American Monument, Mull of Oa

Mull of Oa

Route: Mull of Oa and the American Monument

Area: Southern Islay

Date of walk: 20th March 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 2.2 miles

Ascent: 200 feet

Weather: Sunny, gale force wind

On the first day of a short walking holiday on Islay, we decided to drive to the Mull of Oa, a short distance from our base near Port Ellen. The Oa is the name of the rocky peninsula in the southwest of the island. We parked in the free RSPB reserve car park at the end of the public road on the Oa. The reserve is particularly important for rare birds such as the chough and golden eagle. Fulmars, kittiwakes and razorbills nest on the steep cliff-faces during the summer, and otters can often be seen along the tide line

We set off along the track and followed the waymarked path to the American Monument, perched on the cliff top. The monument commemorates the loss of two troop ships in 1918, the Tuscania and the Otranto, and the location overlooks the very spot where the Tuscania sank

From the monument we’d planned a there and back detour along the cliff tops to Beinn Mhor, the highest point on the Oa peninsula. Unfortunately it was blowing a gale. We had difficulty in standing up and on a couple of occasions were almost blown off our feet. With precipitous cliffs nearby, and progress being very arduous, we decided to content ourselves with the shorter circular route shown here

The paths and tracks were all well waymarked, and there were no difficulties in navigation despite the wild and remote terrain. It was a short but superb walk and a good introduction to Islay. As an added bonus, the shortened walk left time for another walk later in the day

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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