Treshnish Headland and Crackaig

 

Difficulty : ModerateDuration : 4 HrsDistance : 10 Km

 
This is a unique coastal walk around one of Britain's wildest and most beautiful coast lines. The Isle Of Mull is home to an abundance of Britain's rarest wild animals including red deer, sea otters, grey seals, common seals, golden eagles, sea eagles and even Scottish wild cats. They thrive on the islands remoteness and natural resources available both inland but mostly importantly along its wonderful coastline. This moderate walk takes an easy route along raised beaches with exceptional views out to sea and the Treshnish Isles, before finding the infamous Whisky Cave and then heading uphill and over moorland past the remains of the old villages of Crackaig and Glac Gugairidh. A fantastic walk without too much ascent and the opportunity of seeing otters, eagles and plenty of sea birds.


Full route description for this walk

 

The Treshnish Headland is the north western tip of Mull. A car park that was once an old small quarry is situated a few hundred yards up the B8073 road from Ensay at the entrance to Treshnish Farm and Haunn. The B8073 road runs from Tobermory to Dervaig and then on to Calgary, the car park is roughly two miles after Calgary on this road. From the car park head back down towards the gate signed for Treshnish Farm or Haunn. Take the track downhill and over the river, eventually leading uphill with woodland on your right and views eventually opening up over Calgary Bay. After about half a mile you will reach Treshnish Farm. The track you now want leads out of the back of the farm, to find the track round the main building to the left and then continue through the farm and out of the other side, passing through respectfully and quietly.

Treshnish Farm

Treshnish Farm

Gate at Haunn

Gate at Haunn

The track now leads through open grazing farmland, don't be at all surprised to find the odd Red Deer sharing the fields with the farmers sheep and cattle. Follow the track for a mile until you reach the self catering cottages at Haunn, at which point the path takes a very slight detour to the right avoiding the cottages. The track now disappears and turns into more of a footpath through grassy fields, the way ahead still obvious however and eventually reaching the coast at a rocky natural harbour known as Port Haunn which can be descended using the path on the left. This will bring you out on top of the wide and flat grassy surface of the raised beach, your highway above the sea for the next few miles.

Port Haunn

Port Haunn

Raised Beach

Raised Beach

The cottages or blackhouses at Haunn were built by fishing families who gained a living from the sea until the middle of the last century, using the natural harbour at Port Haunn as there landing point for fishing boats. The unforgiving waves of the rough Atlantic Ocean crash against the cliffs here. On the horizon you should now be able to see the Treshnish Islands just a few miles out to sea. The Treshinsh Islands are home to thousands of seabirds and huge seal colonies. There unique shape comes from the same geological process that has created the raised beach you'll be standing on. The islands and this part of Mull itself are made up of layers of basalt lava on top of each other, remains of Mull's volcanic past. Geologically the Isle Of Mull and its surrounding islands are a geologists dream, with some of the oldest rocks in the world. Due to its physical attributes each stage of this geological past is both physically and visibly evident even today. One of the most peculiar looking islands is Bac Mor or as its more commonly known, The Dutchman's Cap, and for obvious reason.

Treshnish Isles

Treshnish Isles

Loch Tuath

Loch Tuath

Walk along the raised beach now where a clear footpath takes you round the headland for about one and a half miles, exploring the beach and cliffs at every opportunity if you have the time. The next point of interest is the infamous Whisky Cave. Few people ever find the Whisky Cave when they take on this walk or even just come looking for it, it is right on the edge of a small pebble beach and not in view from the main footpath. I read these directions in a small book I found in a cottage while on Mull, the writer stated that if you look out to sea and line up the very highest point of The Dutchman's Cap with the very left end of Lunga Island you will be standing at the same position as the cave.

These directions were spot on and if you do this you'll no doubt be stood above the cave. The footpath narrows at one point just before the ascent up to Crackaig and a small grassy ravine with a faint and steep path runs down to a small pebble beach. This beach is the one that has the Whisky Cave hidden on its right hand side, obvious however once your down on the beach. The Whisky Cave is thought to have been used as an illegal distillery. The huge mound of earth at the front of the cave was built to block any possible view of the fire from passing boats and inside the cave the stone circle and platforms are actually the remains of the illicit still.

Atlantic Views

Atlantic Views

Steep Cruachan gully

Steep Cruachan gully

After the cave and back on the main footpath heading south not long after you will come across the remains of old walls where once there stood a chapel. Where you see these remains and also start to see a wood on the hill to your left, you need to go uphill following a steep path up the easiest ascent of the valley to Crackaig. This is the hardest part of the walk as it is quite steep and not a clear path. Once at the top of the valley the land will flatten out somewhat and to your left you should now see the charming little remains of the old village of Crackaig. The buildings of Crackaig have a noticeable rounded corner, this clever design was to deflect high winds and inclement weather conditions. The surroundings are amazing and the views are out of this world but it must have been a harsh life in winter. A few hundred yards to the north east of Crackaig is the similar ruins of the village of Glac Gugairidh. The two villages were abandoned a long time ago, but unlike many crofts and villages they did not fall because of the highland clearances but because of a deadly outbreak of Typhoid.

Whisky Cave

Whisky Cave

Crackaig

Crackaig

From Glac Gugairidh a fairly obvious footpath heads north east towards boggy moorland. Follow this path for about a mile over heather and bog until you see a large house in front. This three floored house now renovated was once the local school that served the children of the now abandoned villages. Follow the signposts round the house and onto the houses track that leads back down to the B8073. Turn left onto the B8073 road and follow it downhill for about a mile and you'll find yourself back at the old quarry car park.

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Photos taken on this walk

 

These photo's are taken from a trek while on holiday on the Isle Of Mull with Nicky on December 18th 2006.
Tostary Cottage Treshnish Farm and Calgary Bay Looking towards Rum and Skye from Teshnish Gate at Haunn Port Haunn Myself looking out to the Treshnish Isles Raised beach below cliffs of Beinn Duill Dramatic scene at Rubh a Chaoil Snow capped Ben More in the distance Wild beauty of the Treshnish Headland Sea Otter runs away from us at lunch Myself using a buoy as a Space Hopper Shag on the rocks Low winter sunshine over the North Atlantic Ocean The Whisky Cave The steep gully and streams up to Cruachan Steep ascent to Crackaig The abandoned township of Crackaig Seaward views from Crackaig Crackaig croft ruin with rounded corners The abandoned township of Glac Gugairidh Stream by the road bend near Ensay




Videos taken on this walk

 

This video is compiled from a trek while on holiday on the Isle Of Mull with Nicky on December 18th 2006.





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