were in bloom.
They are fairy foxgloves (or alpine balsam), native to Central & Southern Europe.
I continued into the island where (I'm sure) I've never been before. At Cuan there is a tiny ferry to the island of Luing
Derelict farmhouse in Cuan
At Ellenabeich there is a unusual and artificial-looking landscape.
The beach shows why - it's made of slate. It was quarried here from the 17th until the late 19th century. 
A slate from the beach and I've found gold! Or, given the cubic shape of the crystals, iron pyrite.
The industry, in Ellenabeich, came to an end in 1881 when a storm flooded the quarry. It had been dug to a depth of 80 metres leaving only a thin rim to keep the sea out. The storm caused the rim to collapse and allowed flooding. The houses here are at the edge of the quarry. Quarrying continued for a time on the adjacent small island of Easdale.
The FJ in the village
Slate workers cottages
The flooded quarries can be seen in an aerial view
The things you come across!
The ruined pier and the Isle of Easdale beyond
The quarries on Easdale can be seen here (looking like volcanos)

My next excursion into the unknown was along the road on the north side of Loch Melford.

The road became very narrow and winding - luckily I didn't meet any vehicles.

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