Walk: Mulling things Oa on Islay

Islay | The Oa | Short walk | ★★★

[American Monument, Mull of Oa]

The Mull of Oa forms one of Islay's most dramatic bits of coastline, with 130 metre-high cliffs plunging into the Atlantic Ocean with Northern Ireland about 25 miles distant. Perched in a spectacular location on the very edge of the cliffs is the American Monument; this prominent obelisk commemorates the loss of over 600 lives in 1918, when two troop ships sank off the west coast of Islay in separate wartime incidents. The headland is also a nature reserve, with rare choughs, seabirds and several bird of prey species calling the moorland home. The RSPB's circular walking route visits both mull and monument, beginning at the end of a long and narrow road from Port Ellen. Be grateful for the excellent boardwalk paths traversing the wetter sections; we tried venturing off the waymarked trail in the direction of Beinn Mhor and wouldn't recommend it.

[View east from the Mull of Oa]

📌 Walk: Mulling things Oa on Islay ★★★
Start / finish at car park at track end 7 mi west of Port Ellen, Islay, G.R.: NR 281422 ///unlucky.scored.solves. Last half mile or so to the start is on an unsurfaced track with potholes.

▶ 4 km / 2 mi | ▲ 50 m | ⌚ Short | Moderate
Features: Mull of Oa; RSPB The Oa; American Monument
Terrain: Good path with long sections of boardwalk to the monument. Faint path or pathless beyond (though waymarked) with some wet sections.

Route & map

Car park - American Monument & Mull of Oa by direct route - Bruthach Mòr - Upper Killeyan - start. Route marked on map in orange here and by wooden posts on the ground.


Route credit: RSPB

On our visit

Wildlife: Cows on the access track to the car park; sheep.
Weather: Mostly overcast under an inversion; 5°C, almost windless.

Chronological photo guide

[Path near the start]

[Coastal views near the start]

[The approach to the monument is mostly on boardwalks]

[New boardwalk section]

[American Monument and trig pillar]

[American Monument]

[Dramatic cliff scenery]

[Mull of Oa and monument]

[American Monument]

[View east from the Mull of Oa]

[Cows on the unsurfaced access road]

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