Tuesday 1 July 2014

Camping and caves at Bagh an Da Dhoruis

Wow! What a trip this was! Two days away from toil and trouble; days when you have to pinch yourself to know you're still human and living on earth and not on some amazing Paradise. Of course, Islay can be utopian, or almost (there are always midges and clegs and tics to remind us of its earthly status). Those aside, however, and you're left with something so idyllic you want to invent a new word for the occasion. Walking from Bunnahabhain northwards and inland, we descended very steeply to the beautiful Bagh an Da Dhoruis where the sunshine and clegs welcomed us and the caves beckoned. Armed with a good torch and the gung ho attitude of our youngest two members, we set off to explore Islay's inner core. The intrepid need not read on. It was a belly crawling experience in parts with the wonder of stalactites and stalagmites, spiders, dead goats and cave pools bathed in sunshine. We went in about 200 metres to the rear of the cave's chamber where you could stand up in complete darkness and be afraid - very afraid! We emerged from the cave's birth canal onto sun-kissed sand and sea, gathered wood and had a banana BBQ before hitting the pillow. Of course we saw lots of flora and fauna en route:

Cross-leaved Heath, Bell Heather, Bog Asphodel, Tormentil, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Heath-spotted Orchid, Wild Thyme, Thrift, Sea Campion, Flag Iris, Milkwort, Lesser Spearwort, Meadow Buttercup, Bog Myrtle, Self-heal, White Clover, Red Clover, Bracken, Marsh Bedstraw, Eyebright, Marsh Thistle, Creeping Thistle, Spear Thistle, Common Nettle, Common Cottongrass, Round-leaved Sundew, Butterwort, Foxglove, Bilberry, Wild Strawberry, St John's Wort sp

Pheasant, yellowhammer, Redpoll, Blackbird, Wren, Stonechat, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Shag, Kestrel, Peregrine, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Black Guillemot, Fulmar, Gannet, Swallow, Arctic Tern, Hooded Crow, Cuckoo

Grey Seal, Red Deer, Common Frog, Common Lizard, Rabbit

Sea Gooseberries, Dung Beetle, Large Heath, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Ringlet, Peacock caterpillars, Forester Moth, Elephant Hawk Moth, Emperor Moth (caterpillars), Green Tiger Beetle, Carabus glabratus, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Large Red Damselfly, Pond Skaters, mating Bumble bee sp

A fantastic trip!

Bagh an Da Dhoruis

Emperor Moth caterpillar - final instar

Forester Moth

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Mating Bumble Bees

Peacock caterpillars

Sun-kissed sand


Into the grim grotto!