Islay Walks: Sgarbh Breac

A short drive from Persabus to Bunnahabhain and you will find a wild and rugged landscape offering endless hiking opportunities. Journey with us on a trek to the top of Sgarbh Breac on a hot summer’s day. The trig point at the top of Sgarbh Breac was shrouded in cloud as a heavy sea mist engulfed us. Chilly temperatures and down below it was beautifully hot, allowing for a refreshing dip in the sea before heading homeward.

To reach the top took my breath away

The salty damp sea mist encompassing us from either side, and the energy of the sharp breeze hitting us as we clambered up to the exposed summit of Sgarbh Breac. Cooling our overheated bodies dramatically, after the exertion of a steep climb up those final craggy peaks.

A crumbling drystone dyke rising from the depths of the mist.  The warmth of a hot August day, way below.

Island living at its absolute best

As each step had led us higher into the heather clad wilderness, the most spectacular views had unfolded. The huge turquoise and deep blue expanse of the Sound of Islay far below. A couple of yachts, tiny white dots, tacking their way north, with the tides, gliding with ease across the waves between the islands. To the south, the hazy pinnacle of the American Monument reaching upwards in the distance.

We couldn’t linger at the top, as we reached the drystone cairn, the shelter of the eastern face of the hill disappeared and a sharp wind together with the damp mist made for a quick turnaround and was a reminder of how quickly conditions can change out on the hills.

I still can’t decide which is the toughest,

the ascent or descent of a steep incline, but rest assured those legs were positively shaking and the knees were knocking by the time we made it back into the warmth of the summer day down at the coast. The descent was so much quicker and after all the effort, our aching muscles were rewarded with a dip in the Sound. Emerging refreshed and tingling in the hot afternoon sun, with only the swans and seals for company, the warming comfort of a flask of tea and just the gentle sound of the waves lapping against the shore.

The perfect Islay Sunday. Have you booked yours yet?

Until next time…