Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Island 269 - Eileanan nan Gad, Kentra Bay, Highland

Eileanan nan Gad is a tidal island located in Kentra Bay, which is located at the north east end of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.  The island is shaped like a backwards letter C and the highest point on the island is 10 metres above sea level.  The island is approximately 400 metres from north to south and 300 metres from east to west at the widest point.

There is a small and somewhat potholed car park at the end of the road at Arivegaig.  The car park was full on the day I visited but there was no sign of any people.  From the car park a track heads west along the shore and it is about half a mile walk to the point on the mainland opposite Eileanan nan Gad.   The Ordnance Survey map shows that the 250 metres between the mainland and the island is mud and sand, which didn't sound very promising.  However Peter Caton had reported no problems with soft mud in his book No Boat Required: Exploring Tidal Islands and in reality there is about 220 metres of flat and very firm salt marsh grass and only a 20 metre gap between this and the island and the mud was firm.  However the mud to the east of the island by the channel made by the river Allt Beithe looked much softer.

Eileanan nan Gad is covered in rough grass, heather, juniper, moss and bracken and when I visited in late September 2014 most of the island was quite boggy, except for the low ridge, which forms the highest part of the island.  I found the remains of a manmade stone wall.

 Looking east from Eileanan nan Gad

Looking north up Kentra Bay from Eileanan nan Gad

Eileanan nan Gad looking south towards Acharacle 

Eileanan nan Gad is obviously visited by other people, as I found this dinghy on the eastern side of the island by the channel of the Allt Beithe.

Looking north up Kentra Bay across the salt marsh to Eileanan nan Gad

There are lots of warning notices at the beginning of the track leading from the car park.  They warn about unexploded munitions, shooting during the deer stalking season and theft from cars but reassuringly not soft mud or quicksand.

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