– A Walk – Further Explorations

This past week was the fifth anniversary of our moving to Tiree.
Surprisingly there are still areas of the island we are yet to explore.
However on Saturday afternoon we walked over terrain that was new to us.

The view from Brock across Gott Bay to the pier

The main walk is described in the publication ’Tiree Walks’
It is one of ’Twelve walks through an island landscape’.
It is entitled ‘Brock Southern Circuit via Milton’.
Or ‘Cuairt a’ Bhroic taobh Mhilton’.

The publication is available from Tiree Community Business and the Tiree Ranger

We set out from the car park at Brock.
We deviated slightly from the guide book.
We choose to walk along a short stretch of Gott Bay.
From there we picked up the path beside the traditional felt-roof houses.

The Cottars’  Cottages at Brock

To our left, close to the shore, were the former cottars’ cottages.
There are two folk accounts for the derivation of the name Brock.
However, according to Dr. John Holliday, the name most likely has a norse origin.

Sheep leading the way through the track in Ruaig Township

Brock is a sub-township of the larger crofting township of Ruaig.
Much of our walk, both out and back, was through Ruaig.
Outbound much of the walk was close to the shore.

An attractive garden passed along the way

Two of the gardens we passed in Ruaig were much commented on.
The skill and efforts of the gardeners was greatly appreciated.
The gardens spoke the gardens love of gardening.

Nature’s Own Garden

Along the way we came across several ’standing stones’.
Perhaps the most dominant was at the start of a raised grassy bank.
Without digging down we felt this feature was probably a natural pebble bank.

A prominent standing stone acting as a way marker on our walk

No matter where we were on our walk we could see Tilley.
The turbine generates electricity and finance for the island.
The turbine is owned and operated by Tiree Renewable Energy Limited.
All surplus revenue is donated to finance community projects through the Windfall Fund.

Tilley the island’s turbine and in the foreground Loch Cul a’ Phuirt

This was certainly the best part of the day.
It was so calm and mild that the midges were out.
The views across the Passage of Tiree were so clear.

Ben More on the Isle of Mull and in front the Treshnish Isles

Across the water the dominant feature was Ben More on the Isle of Mull.
However there was one peak after another – and even on the mainland.
Closer to hand were seals sun-bathing on the rocks.

Dun Mor a Chaolais

We made the decision to deviate from the prescribed route.
We wanted to climb to the top of Dun Mor a Chaolais.
It is not particularly high but it was interesting.

This is the site of a historic broch.
Dùns or brochs built about 1400 years ago.
Unlike the broch at Vaul this has not been excavated.
The Isle of Tiree has many historic sites waiting further investigation.

The cairn on top of Dun Mor a Chaolais

Today a cairn sits on top of the ancient site.
Not far away is something rather more modern.
Scottish Water have an installation near the top of the hill.

The redundant trig point on Dun Mor a Chaolais

This lofty vantage point has views right round the compass.
To those who constructed the broch this was important.
From a long way off they could see seaborne enemies.
For most of us this was the highlight of our walk.
We could even see the Outer Hebrides.

A view that encompasses Ben Hynish, Kenavara , Ben Hough and a dramatic cloud scene

It was hard to tear ourselves away from Dun Mor a Chaolais.
But descend to Milton and its harbour was a must.
There we picked up the path once again.

Milton – a working island harbour

There are plans and funding to restore and upgrade the harbour.
This facility is a vital part of the island’s economy.
A number of boats fish out of Milton.

From Milton to Coll View, Caolas

From Milton harbour our walk was along the road to Coll View.
It was a reminder we live in an important crofting community.
As we walked and talked we identified the various homes.

Looking across the Gunna Sound – The Isle of Rum in the background

We looked out on the blue waters of the Gunna Sound.
Dun Mor, Gunna Sound and Skippinish are names on our walk.
And all are names of bands that have their musical roots on Tiree.

A busy afternoon baling

At Coll View we reached the road that runs from Caolas to Ruaig and onwards.
Again there was a powerful reminder that this is very much a crofting community.
A baler and tractors were busy in the fields.

Across the Minch the Outer Hebrides and a bulk carrier

The Outer Hebrides were still visible.
Out in the Minch we saw a large ship heading north.
It was the bulk carrier CP Shenzhen sailing from Liverpool to Gdansk.

A flock of birds disturbed by something close by

You could say that animals were a feature of the latter stage of our walk.
First of all there was request to photograph some attractive cows.
There there were urgent cries to watch out for the bull.

After that came the pigs.
Thankfully it was beef for our evening meal.
Then we met the two very friendly donkeys in the field.

Next the Ruaig farm collie came to greet us.
He wanted to escort us part of the way to our waiting car..
In the reaction of the sheep you could see his and their instincts.
Finally a friendly but blind cat wanted to make our acquaintance.

What a great afternoon’s walk.
What a great place to live and work.
What grand company we enjoyed on our walk.

Tilley and Standing Stone – Ancient or Modern?

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

It was a walk that took us back to ancient times.
And it was a walk that reminded us that this is a living working island.

Just some more of the wonderful sights on our walk in the sunshine.

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