Walking to Port Mary – Isle of Luing

06 Sep

This was the wet day we’ve been waiting for – no excuse for leaving the fitting of hanging rails and new wardrobe door catches today then.

The skies did clear eventually and by 16.00hrs H n I were on our way out with the boots – heading for Port Mary which is a disused slate quarry on the north-west tip of Luing —

Port Mary Walk

We parked by the island ferry terminal where the super-fast Belnahua was doing it’s best to clear the homeward bound commuters and a few late visitors from both sides of Cuan Sound. Not an easy task when there’s only room for four cars on the boat at a time – but I’m sure they made it – they usually do.

It was quite a spectacle watching one of the local fishing boats take on the tidal race in the narrows at speed. It may look and feel like he was travelling fast but the tide was actually travelling almost as quick in the opposite direction which made his true speed on the GPS a very modest one indeed —

Port Mary Walk 4

Out there beyond the narrows where the tides meet twixt Luing and Easdale though not of Grey Dogs or Corrievrekan proportions – was quite a maelstrom none-the-less —

Port Mary Walk 3

No worries – peace reigned on dry land – especially amongst the old ruins of the slate worker’s cottages from a previous lifetime when crossing by rowing boat had been the norm —

Port Mary walk 2

Manufactured paving slabs are a rare sight on the island – no need when these tide-washed heavy slates – picked from the beach – can be made just as level on the patio and many times more decorative —

Port Mary 5

In between removing layers of fleeces as the clouds rolled back and the sun warmed us even this late in the day – H was busy with her camera and little did she know when she took this shot of the old workings that an enormous bird – probably a sea eagle – was to launch itself out of the cliff face only a few minutes later —

Port Mary 6

The ‘self-inflicted countryboy’ missed it ofcourse – just as he has probably missed seeing a myriad of otters while on his many walks on the wild side —

Port Mary 7

Could well have been a sea eagle H had disturbed for the previous day just over there on Scarba – while H and I busied ourselves in the garden – my son and two friends had spotted two golden eagles perched by the shore as they trawled past on a successful fishing trip that brought in a smattering of mackerel – pollock and a skate apiece —

gardener's world 3

I may envy them but it’s enough for me to be out in good company on a day like this – for even taking photos can become a chore when your hands are full of walking poles – a neccessity now that my right knee is little more than a painfull passenger —

Port Mary 8

So it’s thanks to Helen that we have those lovely reminders of our couple of hours around Port Mary on the Isle of Luing.

A much more abstract view on life can be found on her own blog at 🙂

On a more serious note the story of the Latvian steamer – the Helena Faulbaums which foundered off this coast on the nearby island of Belnahua with the loss of 15 of her crew of 19 can be found by the wonders of Google at Canmore Helena Faulbaums Sound of Luing.

It paints a vivid picture of the bravery of lifeboat crews and cruel seas when things went wrong and bodies were washed up on the shores of Luing at Cullipool and here at Port Mary. As recently as Sunday morning I had looked at the roughly carved pulpit in our local church with Latvia cut into it and could only guess at the story behind it.

Now I know.

Website address –




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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in out and about


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