January 21, 2018
Today we were blessed with one of those windless winter days with clear blue skies where the only place to be is the Ross of Mull. The day started off well with a great view of an otter in Loch Pottie, the v-shaped wake clearly visible on the otherwise smooth surface of the water. However there was a need to gather seaweed to fertilise the lazy beds in the newly created allotment and it was decided this was the perfect day for it. Uisken was the chosen destination as it has a handy small car park right on the beach and the winter storms had provided a large deposit of seaweed. It is a crofting township with several houses dotted around a beautiful sandy bay with many rocky coves to explore. Several small offshore islands makes its setting even more attractive.
Once the seaweed was gathered, there was plenty of time to take a favourite short walk to the cairn, which is clearly visible on the skyline. It is a steep scramble over rocks to reach the cairn, but well worth the effort.
At the east end of the beach there is a stile in the stone wall leading to a path over the rocks. Head for the fence posts and then follow the sheep track which soon takes you to the cairn which is known as “the last look back”. In the past, islanders would walk great distances to Kilvickeon Church to bury their dead and there were many stops on the way to rest and to “toast” the life of the deceased. The cairn marks the spot of such a stopping place and each person in the funeral party would add a stone to the cairn. Uisken was a popular place for distilling illegal whisky, possibly another good reason for a stop and toast.
On a clear day such as today, from the cairn there were wonderful views out over the sea to the islands of Colonsay, Jura and Islay. Looking inland, the ruins of the township of Am Fam can be seen, with the outlines of lazybeds and terraces for the growing of crops. A place for further exploration on another fine day. Uisken is also well known as a haven for bird lovers – with many species to be seen on the croft land, the hills and the sea. We will definitely be back with the binoculars!