Islay Guide 1863
Guide to the Highlands and Western Islands of Scotland, including Orkney and Zetland; George Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness; with maps and illustrations; 4th Edition; Adam and Charles Black pub; Edinburgh, 1863 - Pages 158 - 174
A regular steam-boat communication is now established, in summer, from West Loch Tarbert to Islay and Jura. The Glasgow and Islay steamer calls twice a week at Port Askaig. The steamer 'Islay' arrives at Islay from Glasgow, doubling the Mull of Cantyre, every Thursday, and sails from Port Askaig in Islay, on Friday, to West-Tarbert, returning to Bowmore, the capital of Islay, the same evening. Generally, too, this boat makes a second voyage to Port Askaig and Tarbert on Saturday. She leaves Glasgow, round the Mull of Cantyre, on Monday afternoon. On landing at East Tarbert, supposing the traveler proceeding from Loch Fyne, two comfortable inns will be found, situated in a picturesque, small, crowded village, built almost entirely on a naked or barren rock, and manifestly depending more on fishing and other marine resources than on any agricultural capabilities. In the neighbourhood to the eastward, is presented prominently to the stranger's eye, the interesting ruins of the Castle of Tarbert, built by Robert Bruce, the walls of which are still pretty entire, although large portions have fallen within the last few years; nor will he, on inquiry, be at a loss to have traditions respecting it rehearsed to him. The traveler bound for Islay leaves East Tarbert, and proceeds to West Tarbert, a distance of scarcely two miles, lying across the low isthmus connecting the peninsula of Cantyre with Knapdale, and which is said to have been formerly protected by two other castles similar to that at East Tarbert, one in the centre and another at the western extremity.
Magnus Barefoot, of Norway, is reported to have had in 1093, a formal cession made to him of the Western Isles, then already under his sway, by the Scottish monarch; and he is said, on that occasion, to have caused a galley to be transported with great pomp across the isthmus, that Cantyre might be brought within the letter of his treaty. At West Tarbert there is no village, but a pier or quay has been built for the accommodations of passengers, and the shipping of goods for the steam-packet. The sail down West Loch Tarbert, which is about ten miles in length, and bears all the appearance of a peaceful fresh-water lake, is a highly delightful one. Hills of moderate elevation slope gently from its waters, rich with woods and cultivated lands, and ornamented with numerous farm-houses and cottages, and handsome country seats and villas, presenting scenery peculiarly lively, picturesque, and diversified. The principal residences are Dippen Cottage, Stonefield House, Grassfield, Kilhammaig, and Kintarbet, on the east, and Escairt House, Dunmore, and Ardpatrick on the opposite side, almost all of which belong to families of the name of Campbell. About midway, on the west, near Stonefield, is the village of Laggavoulin and Whitehouse Inn, and towards the lower extremity the Clachan or Kirkton and church of Kilcalmonell and a little beyond, the hill of Dunscaith, on which are the traces of a vitrified fort. The sail across to Port Askaig, in Islay, is about twenty-three miles. On passing Ardpatrick Point, the appearance of the bleak, somber, heathy hills of Cantyre and Argyle is quite uninteresting, and the passenger will feel no reluctance in being carried away from the coast. In the views in front, the lofty conical mountains, called the Paps of Jura, form conspicuous objects, picturesque in the distance, but loosing their interest on a nearer approach. Jura, as the vessel draws nigh, continues, for the distance of some miles, in seaman's phrase, to be 'kept on board' off the starboard bow and quarter.
The Sound of Islay is in the centre about a mile in width, and is lined by abrupt but not very high cliffs. It is remarkable for the close correspondence of the opposing shores and the great rapidity of its tides, and the navigation if rather dangerous. On entering the Sound, a strong current is perceptible, which in a spring tide, if it happens to be adverse, with any considerable strength of wind also ahead, will impede very considerably even the power of steam, while the cross and short sea, raised by the current, may even create alarm to an indifferent sailor. The island of Islay now becoming 'tangible to sight', presents no very interesting or promising appearance. The coast seems bleak and bluff, without rising into the dignity of real hill or mountain, and presenting little else than the stunted and healthy vegetation of Alpine scenery. Here the eye is more relieved by the scene presenting in the offing of the Sound, which seems studded with a lively group of islands, being Colonsay with its smaller tributaries. The landing place of Port Askaig is soon made, where there is a secure haven and a good pier, and a tolerably comfortable and commodious inn greets the passengers' arrival. After the dreariness which threatened the stranger's approach, he is surprised, on landing at Port Askaig, to find himself at once nestled securely among well-grown trees and planting, the face of the hill above the inn, and some of the adjoining grounds, which rise abruptly from the sea, being well clad with wood.
