Guest Walks


A walk on the wild side by Allen Holmes

Carsaig to Loch Buie, Isle of Mull

As a wildlife photographer I am always searching for that ultimate wildlife walk, a walk that offers up some fantastic photo opportunities. During my stay on the Isle of Mull I may have found one of the best. Carsaig on the Ross of Mull already boasts one of the best walks on Mull. Carsaig to Carsaig Arches and this was going to be the walk I was going to write about today. The Carsaig Arches walk is quite difficult at the best of times, but alas recent landslides had made it even more tricky.

So I decided to head in the opposite direction instead. Carsaig is a tiny settlement and is the start point of the walk. The approach road to Carsaig is an adventure itself, it’s steep and winding with very few passing places. Along the route there are waterfalls, I also saw Buzzards, Deer, Mountain Hare, Short Eared Owls and a Cuckoo by the road during my stay at Carsaig.



There is space to park a few cars at Carsaig Pier, but parking is at a premium. Arrive early to avoid disappointment and please don’t block any access points!

A track heads off towards two holiday cottages, take the footpath past “The Library”. Pass through a small area of woodland and you will reach a grassy area. This area is boggy and the carnivorous Sundew can be seen. I also saw a small herd of Wild Feral Goats here.



Pass through a few more trees and let the views open up! Take time out to admire them in all directions.






This walk boasts some excellent geological interest. Basalt columns give clues as to Scotland’s volcanic past.



Caves and waterfalls line the route.



A sea stack “An Dun” (the fort) will soon come into view. This too has basalt columns and a small cave with a makeshift bench, should you need to take temporary shelter from the elements.



This walk is about exploring the natural heritage of Mull, it has something of everything. Around the Sea stack, there are lots of rock pools. Above the tide line they are alive with fresh water invertebrates. Amphibians breed here. Toad tadpoles, toadlets, Froglets and Smooth Newts were spotted all along the route.



Wildflowers are abound, with both bog and dry grassland represented along the way.



Look out for Orchids, I found a rare Lapland Marsh Orchid. Other interesting plants like the delightfully named Grass of Parnassus occur here.




And don’t forget the huge array of insect life. There are many species of Butterfly here including the Dark Green Fritillary.



Dragonflies are represented too. Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Keeled Skimmer.




The route now is sort of self explanatory. The Sea is on one side with cliffs on the other. There is a rough path or you may choose your own. Do look out for wildlife, Red deer may be seen on the hills.  A  pair of Eagles patrol the top of the cliffs in this area, there are also Buzzards and Ravens, you may be lucky and spot a Peregrine. Adders too, make their home here, so watch your step.

And if that isn’t enough, keep an eye on the sea, lots of  Seabirds pass through here. Gannets, Divers, Black Guillemots and Common Gulls amongst the many.



Aquatic Mammals also occur, I saw two Otters fishing just off the rocks.

Best of all this is a good spot for Dolphins, with maybe the chance of a Minke Whale. I was lucky to see a large pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins enter Loch Buie.




I sat on a rock at the mouth of the Loch and awaited their return. My patience was rewarded when they left the loch, passing just below me.



I walked to the mouth of loch Buie and returned by the same route, a distance of around 6miles. You can walk to the car park at the opposite end of the Loch in Lochbuie itself. This is a distance of just over 5 miles from Carsaig, but please bare in mind there are rocks to climb. (a rope is there to aid you) and the path may be impassable during high tide.

There is little or no public transport on Mull so an option is to have a car waiting for you.

Good footwear is advised on this route and although the route is mostly level, underfoot varies greatly. There are lots of loose pebbles and rocks and where there isn’t a rock there’s a bog. The grassy areas feel like carpet after all this. Although it is very boggy in places I would still advise good walking boots over wellies, as good ankle support is required, just hope that they’re waterproof.

All of the photographs used to illustrate this walk were taken on this walk.



Thanks to Allen Holmes for a cracking walk review. Allen's photo album  can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/allenholmes2012/ and is well worth a look.