Ardantrive / Aird ant-Snaimh
The Place of the Swimming Cattle
To the south of the marina is the site of a drove road that has a special place in Scottish agricultural history. Before the advent of steamships and railways, the only way to transport beef cattle from the glens of the north to the towns was to walk them.
Cattle from as far away as Coll were collected by cattle dealers and walked to market, avoiding towns (in case of theft), metalled roads (because of the wear on the hooves) and bridges (for fear of accidents).
One drover might be in charge of up to 60 beasts and as the drive progressed he (drovers were always men) would be joined by herds from other areas, grouping together for companionship & protection.
Cattle from Coll would be shipped in small boats to Mull, walked to Grass Point at the mouth of Loch Don and - joined by herds from Mull - shipped to the pier at Barr-nam-Boc / Barnabuck on Kerrera. They were then driven past Slaterich and the Fairy Hills to Ardentrive where they were swum across the narrow kyle from Rubha Chruidh (Cow Point) to Dunollie and on to Oban and the markets of the south.
A short walk from the marina takes you the memorial to David Hutcheson who set up a regular steamer service to the Hebrides in 1835. This service was the forerunner of the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries of today.
From here you can walk to the west side of the island where there is a small beach with safe swimming if you are brave enough for the North Sea.
If you are prepared to battle the ferns in the summer, you can continue round on a circular path back to the marina.
South of the Island
For a fabulous day's walk, head down the west coast of the island spotting otters and seals on your way to visit Gylen Castle.
Home to the Clan MacDougall, it was built in 1582 and 65 years later came under siege, its occupants were massacred and it was set on fire. The castle was restored in 2006 and is open daily (with no entry charge).
Stop for lunch & home cooking in the delightful Kerrera Tea Gardens (open May to October).
Total distance 10 miles - further details and a map are available from reception.
Map drawn by Derek McManus from SY Caraway with thanks