walking on the west and south of iona   iona abbey
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View of Iona from Fionnphort
Isle of Iona - South & West Walk

I Chalium Cille - The Isle of Columcille - St. Columba

The West & South Walk - Machair, Columba's Bay & Marble Quarry

MAP OS EXPLORER 373
Iona, Staffa and The Ross of Mull; OS 341 Iona and Bunessan.

Visitors are not allowed to take their vehicles onto Iona. Cyclists are welcome and there are many tracks ideal for both cycling and walking. Take a 2 minute walk from Seaview onto the Fionnphort - Iona ferry which runs frequently across the Sound of Iona. Stout walking shoes and warm clothing required on windier days.3 hours - rugged walking in parts
Traigh Mhor beach overlooking Fionnphort
As you leave the ferry, turn left and follow the road past Martyrs Bay and Traigh Mor. In summer listen out for the monotonous cry of the corncrake in the iris beds between the shore and the road. Walk up the hill for of a mile until you come to a gate. Continue through the gate and in front of you is a magnificent stretch of machair (short grass on sand.) Machair to the Bay at the Back of the Ocean on Iona

This forms the basis of the informal Iona Golf Course which looks onto one of the finest beach views anywhere with the Camus Cuil an Tabibh (Bay at the Back of the Ocean) forming the backdrop.

Turning south on a breezy day with a westerly Atlantic swell you will see a fountain of spray rising above the cliffs. This is a natural occurrence called 'The Spouting Cave'.

Now follow the track due south over the hillock keeping the loch on your right and descend down to Port na Curaich (Port of the Coracle) known as St Columba's Bay. It is said that St Columba landed his coracle here in Marble quarry on Iona563AD. There are views from here to Soa Island (Sheep Island) and Eilean Musimal (Mouse Island). There is also Eilean na h-Aon Chaorach known locally as 'one sheep island', which was worked by the innkeeper at Iona cottage. The cottage is still situated at the pier head.

On leaving Columba's Bay travel towards the eastern shore until you find a hollow with 2 ruined cottages. In a deep gully behind the cottages on the shore you will see the remains of the Iona Marble Quarry, closed shortly after the 1st World War.

You can look around here for pieces of stone with green marble in it. Return westwards to the path at the loch and retrace your steps to the pier.

Wildlife Watch

Dolphins, seals, otters, cormorant, shag, eider, buzzard, ring plover, lapwing, black backed and herring gulls, rock dove, jackdaw, starlings, linnet, twite, yellowhammer, terns, grey plover, sanderling and godwits.

Last amended 23/01/2013
2000-2013