Walk of the Week – Luing Island Circular
The Isle of Luing is one of the Scottish slate islands that lie scattered in the Firth of Lorne a few miles south of Oban. Largely unknown, the beautiful and unspoilt island was visited by relatively few people, but that has changed with the opening of the new Atlantic Islands Centre in the village of Cullipool.
Catch the ferry from North Cuan on Isle of Seil – you will cross the Bridge over the Atlantic first!
Turn right past the ferry waiting room and follow the track along the coast until you reach a gate. Go through the gate and follow the faint path hugging the coastline.
Walk past the tiny lochan until you reach an old slate ruin by the sea with the remnants of slate littering the ground around. On your left will be the old quarry works and ahead you’ll see the white cottages of Easdale and Ellenabeich. Walk on past another ruin and pick up the faint track to the bay at Port Mary. Ignore the modern farm track heading southeast inland and stick to the grassy coastline beneath the escarpment.
Cross the stile at the left edge of the stone dyke, beneath the cliff – reaching it involves crossing some wet ground then head diagonally back to the coastline. The space between the cliffs and the sea narrows and soon an area is reached where the old quarry route around the coast has collapsed into the sea. Care is needed here to descend the broken rocks and cross the boulders before climbing back up to the grassy track beneath the cliff. The route now continues more easily to Cullipool past more disused quarries; there are good views across to Scarba and the Garvellachs as well as the southern end of Mull.
Cullipool was once home to the slate workers and they used to ship Easdale slate to all corners of the globe on boats from the small pier beyond. Today it’s a picturesque gathering of rows of single-storey whitewashed cottages with a fine location overlooking the Sound of Lorn; protected as a conservation village.
Turn right by the telephone box to follow the road out of the village, continuing round the coast before heading inland past the island’s shop.
Follow the road to reach a t-junction by the fire station. Turn left here to follow the road back towards the ferry pier. After cresting a small hill there are good views over to the right over the Isle of Torsa. Continue on the road back down to the pier, from where the ferry will take you back to North Cuan
For the full details of the walk check out Walk Highlands.
For details on ferries and ferry times from Cuan to Luing check Calmac.