Tuesday 7 October 2014

Island 245 - Danna, Tayvallich, Argyll

Danna is located down a very long (12 miles) dead end single track road with passing places on the west coast of Argyll.  It is located at the southern end of the Tayvallich peninsula, which separates Loch Sween from the Sound of Jura.   The nearest village is Tayvallich, which is a delightful place with a sheltered harbour and a lovely café with a view over the harbour.  

Danna is roughly rectangular in shape and is about 2 miles from north to south and 1.5 miles from east to west.  The highest point on the island is 52 metres above sea level.   The public road ends just beyond the manmade stone causeway, which I understand floods only a few times a year when there are exceptionally high spring tides.  The causeway is only about 40 metres long and before it was built I would imagine that the island would have been accessible on foot at low tide.  There is a handy parking place at the end of the road.  The road becomes a rough track and you cannot drive any further.  There is a gate with a notice telling you this.  It says “walkers only”, which I took as an invitation to visit.  
The island, which is part of the Ulva, Danna and the McCormaig Isles Site of Special Scientific Interest, is divided into large fields and is grazed by sheep and there is an area of coniferous woodland in the middle of it.  The grazing didn’t look the best quality but there is plenty of it, along with a lot of bracken. There are also a few native trees – ash and birch mainly – and wildflowers such as scabious, thistles and wild strawberries.  There were also plenty of blackberries when I visited in mid September 2014. There are 3 houses/farms marked on the map.  I walked to beyond the first one you come to – New Danna but did not walk right down to the south coast, although it looks from the map that there might be 2 tidal islands that could be visited – Eilean nan Uan and Eilean a Chapuill.
After visiting Danna I made a short detour to Keills on the opposite side of the inlet Loch na Cille to visit the chapel there.  The chapel itself is unremarkable but inside there is a large collection of beautifully carved ancient tombstones – well worth a visit, although there is only enough parking for about 4 or 5 cars.

Causeway at low tide looking north towards the mainland

Unnamed house at Port nan Gallan on the north west coast

Eventually rusty old farm implements become art!

Middle of Danna showing the coniferous plantation and the house at Mid Danna

Track on Danna looking north towards the mainland and Loch na Cille

Keills Chapel looking towards Danna

 Ruined house near Port nan Gallan

 Farm buildings at New Danna

 This is far as you can drive

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