Port Ellen and The Oa

Kilnaughton Bay Copyright: Becky WilliamsonPort Ellen lies at the eastern side of a large bay. This can be viewed from the road leading out of the village and, at the western side, from the pleasant sandy strand of Kilnaughton Bay. This is reached by taking the turning beside Port Ellen distillery and heading for The Oa (pronounced 'O' as in 'road'). The bay holds divers and seaducks. Continue along the narrow road on to The Oa through a mixture of farmland, rough pasture, forestry and moorland. As the road nears the sea at the far end, take the left-hand turn signposted to Upper Killeyan and the American Monument, looking like a lighthouse standing on the cliffs of the Mull of Oa.

Mull of Oa Copyright: David Woods - Fotolia.comThere is a small carpark a short distance along with a footpath signposted to the Monument, clearly visible ahead. This area is now an RSPB reserve and improvements have been made to both the signage and the paths, with a circular route continuing from the Monument along the cliffs and eventually back to the carpark. There are no restrictions on access, but please shut all gates behind you as there are cattle and sheep on the land. The Monument stands above 400-foot cliffs with impressive views east to the Dun Athad promontory and Beinn Mhor. It is always worth keeping an eye cocked skyward hereabouts for Golden Eagle.

Typical species: Greenland Whitefronts in fields; Buzzard, Peregrine, Golden Eagle, Rock Dove, Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Raven, Chough, Wheatear, Twite around cliffs.

See also: Main Birdwatching Localities on Islay