Walk: Soldier's Rock & Islay's wild side

[Soldier's Rock]

Most visitors to The Oa peninsula on Islay are visiting the American Monument at its south-western tip. But dramatic scenery continues right around the peninsula, with one of the most interesting sections around the spectacular Soldier's Rock sea stack in the north; it's also a popular place for shags, though strictly of the seabird variety. A car park signboard illustrates a circular "Walk on the wild side" taking in this as well as the abandoned nineteenth century township of Grasdale. Be aware: despite the signboard, there's little or no waymarking and some of the later sections are pretty rough going with only traces of a path. No gain without pain though, and you can reward yourself with a visit to Kintra's stunning beach on your return. Sadly, no ice creams available (but perhaps that keeps the crowds away?).

[The middle section of the route has excellent coastal views - spot the Paps of Jura in the distance]

Name: Walk: Soldier's Rock & Islay's wild side ☆☆☆
Length: 8 km / 5 miles
Ascent: 180 metres
Points of interest: Kintra beach; Grasdale abandoned settlement; Soldier's Rock & coastline
Start / finish: Car park at Kintra Farm, G.R.: NR 321483 / port dwarf tumblers

Route: Car park (detour to Kintra beach from here) - Frachdale - Grasdale - Soldier's Rock at Slochd Maol Doiridh - path around cliffs above Port Alsaig - rejoin outward route at NR 317481 - start
Terrain: Good track (with a burn to ford) until just before Grasdale, then faint paths to Soldier's Rock with very short but serious boggy sections. Various sheep / cattle tracks for return, muddy on a couple of later woodland sections. Overall, fairly rough going.
Wildlife today: Wild goats, sheep and thousands (!) of moths on coastal section; cormorants at Soldier's Rock.
Weather today: Nearly unbroken sunshine and light winds, temperature in mid teens. Perfect!

[The beach at Kintra awaits at the end of the walk]


Route credit: Walkhighlands

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