The Shores of Loch Scridain
Route type: Other
Distance: 13.22km, 8.21 miles. Like (4)
Minimum Time: 4hrs 15mins Ascent: 1,200ft Difficulty Level: 1 - Easy Paths: Track and short path, 1 stile Landscape: Windswept hillsides above Loch Dog Friendliness: On lead near livestock Parking: 0.5 miles (800m) beyond Tiroran farm Public Toilets: None en route While you're there: Torosay Castle is more of a Victorian mansion than a castle. Its grounds include rhododendrons, a woodland garden and a bog garden. The castle is linked to Craignure ferry terminal by a 1.25 mile (2km) narrow-gauge railway line. The castle and railway are open from Easter to October, the gardens all year round. Directions: To reach the walk start, turn off the B8035 at Kilfinichen Bay, following a blue sign for Burg. The road passes just below the hightide mark and, after Tiroran farm, becomes a rough track. From the car park, the track leads into a wood of beech and larch, then climbs gently. Ignore a branch down to the left (to Scobuil), but follow the main track climbing to open bracken moor. Pass below a mobile phone mast, with three cairns below the track. You may see deer here. On the opposite side of Loch Scridain, and ahead on the Ardmeanach peninsula, is a lava landscape; lava flows have created a layered effect. Basalt lava is rich in minerals and the land between the crags is green and fertile. The track descends in bends and runs on towards Tavool House. This used to be a YMCA property but is now an outdoor centre. Just before Tavool House, fork down left on a fainter track below a wall with rhododendrons. The track descends into a wooded valley, crossing two streams, one with a small waterfall. The rock here is black basalt, stained orange in places. The orange colour represents the top surfaces of the flow, weathered by the tropical climate of 60 million years ago. At a gate with a stile, the track enters National Trust for Scotland (NTS) land. Burg Farm was one of the Trustâs first properties, bequeathed in 1932. Bear left on a rough grassy track to pass just below the tin-walled farm. A small shed is on the right and, on the left is a knoll with two cairns, commemorating Duncan and Christina MacGillivray, better known by the surname Burg, from the farm. After 0.5 mile (800m) is Dun Bhuirg, a second knoll on the left,with a cairn. It commemorates a lass called Daisy Cheape and her favourite place, which she called âCastle Dareâ. About 50yds (46m) above the dun, a crag overhang offers shelter and a fine view and, just to the left, is a cave, suitable only for sheep. A gap between the cave and the overhang leads through to a little rock den. The narrow, cow-trodden path continues past the dun, descending gently for 0.25 mile (400m) to the narrow shoreline meadow. The main walk now turns back along the shoreline; but if you feel energetic, you can continue on a tough cliff walk to the fossil tree. This extension route continues ahead along the shoreline past a stone enclosure and along level grassy ground. At the first headland, the ground steepens and the path becomes clear again, slanting very gradually up the slope above the sea, with a small, overhanging basalt crag above. The path arrives on a bouldery shelf, with a high steep slope above that leads to more crags. Below on the shoreline are some striking basalt formations. Soon you will see one of the two waterfalls that cascade on to the beach ahead. The clear path now turns sharply down left in a shallow gully and, after 20yds (18m), reaches the top of an iron ladder. (The section leading down to the ladder is steep, and requires care, especially when wet.) The ladder is unmaintained and rusty, so examine it carefully to decide whether to descend its 25 steps to the shore. Continue along the shoreline below the two waterfalls. From the second one, go round into the next small bay (just 100yds/91m further). The fossil tree has a cave to its right, and a small area of contorted columnar basalt on its left. The cast of the tree is a hollow halfcylinder about 4ft (1.2m) wide, starting just above ground level. Return by the same route to the shoreline below Dun Bhuirg. Continue along the shore so as to pass below Dun Bhuirg. The way is grassy at first, then rougher with some boulders and bog, and leads to a small bay of black sand. Cross shoreline rocks to a second black beach, directly below Burg farm. Just above the bay are two ancient cairns, almost lost under bracken. Cross a grassy meadow and slant up through a gap in a fallen wall. Just above is the track, marked by electricity poles. Rejoin it and retrace the outward journey past Tavool House to return to the start of the walk.