The columnar basalt was clear, although I expected something more. Perhaps the farthest, southwestern end of Ulva holds the real treasures?
It is a fascinating coast all the same. Complicated low cliffs, broken away to form little castles and redoubts all along the shoreline.
Tiered volcanic escarpments form south-facing suntraps, creating a 'lost world' microclimate. Huge toadstools grew in woody banks, the windswept, knarled hazel trees hugging the cliffs and hiding creatures from our view. We startled a number of deer hinds whilst buzzards plied the thermals and, in the distance - and at one occasion, not quite so distant - we could see the stags.
Stag and buzzard:
Another abandoned village, Ormaig, was home to Lachlan MacQuarrie, a key figure in the development of Australia from a penal colony to a free country. Shortly after Lachlan's time, the population of Ulva was to grow to an unsustainable 859. Today it has swung to the opposite extreme, with only 11 inhabitants and no paved roads. At Ormaig today, the main activity was the rutting and roaring of red deer stags.
View over Ormaig:
We walked back from Ormaig along the island's main track, a high promenade with distant views of Ben More.
This is an incredible place, as exotic in its own way as a Mediterranean holiday. Would we really be back in our own home in the Central Belt just a few hours later?