Islay is about thirty miles long by twenty-four in extreme width. On the south it is deeply indented by an arm of the sea, called Loch-in-Daal, extending about twelve miles in length, and terminated by the Point of Rinns on the west, and on the east by the Moille of Keannouth, or Mull of Oe. This opening has no great depth of water, but is much resorted to by shipping. About midway, on the east side, Loch-in-Daal widens out greatly towards the Mull of Oe, which is opposite the Point of Rinns, forming a capacious bay called Laggan. Port Askaig is situated about the centre of a high tract of micaceous schist. From either extremity of this tract, a broad ridge of hills of quartz rocks extends southward; on the east, to the Mull of Oe, and on the west, to Loch Groinart, not reaching much further than the head of Loch-in-Daal. The northern central portion is composed of find limestone rock, disposed in rocky eminences or irregular undulations. An ample and fertile alluvial plain encompasses the upper portion of Loch-in-Daal from Laggan Bay, with the exception of a stripe of clay-slate, bordering the west side of the loch; and this level ground, which, where not cultivated, is covered with peat, extends in a broad belt, along the termination of the western hilly range, to that side of the island. The rest of the adjoining peninsula declines from the ridge of low hills which skirts the western coast, in fine arable slopes, to the shores of Loch-in-Daal. The northern and western hills are of moderate height and easy inclination, and are covered with heath, pasture, and fern. Those on the east are more elevated and rocky. There is a great variety of soil throughout the island, but it is generally fertile and well cultivated. Islay, of all the Hebrides, is beyond comparison, the richest in natural capabilities, and the most productive. Perhaps more than one-half of its whole surface might be advantageously reduced to regular tillage and cropping. The facilities for improvement are great; and in no portion, probably, of Scotland, have these advantages of late years been more successfully cultivated; and a steady pursuit of the course of improvement is still in progress in Islay. This island is celebrated for its breed and numbers of cattle and horses. It belonged chiefly to Mr. Campbell of Islay and Shawfield, but that estate is now the property of Mr. Morrison of Fonthill. The coast, especially about Portnahaven, abounds with fish.
To the north-west of Port Askaig, lead-mines were at one time wrought, and with success. The ore is said to have been unusually fine, and the late proprietor of Islay could use the rare boast of having a proportion of his family plate manufactured from silver found on his own domains. But the mines here have partaken of the fatality that seems incident to all mining speculations on the north and west coast of Scotland, and they, accordingly, been abandoned for many years. Whisky is a great staple commodity of this island. Its distillation has for some years been carried on to a very large extent.
Islay is much exposed to winds, having little or no wood, except young plantations, and the climate is moist. The proprietors are generally alive to the importance of extending among the population the benefits of education. The Gaelic language is universally spoken throughout the island; but, as is now the case in less open parts of the Highlands and islands, it seems rapidly giving way to the introduction of English. The habits of the population, with respect to industry and sobriety, are of late years materially improved. The nefarious and morally destructive trade of illicit distillation used to be carried on among them to a very great extent; but the introduction of legal distilleries, and the steady discountenance which this traffic has received from the late and present proprietors, have well-nigh put an end to it, and with it to many of its injurious consequences.
The population amounts to about 13,000, and the island comprehends three parishes, Killarrow, Kilchoman, and Kildalton. To these there have been superadded, by Parliamentary grant, three government churches. Three new and substantial places of worship have also been erected by the Free Church party since the Disruption in 1843. A branch of the National Bank of Scotland is established at Bridgend, near Islay House, the princely mansion of the proprietor. Islay contains a respectable small town, Bowmore, situated on the east side, and towards the head of Loch-in-Daal, and distant about three miles from Islay house, and eleven from Port Askaig; and also two or three villages, as Portnahaven, at the Point of Rinns, the western extremity of the loch, distant seventeen miles from Islay House; and Port Ellinor and Lagganmhoiullin, or Laggavoulin, on the east coast, about thirteen or fifteen miles from Bowmore; and Port Charlotte on the north-west side of Loch-in-Daal.
