Saligo Bay

Saligo Bay

Route: Saligo Bay

Area: The Rhinns of Islay

Date of walk: 22nd March 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 4.7 miles

Ascent: 500 feet

Weather: sunny but hazy

The Rhinns of Islay is a peninsula on the west of Islay which is designated as a special protection area and is home to some rare birdlife. The area also boasts some beautiful beaches, some of them around Saligo Bay, the subject of today’s walk

We parked by an access gate near the Saligo River. There is only space for about 5 cars here, so in summer it may be best to arrive early. As it was, there was no-one else here, and during the course of the three hour walk we didn’t see another soul

After passing through the access gate, we left the obvious track and headed directly towards the dunes and the beach. The path is not obvious, but the line of travel isn’t in doubt – just head for the sea. We soon arrived at Traigh Fleisgein Mhor, a wonderful sandy beach studded with rocks, which we followed north along the coast. Tide times dictate the exact route and we simply kept as near to the sea as possible. The next beach along the coast is Traigh Fleisgein Bheag, another wonderful spot where we could happily have spent the rest of the day. Note that swimming anywhere along this coastline should not be contemplated on account of the strong rip tides

At the end of the beach we made a short detour to two simple gravestones, one inscribed with the date 1818. It’s thought that these belong to drowned sailors. This marked the start of the return leg, which was over slightly higher ground with good views back over the beaches, though it would be no hardship to simply retrace your steps 

We arrived back at the parking space from where we set out on the second section of the walk. We walked along the road for a short distance, crossing the small bridge over the River Saligo, and just beyond a cottage on the right we left the road to descend towards the sea. This area of the coastline was more rugged and the going was boggier and rougher than the first section. We kept as close to the coast as possible, but jagged rocks made it impossible to descend to the shore. Some of the rock formations were spectacular. We eventually arrived at a fence which encloses a deep inlet containing arches which we found hard to identify, possibly on account of the high tide. This marked the far point of the walk and from here we followed a grassy and sometimes boggy track below the inland cliffs which took us back to the start of a wonderful walk

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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