Ceann a' Mhara and Traigh Bhi.

Start. Loch a' Phuill.

Route. Loch a' Phuill - Traigh Bhi - St Patrick's Chapel - Ceann a' Mhara - Beinn Crann a' Mhara - Mullach Mor Loch a' Phuill.

Notes. While most of Tiree's coast line is fairly flat, often fingers of rock dissect stunning strands backed by extensive dune systems or fertile machair, Ceann a' Mhara is an exception, here rugged dramatic coastal scenery draws you to the edge where the island meets the churning waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This was certainly a walk of contrasts, a stroll over the sand of a beautiful beach followed by an exploration of a rugged headland.

We parked on a dedicated parking area on the machair grassland near Loch a' Phuill, a gate at the south end of the car park allowed access to a path leading to the beach. With the waters of Abhainn a' Bheidhe and a fence line to guide us we wandered over the machair through the dunes and onto a staggeringly beautiful arch of sand, this was Traigh Bhi and the only thing spoiling the scene was us. We idled West wandering towards the headland, I was fighting the urge to stay on the beach, call it a day there and then. Once the beach ended we continued walking along the rugged coastline, we stopped briefly at St Patrick's Chapel, a ruinous chapel dating back to the 7th century possibly replacing an earlier building. We continued along the jagged edge where land meets sea before being forced to ascend when deep inlets blocked our way.

Climbing a grassy ridge faint paths lead to a fence line guarding the cliff edge, dizzy views onto a churning sea welcomed us, a few sea birds ducked a dived below our feet, more roosted on the cliffs below. Our friend the fence guided us to a fine cairn marking the summit of Ceann a' Mhara, we sat around for ages before moving on. Reluctantly we descended into a grassy hollow, the fence line continued up the next slope, it ushered us to the summit of Bienn Ceann a' Mhara, we found a comfy perch and sat just drinking in fabulous vistas over sea and land. The fence then descended Mullach Mor, we descended with it, when it swung left we continued descending over pathless ground our aiming point a lone sheepfold on the edge of the dune system. Just before reaching the fold we accessed a good path that ushered us through the dunes back to the parked car.

view route map.


The Abhainn a' Bheidhe and this fence line guides towards the Atlantic Ocean....

....and this, Traigh Bhi a staggering beautiful dune backed beach.

Across Balephuil Bay the headland we're aiming for, Ceann a' Mhara if we can bring ourselves to leave the beach.

Looking to the houses of West Hynish with Ben Hynish rising behind.

Ceann a' Mhara guards and closes the eastern edge of this fabulous strand.

The radar station on Carnan Mor, we sailed from Oban on a full ferry, where are all the people, is there a better place than this to spend your leisure time?

Wonderful silvery seascapes.

Looking back to Traigh Bhi, our route embraces the rocky coastline from here on.

The sad remains of St Patrick's Chapel, it is widely believed that St Comgall who traveled with St Colomba dedicated this small chapel to St Patrick who never had the pleasure of setting foot on Tiree.

Unless we want wet feet we've been forced to ascend this grassy ridge, deep inlets block our way.

Gain a little height and the views to the east are staggering, melting into the horizon the Isle of Mull.

Tiree is certainly a magical place. especially when the weather's like this, Traigh nan Gilean backed by Bienn Hough and the fertile coastal plane.

Yours truly enjoying the Tiree sunshine perched on the summit of Ceann a' Mhara.

Changing seascapes, shimmering sands and big skies, it doesn't get any better than this.

From the summit of Bienn Ceann a' Mhara a stunning view across Traigh Bhi.

Looking west over Loch a' Phuill.

From the summit cairn on Bienn Ceann a' Mhara, beyond fertile Tiree, blue/grey on the horizon the mountains of Mull.

Our guide back through the dune system, a quick look back to Ceann a' Mhara.

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