…and it’s goodbye to care!

An Cladach 2-1There’s a popular car sticker I’ve seen around on Islay and occasionally in Glasgow too, which reads ‘ Islay …and it’s Goodbye to Care! The last bit is from ‘Westering Home’ – a traditional song about how grand it is to be on (or ‘nearer to’) Islay. This sentiment certainly chimes with my experience of visiting the Queen of the Hebrides, as the island is sometimes known. The weekend just past we popped over to Islay on the Calmac ferry for a couple of days walking and some pottering around at the sublime An Cladach bothy on the Sound of Islay. Here’s a few pics:

Sgorr nam Faoilean 1-1Sgorr nam Faoilean 4-1

Bheinn Bheigier 1-1

An Cladach 6-1An Cladach 8-1The weekend saw the continuation of some very welcome late-autumn sunshine and warm temperatures, which helped to make our wee trip feel like a proper holiday. The evenings were cold though and the still, starry nights were alive with the belling of hormonal stags, it being the rut just now. A stag or two would start up in Gleann Ghaireasdail just beyond the bothy and their counterparts would respond from Jura just a mile or so away across the sound. On Monday morning there came another sound across the water – mechanical diggers and trucks at work, clearing the land at Ardfin, doing the groundwork for the selfish giant’s new golf course.

Anyway, we had a grand couple of days and so did Dougal Mor who was looking especially dapper in his new rucksack.

An Cladach 9-1

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16 responses

    • Hello PSBurton

      Planning permission was granted in May: http://publicaccess.argyll-bute.gov.uk/publicaccess/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MWI92BCH06C00

      The golf course may bring economic benefits to the island. Apparently the planned course will be sensitive to the environment. Apparently many people living on Jura are happy about Mr Coffey and his money coming to Jura. That’s up to them. Personally I have a profound dislike of obscenely wealthy absentee landlords treating the country like an adventure playground and buying off local opinion with village hall renovation largesse. But hey, I live in Glasgow so what’s it to me?

      • I realise that the island has to be economically viable and the golf course will bring jobs and income, but I do wish it wasn’t happening. I dislike the idea of landscaping Jura, and of having fleets of fat-bottomed businessmen bused in to play their game and then dominate the bar afterwards talking pish. I hope they have their own clubhouse and the impact on the island as a whole is de minimis. In an ideal world Coffey would keep the course as a private plaything for him and his friends, but I imagine opening it up to the paying public was a condition of planning consent.

        On the plus side, at least it is in the south east corner which has always been the “busiest” part of Jura. Everything north of Craighouse remains as it was, and long may that continue.

  1. If the course is open to the public then this will generate more revenue for the island. If it remains private it will minimise the impact of ‘high net worth individuals’ wandering about the place. However, as you say, that impact is limited to one area of the island. I take some comfort in the thought that Mr Coffey’s wee fiefdom, golf course and all, will all be landscaped into oblivion when the glaciers come creeping back…

  2. Lucky with the weather there sir. We camped near the lorry work – what a noise. Hate golf at the best of times. I was told that the contract work uses no island people – there is a whole infrastructure of accommodation huts for the workforce down at the harbour. Nice dog sac indeed.

  3. I love catching up with your travels; our paths criss-cross, although you seem to spend more time out and about than I do. I’m sure we will meet in some wild place somewhere…

    In August 2012 we spent two stunning days at An Cladach as part of a week on Islay. I hung the prayer flags outside the bothy which look great in your photograph looking wind-torn and threadbare.

  4. Love your posts, always look forward to a new one. Spent a week in Islay back in August 2012 and stayed at An Cladach for 2 glorious days.

    I provided the prayer flags to the front of the bothy and it is wonderful to see them looking so wind torn and threadbare in your photograph.

    I don’t doubt that we’ll meet in some remote bothy sometime. A friend and I are working our way through them.

    • Hey Chris

      Thanks very much for your kind words. I like the alternate comments, it’s a bit like reading a Lionel Shriver novel! The flags were a great addition, I’ve visited An Cladach several times since you put them up and I must have got to thinking that they’ve pretty much always been there. But hey-ho, I had a look at some pics of the bothy from just a few years ago and of course there are no prayer flags but there is a splendid arrangement of buoys and floats instead… If we do bump into each other in a bothy it will likely be on a Hebridean island – I’m such a creature of habit!

  5. It’s a lovely spot is An Cladddach. Need to treat Reuben to a visit one day. Dougal has turned out to be a strapping lad, lost that puppy look now as he gets a bit older. Reub’s is sadly looking a bit grey around the chops these days.

  6. There’s only three ‘d’s in An Cladddddddddach… I’m sure Reuben would love it, lots of interesting smells and lively wildlife. Dougal has become a ‘strapping lad’ indeed, still capable of pulling a puppyish look off when to his advantage and those enormous paws still make him look as if he’s got some growing to do even though he’s weighing in at 38kg these days – half my body weight!

    • Balderdash! The dog LOVES his backpack, it gives him a sense of purpose and keeps his moral compass on course. Besides, if you were going backpacking with a 38 kilo Labrador who required 5 kilos of food, a blanket and a coat would you carry it for him?

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