Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Lismore (more or less)
Lismore is Lios Mor (the big garden) in Gaelic, and the reason for this is the limestone which outcrops on the island. As I paddled north up the eastern side of the island I began to see limestone tufas where water has built up deposits on the rocks. They were an iridescent green on the lower part where mosses are growing in profusion.
Passing right up the length of the island, I stopped to eat lunch at the ferry slip on the northern tip of Lismore. I ate a couple of cereal bars and some fruit whilst looking across to the Pier House restaurant on the Port Appin shore.
I paddled the eastern side of Lismore from Port Appin in December 2008 when the picture at the top of the blog was taken, but I'd not been along the west coast. Soon after passing Port Ramsay, I looked back at the view which opened up to the north - Ben Nevis at the head of Loch Linnhe.
Continuing south along the west coast, one of Lismore's eleven fortifications came into view - Castle Coeffin. Built in the 13th century, it's another of the castles originally belonging to the Macdougalls of Lorn.
The castle ruins resemble a rotting tooth. I walked from the pebble beach below the castle (ideal for beaching Birlinns as well as sea kayaks) up to the Lismore Museum & Tearoom. Unfortunately it was closed for a children's party, so no tea and cakes for me!
Towards the south end of the island, another castle sits on the clifftop - Achaduin (place of the Castle!). This was a hall house for the mediaeval Bishops of Argyll - judging by the imposing military appearance, the Bishop's religious garb was just for the weekend!
I'd paddled right around Lismore, more or less. From here to the south tip of the island, the cliffs grow higher and are split with gullies. I paddled on to the beach I'd spotted in the morning, hoping that I could find a good spot to pitch the tent.