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

Islay | Kintra | Half day walk | ★★

[Soldier's Rock]

Most visitors to The Oa peninsula on Islay are visiting the American Monument at its southwestern 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 19th 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]

📌 Walk: Soldier's Rock & Islay's wild side ★★
Start / finish at car park at Kintra Farm, 3 mi northwest of Port Ellen, Islay, G.R.: NR 321483 ///port.dwarf.tumblers

▶ 8 km / 5 mi | ▲ 180 m | ⌚ Half a day | Tough
Features: Kintra beach; Grasdale abandoned settlement; Soldier's Rock & coastline
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.

Route & map

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 G.R.: NR 317481 - start

Route credit: Walkhighlands
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On our visit

Wildlife: Wild goats, sheep and thousands of moths on coastal section; cormorants at Soldier's Rock.
Weather: Nearly unbroken sunshine and light winds, temperature in mid teens. Perfect!

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


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