Carsaig Arches- a Geological Wonder,2nd only to Staffa
A long fairly arduous walk below the dramatic Carsaig Cliffs taking in the spectacular sea views, cliffs and varying wildlife arriving at the natural basalt arches of Malcolm's Point, another geological wonder of Mull.
Route Details Click on photos below to enlarge
OS pathfinder 342 map 1:25,000. A long walk, 8 miles in distance including your return. You must allow 3-5 hours. Carsaig lies on the south coast of Mull, 3 miles south east of
Pennygael which is on the A849 midway between Craignure and Fionnphort. From Seaview bed and breakfast travel east along the A849 towards Pennyghael. Just before Pennyghael there is a road
signposted Carsaig off to the right. Drive for about 1 mile down to Carsaig Pier. Do not park on the pier, but park above it taking care not to cause on obstruction. CAR REQUIRED. The journey from Seaview bed and breakfast takes about half an hour by car.
Starting from Carsaig Pier take the wooded track just above the pier west, which follows along the head of the shore. Looking south and eastwards are distant views of Jura, Islay and Colonsay. On coming out of the trees on the landward site is the picturesque bay of Carsaig with it's amphitheatre of 700ft cliffs., standing guard over fertile fields.
This spot is ideal for a peaceful picnic on a sunny day. Continuing west , crossing over 2 burns and follow the sometimes rough path at the head of the basalt, lava sheet shoreline. The cliffs on the landward side will tower above you all the way to the Carsaig Arches.
On the shore and Cliffside look out for the wild goats whom you will probably smell before you see them. In sense you will probably note a wide variety of nesting seabirds, golden eagles and ravens which are commonly spotted.
After approximately 1 hours walking you will arrive at a break in the cliffs, known as the "Nuns Pass", which can give you access to the moorland on the clifftops. Below the pass you will see the "Nuns Cave". Here nuns are suppose to have hidden here after being chased out of Iona. Crosses going back to 6th-9th centuries are carved on the walls. Also a carved sailing ship dated 1633 is carved there. Sandstone from the foreshore below the cave was quarried for restoration work out of the Iona Abbey.
Continue west on the path below the cliffs. Another hour further on the path ends near the 1st of the 2 arches. Take care especially in wet conditions! These are exposed parts, where the path runs close to the sea. The arches are an impressive site, standing out on the shore with a jagged skyline of 1000ft cliffs towering above them. The arches, originally sea caves, have been eroded right through and eventually they will collapse to form sea stacks. The large arch is 160ft from one end to the other. The second arch is taller and slimmer. It also has a stack on top. The arches consist of columnar basalts, not unlike those of Staffa, if not quite as spectacular. Return by the same route emphasizing great care should be taken, especially near the arches.
Wild goats, deer, seals, otters, eagles, ravens and buzzards. Numerous varieties of seabirds including shag, cormorant, herring, black backed
gulls and kittiwakes. There is also black guillemot, rock dove, rock pipit, wren, oystercatcher, curlew and redshank.
MAP OS EXPLORER 375 Iona, Staffa and The Ross of Mull
Last Amended: 19/09/2015
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