The coasts of Islay consist chiefly of low rocks and sandy beach. On the west there is hardly any anchorage, except in Loch Gruinart, an arm of the sea, stretching into the alluvial deposit which extends across from the head of Loch-in-Daal. There are several small bays on the east, but they are dangerous of approach from sunken rocks. The coasts in general are nowise particularly interesting, except about Saneg, on the west, where there are several large caves. One specially, with a labyrinth of passages, and the Mull of Oe, where the cliffs rise to a great height, and in which there is another cave, that of Stoc Mhaol Doraidh, on the farm of Grastle.
Islay is not a little interesting from the historical associations connected with the remains of antiquity which it presents in the ruins of its old castles, forts, and chapels. It was a chief and early place of residence of the celebrated Lords, or rather Kings of the Isles, prior to Ardtornish in the Sound of Mull, and afterwards of a near and powerful branch of the family of the great M'Donald. A celtic dynasty, which rose under Somarled, in the twelfth century, on the ruins of that of the Scandinavian kings of Man and the Isles. A sketch of their history and of the early settlements on the west coast and Western Islands will be found in the next section.
On the French Isle, in the Sound, are the ruins of Claig Castle, a square tower, defended by a deep ditch, which at once served as a prison and a protection to the passage. At Laggavoulin Bay, an inlet on the east coast, and on the opposite side to the village, on a large peninsular rock, stands part of the walls of a round substantial stone burgh or tower, protected on the land side by a thick earthern mound. It is call Dun Naomhaig, or Dunnivaig (such is Gaelic orthography). There are ruins of several houses beyond the mound, separated from the main building by a strong wall. This may have been a Danish structure, subsequently used by the Macdonalds, and it was one of their strongest naval stations. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the lands of the Macdonalds were a contested prize between rival owners, Dunnivaig was quite the 'Castle Dangerous' of the Isles. There are remains of several such strongholds in the same quarter. The ruins of a Dun, or Round Tower, are to be seen on an inland hill, Dun Borreraig, will walls twelve feet thick, and fifty-two feet in diameter inside, and having a stone seat two feet high around the area. As usual, there is a gallery in the midst of the wall. Another stronghold had occupied the summit of Dun Aidh, a large, high and almost inaccessible rock near the Mull. Between Loch Guirm and Saneg, and south Loch Gruinart, at Dun Bheolain (Vollan), there are a series of rocks, projecting one behind another into the sea, with precipitous seaward fronts, and defended on the land side by cross dykes; and in the neighbourhood numerous small pits in the earth, of a size to admit of a single person seated. These are covered by flat stones, which were concealed by sods.
There are also several ruins of chapels and places of worship in Islay, as in many other islands. The names of fourteen founded by the Lords of the Isles might be enumerated. Indeed, most of the names, especially of parishes of the west coast, have some old ecclesiastical allusion. In the ancient bury-ground of Kildalton, a few miles south-west of the entrance of the Sound, are to large, but clumsily sculptured stone crosses. In this quarter, near the Bay of Knock, distinguished by a high sugarloaf-shaped hill, are two large upright flag-stones, called the two stones of Islay, reputed to mark the burying-place of Yula, a Danish princess, who gives the island its name. In the churchyard of Killarrow, near Bowmore, there is a prostrate column, rudely sculptured; and, among others, two gravestones, one with a figure of a warrior, habited in a sort of tunic reaching to the knees, and a conical head-dress. His hand holds a sword, and by his side is a dirk. The decoration of the other is a large sword, surrounded by a wreath of leaves; and at one end the figures of three animals. This column has been removed from its resting-place and set up in the centre of a battery erected near Islay House some years ago. Monumental stones, as well as cairns and barrows, occur elsewhere; and there is said to be a specimen of a circular mound with successive terraces, resembling the tynewalds, or judgment-seats, of the Isle of Man, and almost unique in the Western Islands. Stone and brass hatchet-shaped weapons or celts, elf-shots or flint arrow-heads, and brass fibulae, have been frequently dug up.
