walks on south mull and iona   iona abbey
Carsaig Arches
Iona North
Iona South West

Ardtun Fossil Leaf Beds and Columnar Basalt Cliffs

Map: OS Explorer 373 Iona, Staffa and The Ross of Mull 1:25000
Grid Reference: NM380327
Walking time: approx 1.75 miles (3 km), about 2 hours.
Terrain: Pathless moorland and coastline, very boggy in parts
Waterproof boots or wellingtons recommended.


Eilean na Laithanaich (Grey Island) with the lighthouseBasalt rock formation at ArdtunA relatively easy short coastal walk below and above basalt cliffs with interesting geology and spectacular views. Ground tending to be wet, boggy in parts and slippery; good waterproof walking boots or wellingtons definitely required. By car from Seaview, drive back towards Bunessan from Fionnphort. Drive through Bunessan village round the sharp bend and turn first left before you leave the 30mph limit, over the little bridge and left again immediately after it and drive along the  shore road. A quarter mile further on you enter the Ardtun area and to your left there are magnificent views north west over Loch na Laitaich and Eilean na Liathanaich (Grey Island) with its little lighthouse perched at one end. To the west is Bunessan pier used by the local shell fishermen and extremely important to the areas economy. In the distance on a good day you can pick out the pillar island Staffa to the north.

basalt columns at Ardtun Isle of MullFollow the road nearly to the end and just before the last 2 houses there is a gate facing north on the right hand side of the road. Park your car and go through the gate. Follow the sheep track north through a field and on to the open moor. In the mid distance there is a little flat topped hill with a cairn on top (Dunan Mor). Walk to the cairn and then carry on past it descending north down to the fields above the shore. 

Here you pass through ruined croft houses and enclosures. On your right above the notable columns of basalt cliffs become grander as you walk north east. The sheep track takes you to a steep gorge with the sea funnelling into it.

At this point you have to go up onto the tops of the cliffs. Now follow across the headland and ahead of you in the distance is the magnificent mass of the Ardmeanach peninsular.

After a short walk you will reach a shallow open gully between the cliffs well above sea level and with easy access. In the gully sides you will sea fossils of leaves of oak ,hazel and plane trees. Return either by the same route or follow along the top of the cliffs the whole way back to the cairn.

crofters ruins at Ardtun Isle of Mullsea cave at Ardtunruins at Ardtun

Last updated 22/01/2013
2001 - 2013