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Exploring the coast of Ardtun

July 31, 2018

A walk along the coast at Ardtun, near Bunessan, is suited to those with a more adventurous outlook as the going can be very rough in places. But it is a fascinating part of the Ross of Mull and worth the effort if you take care, so we set off on a fine afternoon last week to explore the coast and try a bit of fishing. The waters of Loch Scridain were a beautiful blue green and crystal clear, perfect for snorkelling and the views across Loch Scridain to Burg and the Ardmeanach Peninsula are breathtaking. At this time of year the moorland is very colourful with acres of purple loosestrife and knapweed intermingled with white meadowsweet, with contrasting sunny patches of yellow cat’s ear and ragwort. Ragwort is the favourite food plant of the yellow and black striped caterpillars of the cinnabar moth, which we spotted as we set out to reach the coast. The walk along the beach is rocky and unlike the red granite around Fionnphort, the rock is black basalt. This has its own charm with basalt columns at all angles, reminiscent of Staffa. Ardtun is famous for fossilised leaf beds which attract geologists and fossil hunters although the terrain is challenging. Fossils can sometimes be found on the gully floor of the leaf beds which show the pattern of leaf veins from leaves growing at Ardtun about 54 million years ago - a similar date to the famous fossil tree on Ardmeanach. We tried a bit of fishing off the rocks in the hope of catching mackerel, but they weren’t around. However one of us did catch a nice ballan wrasse which was returned to the sea. We will explore Ardtun further and happy to pass on our experiences to our more intrepid guests!