The Isle of Luing, Argyll.
Like several islands along the Argyll coast the now peaceful Isle of Luing was once a very busy quarry site. Slate was the valuable resource they were quarrying, some of it above ground but most of it from below ground and being an island below the sea level. The quarries where deep holes in the ground and soon filled with water. These pools now add what appears to be an attractive natural feature to todays island landscape.
To reach the Isle of Luing it is necessary to first ‘Cross the Atlantic’ by way of the Clachan Bridge which crosses, all be it a small, Atlantic channel between mainland Argyll and Seil Island….
Then after a short drive across Seil you take the small car ferry across the Atlantic once more…. over the Cuan Sound
Luing is an island that still relies on Crofting for its fragile livelihood. True whilst tourism helps a little, visitor number are relatively small. Those that do venture to the island can explore villages with names such as Tobernochy, Killchattan and Cullipool and enjoy spectacular sea views across the adjoining mainland and small islands. Many of the cottages in the villages are of course ex-quarrymen’s homes, some are now holiday lets but thankfully a good number occupied by lucky residents.
On the narrow roads, with crofts and hamlets well spread, it is a quiet tour to take slowly and to enjoy….
In the centre of Luing is Killchattan Chapel. Now ruined but still surround by its burial ground. Reading the marker stones is interesting and moving and tells its own story of Luing. Stories of fisher folk, crofters and a large number of quarrymen, many who died in the dangerous work that brought them to the island…
Before we took the return ferry back across this little piece of the Atlantic the wind started to increase….a reminder that life here is not always idyllic…
(C) David Oakes 2017