Hebrides: Islands 2 & 3 of 51 – Danna & Eilean da Mheinn

Danna: Population 1 (in 2011), Inner Hebrides, Islay group
Eilean da Mheinn: Population 1 (in 2011), Inner Hebrides, Islay group

location-map

I’ve included these two islands in one blog as they have much in common and are relatively close to each other, so it was possible to visit and photograph them both in the same morning.

The day began with a drive from my hotel through the wonderful Kilmartin Glen then turning off the main road at the B8025 past some impressive standing stones and on towards Crinan on the west coast.  Shortly after the road crosses the Crinan canal, I took the single track road towards Tayvallich.  I’d never visited Tayvallich before and I regret now that I didn’t stop to take some photographs.  It’s a lovely little village and the little bay and picturesque cottages would have made for a lovely set of images.  Perhaps a location for another time?

From Tayvallich the already narrow road narrows further as it winds it’s way south towards the tip of the peninsula alongside the waters of Linne Mhuirrich. Eventually a narrow road heads off to the left signposted “Danna”

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From this junction the road swings around the head of the loch then passes a farmhouse and finally an old boarded up cottage with spectacular views out over Loch na Cille towards the islands of Islay and Jura. (two islands I’m very much looking forward to visiting on this tour).

Danna is a tidal island; it is separated from the main peninsula at high tide, but it’s possible to walk across to the island at low tide, albeit through some distinctly marshy looking ground.
The construction of a causeway means it’s now also possible to drive over to the island, but, as it’s privately owned, the trip comes to an abrupt stop almost as soon as you arrive on the island.

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It was low tide when I visited and if it hadn’t been for the causeway and the rather marshy area to the left of the above image I probably wouldn’t have realised I’d crossed over onto the island! (The above image is taken looking over the causeway back to the mainland.  Loch Sween is in the background)

From the causeway it’s possible to see the main house on the island, which looks like it enjoys a beautiful viewpoint looking west out over the loch and beyond.  I can imagine that the sunsets must be spectacular from that house!

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I retraced my route back to the junction, but, before heading north again I decided to take a small detour south to Keills Chapel, a medieval chapel which sits opposite Danna above the shores of Loch na Cille.  The chapel contains many fine examples of medieval carved stone slabs and a particularly impressive carved Celtic Cross which is believed to date back as far as the 8th century.

The cross, which once stood just above the chapel on the exposed hill, has been moved inside the chapel to protect it from the elements, but, a modern replica stands where the original once did.

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After exploring the chapel I headed back to the car and the drive north along the single track road back through Tayvallich and onwards to the main road to Crinan.
Turning left here it was a short drive to Crinan and the second island of the day…

Eilean da Mheinn (“island of two mines”) is a small inhabited isle in the old harbour of Crinan.  I must confess, I’ve visited Crinan many times in the past but today was the first time I’d even realised there was an Old Harbour!

Described as an inhabited island, less than 100m from the shore with no anchorage, ferry connection or public access, this was my first disappointment of the trip.
To stand on the shore and gaze out towards the island which, at low tide seemed close enough to touch was frustrating.

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The island is in a nice part of the world, and whoever owns it is very lucky!
If anyone knows the owner and can arrange access for me so that I could complete this project I’d be extremely grateful 🙂

With the day-job calling (literally) I had just enough time to visit the Isle of Seil near Oban to location scout ahead of my next batch of islands, the “Slate Islands” of Seil, Luing and Easdale.

So, to summarize, 3 islands visited (technically 4 if you include my brief visit to Seil), only another 48 islands to go!!

I hope you’re enjoying the blogs as much as I’m enjoying writing them! 🙂

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