Towards the end of the sixteenth century, fierce feuds broke out between the Macdonalds of Islay and the Macleans of Mull. Sir Laughlan Maclean, in 1598, invaded Islay with 1400 men; but he was successfully opposed, at the head of Loch Gruinart, lying to the west of the head of Loch-in-Daal, by Sir James Macdonald, the young chief, his nephew, who had an inferior force of 1000 men; and Maclean was slain, with a number of his followers. Hereupon the inheritance of the Macdonalds of Islay and Cantyre was gifted to the Earl of Argyle and the Campbells. Violent struggles ensued between these parties, especially in 1614, 1615 and 1616, when the Macdonalds were finally overpowered, and Sir James obliged to take refuge in Spain; but he was afterwards received into favour. The power of the Macdonalds in Islay having thus passed into the hands of the Campbells, has never since been recovered, and their sway in Argyleshire has wholly disappeared.
The remains of the strongholds of the Macdonalds, in Islay, are the following. In Loch Finlaggan, a lake about three miles in circumference, three miles from Port Askaig, and a mile off the road to Loch-in-Daal, on the right hand, on an islet, are the ruins of their principal castle or palace and chapel; and on an adjoining island the Macdonald council held their meetings. There are traces of a pier, and of the habitations of the guards on the shore. A large stone was, till no very distant period, to be seen, on which Macdonald stood, when crowned by the Bishop of Argyle King of the Isles. On an island, in a similar lake, Loch Guirm, to the west of Loch-in-Daal, are the remains of a strong square fort, with round corner towers; and towards the head of Loch-in-Daal, on the same side, are vestiges of another dwelling and pier.
Where are thy pristine glories, Finlaggan!
The voice of mirth has ceased to ring thy walls,
Where Celtic lords and their fair ladies sang
Their songs of joy in great Macdonald's halls.
And where true knights, the flower of chivalry,
Oft met their chiefs in scenes of revelry-
All, all are gone and left thee to repose,
Since a new race and measures new arose.
The Macdonalds had a bodyguard of 500 men, of whose quarters there are marks still to be seen on the banks of the Loch. For their personal services they had lands, the produce of which fed and clothed them. They were formed into two divisions. The first was called Ceatharnaich, and composed of the very tallest and strongest of the islanders. Of these, sixteen, called Buannachan, constantly attended their lord wheresoever he went, even in his rural walks, and one of them denominated 'Gille 'shiabadh dealt' headed the party. The other division of these 500 were called Gillean-glasa, and their post was within the outer walls of their fastnesses.
In later days, Islay was distinguished by a visit from the French squadron under Admiral Thurot, in 1760, which put in in distress for provisions, for which, however, the Admiral honourably paid. Again, in the autumn of 1778, the notorious Paul Jones made a descent here. In the Sound he captured the West Tarbert and Islay packet. Among the passengers was a Major Campbell, a native of the island, just returned from India where he had realized an independence, the bulk of which he had with him in gold and valuables, and the luckless officer was reduced in a moment from affluence to comparative penury. Of much more recent occurrence was the appearance in Loch-in-Daal, on 4th October 1813, of an American privateer of twenty-six guns, with a crew of 260 men, 'The True Blooded Yankee', by which a crowd of merchant vessels which happened to be lying in Port Charlotte was rifled, and then set on fire, occasioning a loss estimated at some hundred thousand pounds. It is some satisfaction to know that this piratically named craft was subsequently made prize of and condemned.
The genuine Islaymen are to this day remarkable for the size and goodliness of person, and the body of clansmen who accompanied Islay to welcome her Majesty at Inverary in 1847 attracted peculiar notice.
We proceed now to conduct the reader through the island. Leaving the inn of Port Askaig, the road winds up a ravine or gully for nearly a mile, exciting hopes that the wayfarer has really been conducted to fairy-land. These, however, soon cease; for, on making the summit of this ravine, the country again becomes bare and exposed, but presenting an appearance of abundant and rich vegetation, with marks of successful culture around. After traversing four or five miles, the country assumes a still improved appearance. The government church and manse of Kilmenny are passed on the left, and after about four miles more travelling, we reach the Inn of Bridgend. Previous to this, however, the sea is seen on the opposite coast of Islay, flowing into the spacious Bay of Loch-in-Daal, which forms a very interesting and lively object, running straight inward from the Irish Channel, a distance, from the Point of the Rinns to Islay House, of at least twelve or fourteen miles. Before arriving at Bridgend, the appearance of the country, particularly to the left, strikes a stranger as rich, beautiful, and interesting, varied in surface and forming principally a strath or glen, watered by a considerable stream, interspersed with thriving plantations of larch and other trees. From Bridgend, to the left of Islay House, stood formerly the village of Killarrow.
