The Ringing Stone and Dun Mor Broch, Tiree

Start. Traigh Mhor.

Route. Traigh Mhor - Gott Farm - Loch Riaghain - Loch na Gile - Ringing Stone - Am Beannan Ruadh - Loch an Fhaing - Dun Mor - Dun Beag Fort - Vaul Bay - Vaul - Vaul Golf Course - Traigh Mhor.

Notes. This circular walk explored a small slice of Tiree's pre-history. We wander through a landscape dotted with small lochens, alive with wild fowl, ancient tracks guided us above boggy ground under big skies before a delightful stroll along the ragged edge where land meets sea, faint paths ushered us to The Ringing Stone, Dun Mor and Dun Beag fort.

After parking on the grass verge at Traigh Mhor we wandered west to a road junction baring a sign pointing to Gott, with tarmac under foot the narrow lane ushered us to Gott Farm where the road terminated to be replaced by a green track, rough in places, a delight to walk in others this green trod guided us through grassland and marshland passed Loch Riaghain and a number of smaller unnamed lochens before depositing us on the ragged north coast. We turned right (east) a faint path then lead over the firm flower rich grasses of the machair, with the sea to our left we soon reached the Ringing Stone. Scholars reliably inform us this large round boulder traveled from Rum during the last ice age, deposited on the younger rock of Tiree when the ice sheets melted. Adorned with 53 circular and oval “cup marks” etched out by Beaker People 4,500 years ago, it must have had some significance, maybe a spiritual boulder, and yes when struck with a smaller stone it does ring.

We continued along the coast, after passing a small beach a wall and fence blocked our way, we wandered along the fence line to be met by a discreet stile allowing access to a large field, this field contained many rocky outcrops, the bones of the land breaking through the shallow top soil, it is also home to Loch an Fhaing and Dun Mor Broch. Little remains of this fortified safe house, built around 60AD on a rocky knoll overlooking the sea, a couple of parallel walls enclose chambers and corridors around a circular living space. We continued along the coast stopping to explore Dun Beag fort, even less remains but the views it commands are fabulous, we drank them in before wandering on to Vaul Bay a stunning arch of gleaming white sand backed by the tiny township of Vaul. From the traditional houses of Vaul a tarmac lane guided us back across the island, past Vaul Golf Course before reaching Traigh Mhor once again, a short walk back along the road should have followed but the tide was out, who could resist a stroll over a beautiful beach, not us.

view route map.


Traigh Mhor a wonderful silver strand.

From the parked car the tidal island of Soa seen over Gott Bay.

The island's littered with lonely white buildings old and new.

Loch Riaghain," Loch of the Snare", the largest loch passed en route.

This ancient boundary wall aided our traverse over some of the wetter sections.

Sue strides on passed two un-named lochens.

Looking south over the lonely landscape we've just passed through, the cluster of houses on the horizon being Kirkpol.

The Ringing Stone, a glacial erratic originating from Rum, 53 "cup marks "adorn the boulder, tap it with a smaller stone (not to hard, you wouldn't want to damage it) it rings.

The lonely north coast of Tiree.

Views along the jagged edge where land meets sea and the bones of the island poke through the shallow top soil.

One of Tiree's lonely north coast beaches.

Perched on a rocky knoll above the sea the broch of Dun Mor.

Looking to Dun Beag, Iron Age fort, little remains but scale the low knoll, the views are terrific.

This traditional island house marks the start of the scattered township of Vaul.

The scene over Vaul Bay.

Just standing soaking up the view, alluring Vaul Bay backed by the sands of Traigh Bhalla.

Restored traditional Tiree-style houses, high roofs coated in tar drain into a sand-filled gap between two parallel walls.

Idly wandering back over the silver sands of Traigh Mhor.

It's May on Tiree, the driest month, where are all the people? just the two of us, this was a scene played out on most of Tiree's stunning beaches the week of our visit.

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