Winter is often a great time for watching waves coming in from the Atlantic Ocean and there is probably no better place on Islay to do so than on the south-western tip of the island, at Port Wemyss and Portnahaven. The latter is particularly interesting around Claddach, the part between Portnahaven and the Currie Sands, close to where the Wavegen Power Station used to be. The Power Station is dismantled but it remains a fabulous place to watch sunsets, and most of all waves. Today was such a day, wall to wall sunshine and a rather turbulent sea at times. The waves sounded like thunder when they crashed on the rocks.
The weather has been quite settled this last week with northerly winds, clouds, sunny spells and hardly any rain. From a photographers point of view it has certainly become more interesting as the light has become a lot better. August hasn’t been all that great, lightwise that is, probably due to a constant southerly to westerly wind which was responsible for hazy conditions and rather flat light. Work brought me to Portnahaven this morning, always great to be there. And as you can see the light was lovely with sunny spells in between rather dark clouds. The moody atmosphere reminded me of winter which isn’t far away now.
Spring has advanced and now that the Bluebells stopped flowering many other flowers on Islay, with a boost from the recent sunshine and warmer weather, have taken over. Where winter saw a carpet of brown dead leaves on the forest floor, now it’s an abundant display of flowers in yellows, whites, purples and pinks. Also the cotton grass is out on the wetter parts of the moorland, dancing happily in the spring wind. This is a fabulous time of the year on Islay!
The Sanaigmore Cliffs can be seen from many parts of Islay and climbing one of them was always on my “To Do List”. As the weather was amazing today, blue skies, nice temperatures and a light northerly breeze, we decided it was ideal for a walk. So we went to go Sanaigmore and this time not to walk on the beautiful beach but to climb one of the impressive Sanaigmore cliffs. The walk up there is pretty straight forward. You basically follow the impressive shoreline to the west until you reach a beautiful and very secluded beach. There you’ll head back south to round the bay and then back west straight up the cliff. We did the second one from the right, which is 98 metres above sea level. The views from up there are quite stunning and you can see from Mull and Colonsay on a clear day and much of the northern part of Islay. The entire walk, from Sanaigmore to the top of the cliff and back, was not more than two hours. This time of year walking is rather good as the bracken is still very small, this will change when summer progresses. Next time we’ll […]
Today was the first day of 2015 that Foreland House opened its doors to the public. Foreland House has two beautiful gardens, The House Garden and the Walled Garden. Both garden are perfectly maintained and are a joy to visit. Despite the rather cold spring there was quite some colour in the gardens. In the next week there will be a few more open Sunday afternoons so look out for the signs at the corner of the Kilchoman Road.
The lambing season is almost over and some of the fields on Islay are filled with sheep and their offspring. You can see the white wee dots sometimes laying in the grass or they are teamed up with their pals and run around the fields and do their funny stuff. Usually the lambs are quite afraid and quickly run towards their mother when you approach them. Sometimes though their curiosity wins over their fear and you can come really close. Today I had such a moment where a few black and white lambs were very curious and posed happily in front of my camera.
One of the many pleasures of living by the sea is the presence of lighthouses. Already as a wee boy I was fascinated by the lighthouse in a nearby coastal village and the admiration for these guides in the night has remained my entire life. Little did I know back then that I would be living next to a lighthouse on Islay later on in life. During our time in Portnahaven the lighthouse was a comforting companion during the dark and windy nights when its light flashed every few seconds and lit the dark bedroom. With only 13 metres the Loch Indaal lighthouse near Port Charlotte is a great deal smaller than the Rhinns Lighthouse on Orsay island but it still is a respectable lighthouse, Its light however does not reach our bedroom. Loch Indaal lighthouse was built by the Stevenson brothers just as a few other lighthouses on Islay and it flashes every 7 seconds, white or red, depending on the direction. The Loch Indaal lighthouse is an automated light and serviced by the Northern Lighthouse Board. This lighthouse, same as many others, is pure white and set against the sometimes dark blue skies it’s a great building to […]
We are blessed with an exceptional spell of glorious weather. With blue skies and a light breeze we headed to Ardnave today to enjoy the stunning nature and relax on the many beaches and dunes. Over the course of the entire day we have seen pretty much every rock, dune and beach on Ardnave as we walked all over the place. We had our lunch on one of the high dunes at Ardnave Point, basking in sunshine, while Skylarks and the gentle sound of the waves provided the perfect musical background. BLISS! On days like this Islay is paradise and while the island is quite busy at the moment we have only seen four people during the entire walk. Nice sightings were a Peacock Butterfly, dozens of seals on Nave Island and a group of 10 Chough over the dunes.
After the long, wet and cold winter we really needed a warm and sunny day and fortunately Easter Sunday was just the day we were waiting for. It started off misty, especially in the central part of the island, but further west it was much brighter and sunnier. I always say it’s best in the west and in spring and early summer the west of Islay tends to be sunnier than the eastern part. Anyway, we left misty Port Charlotte and headed to Kilchoman beach which was bathing in sunshine. It felt like spring, almost summer, and we stayed there for hours to enjoy the warm sunshine, to listen to the waves and the birds, play in the sand (my daughter) and to take a great series of pictures. Please enjoy them, this is our Easter present for you!
A welcome landmark when you arrive by ferry in Port Ellen Islay is the beautiful Carraig Fhada lighthouse. It has a unique design and consists of two attached square towers. The Carraig Fhada lighthouse was commissioned by Walter Frederick Campbell in 1832 to commemorate Lady Ellenor Campbell to whom the village of Port Ellen across the bay was named after as well. The pictures in the rotating gallery were taken on a very quiet morning in April when the sun was trying it’s best to burn away the clouds. It did not succeed but the soft light through the milky clouds was breathtaking.
The beach at Kilchoman is without a doubt one of the nicest beaches on Islay and over the course of the winter we have been there many many times, and we have also seen the bay and dunes from the radio station. Each time we were at Kilchoman Beach the light was different and every time it was special, even on a rainy day. Last week however the light was even more amazing. There was bright sunshine in between dark clouds and because it was later in the afternoon there was a lot of yellow in the light which reflected on the dunes, the sand and the reeds in front of the coastguard cottages. It created beautiful views of one of our favourite beaches on Islay. Below a rotating gallery with some pictures of Kilchoman Beach and the Dunes.
Living near the sea offers magical moments and is a treat for the senses. The constantly changing light over Loch Indaal is stunning at times, the sunrises can be amazing and occasionally there are dolphins playing. All this can be observed from our living room. Another pleasant view are the fishing boats passing by, always in different light. Today the CN357 was fishing quite close to the shore and with the beautiful light in between the showers it was a very picturesque view.
A couple of years ago I would never have dared to post pictures on my Islay Gallery website or Islay Info website taken with a smartphone. The quality of the cameras inside the smartphones back then was rather poor. Nowadays cameras inside smartphones are of a much better quality and this results in more and more smartphones replacing the small point and shoot cameras.
Today was an exceptional day on Islay, it was incredibly clear with lots of sunshine and very pleasant temperatures. A lovely spring day and the winter storms and gales have already been long forgotten, such is life I guess. Due to the clear conditions I took the 400mm tele lens out and shot some distant Islay views, both from the Sanaigmore Road and across the loch, that is from Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte looking over Loch Indaal towards the central part of Islay. With some more clouds in the afternoon the patches of dark and light were nicely spread over the hills and rocks which resulted in a nice atmosphere. The gallery below has pictures all shot at 400mm and all of them are taken today. If you look closely you can identify three Islay Distilleries – Kilchoman – Bowmore and Gartbreck.