From Bridgend the tourist may easily make a short and interesting excursion to Loch Finlagan, which lies north-east from Islay House about five miles, and on an island in which are to be seen the ruins, as already mentioned, of a principal residence of the Kings or Lords of the Isles. Between it and Islay House lies the place Eallabus, until lately the residence of the factor of Islay; an interesting and beautiful locality, and the native spot of John Crawford, Esp., the author of a 'History of the Indian Archipelago', the 'Embassy to Ava', etc.
If it be the object of the tourist to have a full local acquaintance with the fertile and interesting Island of Islay, certainly the queen of the Hebrides, we would recommend his taking, first, the road along the north side of Loch-in-Daal to the Rinns, or the Point of Islay stretching to the south-west. After passing along rather bleak tract for two or three miles, he arrives at the Bay of Sunderland, bending gently inwards from the direct course of Loch-in-Daal; and passing along the beach for upwards of a mile, he may turn to the right, and, after a gentle ascent, will come unexpectedly in view of the mansion-house and grounds of Sunderland, (MacEwen, Esq.); and, if interested in rural and agricultural pursuits, he will reflect with pleasure that the beautiful scene now before him was, not many years ago, a bleak, uninteresting, and unpromising expanse of dry moss and heather, with scarcely even a spot of green sward on which to rest the eye. Returning again to the road, the traveler still proceeds close to the sea-shore, and along a fertile and tolerably cultivated stretch of country, passes the new and thriving village of Port Charlotte, and, some five or six miles onward, the road cuts across the extreme promontory of this part of the island, conveying him to the village of Portnahaven, a celebrated cod-fishing station, on the property of Mr. MacEwen of Sunderland, and containing about sixty slated houses, very picturesquely situated on a rocky nook of a wild bay, which is protected by an island in the offing from the stern blasts of the west. On this island a lighthouse has been built and, perhaps no station on the whole coast of Scotland, if we except Cape Wrath, more loudly demanded this preservative measure to the shipping interests and to human life.
Leaving Portnahaven, the traveler can by a good road proceed along the north-west coast of the island, where he will find a fertile country, well cultivated, till he come to the church of Kilchuman; and leaving it on the right, he had better still adhere to the line of the coast. Approaching Kilchuman, and afterwards, for the distance of two or three miles, the soil becomes sandy and arid; but, removed from the immediate sea coast, it is mingled with a good fertile loam which has been improved, on the best principles of husbandry, by the proprietor of Sunderland, who lands stretch downwards in this direction. Following the coast from Kilchuman, its appearance is striking and grand; perpendicular rugged rocks rising from the ocean, and rent by numerous chasms, among which are a series of curious caverns, arrest the attention.
Within the cave of Sanegmore, the access to which is somewhat difficult, there is an inner cave, opening into successive passages and narrow galleries with intermediate chambers, admidst which the reverberation of a gun-shot is quite overpowering, and the cadence of the notes of the bagpipe varies from the faintest murmur to deafening loudness. It was near Sanegmore that the tragical shipwreck of the emigrant brig Exmouth, from Londonderry for Quebec, occurred, on 27th April 1847, when all the passengers, 240 in number, with all the crew excepting three, found a watery grave. The appearance of the shore after the storm, strewed with fragments of wreck, and dead bodies, and mangled limbs, is described to have been appalling and heart-rendering beyond conception.
The reader may be interested to know that Ardnave, a handsome residence beyond Saneg, is the birthplace, we believe, at least the paternal residence of Miss Campbell, who was Lady of Polignac, sometime prime minister of France.
Loch Gruinart, an arm of the sea, which the traveler will meet in his progress, is celebrated by Dean Munro, in his account of the Hebrides, for the number of seals which were caught or slain on the sand-banks which the recess of the tide here leaves exposed; but the sport of soul-catching here has long ago been forgotten.
The sands of Gruinart are celebrated in the traditional lore of the islanders for the bloody conflict already mentioned, fought in 1598, between the Macdonalds and Macleans. The east side of Loch Gruinart presents merely a low sandy expanse of coast, after which it rises gradually into higher and bleaker hills towards the Sound of Islay and Port Askaig. From the head of the loch, a walk of four or five miles across the country conducts to Bridgend. The route here described, from Bridgend till returning there, might be accomplished easily in a long summer or autumn day, with the help of a good Islay pony, and an equally hardy and active guide.
