Monday 25 April 2011

Tockmal on the Oa

The old abandoned village of Tockmal on the Oa is about half a mile inland from Soldier's Rock and a couple of miles from Kintra Farm.

Like all of the abandoned villages on Islay it is a bleak place and it is difficult to imagine lives led among these rude piles of stones.

The quality of land round about is very poor - some of the houses are now sitting in bogs, presumably they were artificially drained when people lived in them.

They are now left to the Scottish Black-face sheep - hardy animals.  This lamb can only have been a few hours old.

There are a lot of buildings at Tockmal, many can be seen still standing but there is evidence of many more that have all but disappeared.

In addition to the buildings there are a lot of substantial earthworks such as these parallel walls enclosing a sort of road.  I have no idea what they were used for - but a great deal of labour was involved in building them.


  1. The parallel walls formed the banks of a channel bringing water from the burn to a mill.

  2. I'm planning on walking out this way in September to see Soldier Rock. How tough or dangerous of a trek would you say it is after the road ends at Frachdale?

  3. My great grandad Angus Macmillan and his brothers William and Norman lived here. They had leases terminated and were cleared. Exported to Canada and the antipodes. Grandad missed his girlfriend and came home to marry her after studying agriculture at Guelph University and qualifying as a teacher. Norman died in Oz. William moved to NZ and created a farm from virgin land. He never saw his family again despite living well into his 90s. His sons are still alive so we have living testament to what happened here. Ethnic cleansing in the late 19th Century...