My wife and I visited the West Coast of Scotland about 18 months ago for an impromptu break away. We stayed near Oban and explored the local area but one place that will always remain in my memory is the little island of Easdale.
(Note – I’ve sadly lost the pictures I took so the pictures below are all from Wikimedia Commons)
Easdale, as the map below shows, is about a 35 minutes drive from Oban. Well at least it is 35 minutes to the ferry terminal. You then have to take a small boat on a 5 minute ferry crossing to the island.
The island has no roads (which is a joy) and a population of approximately 60. Facilities on the island include a development trust, folk museum and an excellent cafe/bar – the Puffer. It is most famous for the World Skimming Championships due to the massive amounts of slate on the island, as well as the pools that have been formed by quarrying in the past.
We were lucky enough to visit on a sunny day and it made it one of the most delightful and peaceful little trips I’ve ever been on. We had a quick wander around the village before having an excellent couple of sandwiches at the Puffer. Considering it’s relative remoteness the Puffer is an excellent establishment and needs to be visited if you are on the island. We then visited the folk museum which was very pleasant and it was interesting to understand how the island has changed and developed over time. What really struck us was how incredibly friendly everyone was in the village.
Although we enjoyed the village, the highlight of the trip was exploring out to the rest of the island where the slate quarrying used to happen. The area is full of overgrown foliage, abandoned houses and a number of huge pools formed by the quarrying and filled in by the sea. There was a real sense of melancholy with it all, but also a peacefulness that was very refreshing. Best of all was the views we had to the north and the west to Mull, particularly it’s mountains.
Although small, Easdale is perfectly formed and a delightful place to visit. If you find yourself on the west coast of Scotland, take a bit of time to visit this peaceful island.