After resting at Bridgend, proceed we now the metropolis of Islay, the village of Bowmore, lying about three miles south-west from Bridgend, and on the shore of Loch-in-Daal; a continuation of tile-roofed cottages extending partially along the shore from Bridgend. Bowmore is of considerable size, containing a population of from 900 to 1200 inhabitants. It was commenced in 1768, and is judiciously and regularly planned; but the plan has been but indifferently observed, houses being permitted to be erected from any size, shape, or material, suited to the means and views of the builder. A principal street, ascending a pretty steep hill, is terminated at the west by the school-house. From the hill behind, an extensive and beautiful view is obtained of Loch-in-Daal in all its expanse, of Islay House and the adjacent grounds in the distance, of the Rinns, and the district of Islay already described. Another wide and also ascending street crosses this at right angles, beginning at the quay, which is a substantial edifice, admitting common coasting vessels to load and unload, and terminates at the summit by the village and parish church, a respectable building, of a circular form, surmounted by a neat spire. A third street runs parallel to the one first described, along which the houses present so poor an appearance as to leave the popular designation it has received in the village, of the 'Beggar Row', far from being a misnomer.
Leaving Bowmore, the traveler proceeds southward, passing the church on his left, and continues to ascend by a gentle acclivity for about a mile. The road now slopes gently downwards, and inclines towards the wide expansive Bay of Laggan. But at the summit mentioned a good view is had of the bleak promontory - a dead and dull mass - dividing Loch-in-Daal from the Bay of Laggan, tapering to the west, and terminating in a rocky point. On descending along the road to the Bay of Laggan, the traveler is struck with the appearance of its ample and spacious waters, bounded partly by rocks of rugged aspect and moderate height, and skirted all along its bases by a broad belt of beautiful sand. In this bay many shipwrecks have occurred, by seamen mistaking it, and bearing up for it, instead of Loch-in-Daal. Leaving the level of the bay, a gentle acclivity is ascended, and the scene becomes less interesting, though still a pleasing variety of pasture and tillage is seen scattered around. On his right, the traveler has a considerable portion of the island cut off. This is the bluff Point of Keannouth, or, as it is more frequently called, the Oe. If interested in antiquarian pursuits, it may replay his labours here to turn off, obtaining a guide to bring him to an old castle or fort of Dun Aidh, built upon the extreme summit of the rock forming the western extremity of the Point of Oe. This scene is impressive and grand. The structure is quite a ruin, but may be seen to have been a place of very singular strength in its day. The cave of Stoc Mhaol Doraidh, on the farm of Grastle near the Oe, is only accessible by boat, and with favourable weather. A huge pillar of rock guards the outer entrance, which, is an archway in a wall of rock. From the space within, a low opening, only admitting a small boat, ushers into a spacious apartment with two recesses, all watered by the sea. Our road now soon attains the sea-shore, at a spacious bay, forming a safe and good anchorage, with a much better outlet than Loch-in-Daal, and well sheltered, especially from the north and west. Here a new village has been in progress for a few years back, named Port Ellinor, in compliment to Lady Ellinor Campbell of Islay.
A mile or two farther on, the road arrives at a small village of Laggavoulin, near which is the parish church of Kildalton, and the clergyman's residence, very picturesquely situated beside a rocky inlet of the sea coast, opposite to the remains of the round tower or burgh Dunnivaig. From Port Ellinor to Laggavoulin, the country presents a well cultivated and fertile aspect, and a surface obviously susceptible of great and advantageous agricultural improvements. Leaving the village just mentioned, the road keeps along the shore for two or three miles farther, when the country assumes rather a pastoral than an agricultural appearance, and is partially studded with birch, hazel and other copsewood. Turning down a small, beautifully wooded promontory, forming one side of a still, peaceful, inlet of the sea, is seen an elegant and spacious cottage, built by the late Mr. Campbell of Islay. Onwards a mile or two is the farm and house of Ardmore. From this quarter of the island, a good view is presented of the opposite coast of Cantyre towards Campbelltown, and the Mull of Cantyre. In clear weather also, the Irish coast is discernible to the naked eye. From Ardmore, round the coast to Port Askaig, there is scarcely any object of interest to reward the toil of exploring it. But if it suits the tourist's time and purpose better than returning by Bowmore and Bridgend to Port Askaig, he can easily make the latter place, from Laggavoulin or Ardmore, in the course of one day, though at the expense of some bodily fatigue.