Thursday, 3 November 2016

Ulva - Part 2, the Coast

One description of Ulva is that it has the best examples of columnar basalt outside Staffa. Keen to see this, we pressed on beyond the landing point and lush policies near the pier where you arrive on Ulva.

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.

There are still trees along here, not quite as lush as around Ulva House yet in possession of an atmosphere of enchantment.

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:

This side of Ulva is thick with abandoned dwellings. One was the ancestral home of explorer David Livingstone.

What an outlook the family had! Making a living here would breed resourcefulness.

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?


Unknown said...

I hope this finds you and yours doing well. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to its home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at

Robert Craig said...

Hi Jerry, yes, of course.

Unknown said...

Thank you so very much for giving permission. You can see your linked header under All, Historical, Travel and the United Kingdom. If you could say something (preferably good) about here and there, I would greatly appreciate it.