After crossing from Elgol we stopped for an explore on the corner of Soay where there is a small Loch and sheltered trees.
After the Second World War Gavin Maxwell bought Soay and started an enterprise hunting Basking Sharks. His processing plant was situated in the idyllic Soay Harbour. When the money ran out much of it was abandoned while Maxwell retreated to Sandaig Islands on the mainland in the Straits between Skye and Glenelg.
This isn't a trip with strong tidal currents, but never the less, arriving at high water meant we didn't have much of a carry to get the boats up out of the water and close to the camping.
The headland at Rubha an Dunain shows signs of occupation from Neolithic times with a chambered cairn to the west of the Loch, the Iron Age fortified wall and the Viking Boatyard.
Look at a map of the western tips of North West Scotland and the place names change from Gaelic to Norse in origin, with hills such as Askival and Ainshval on Rum.
Remains of blackhouses and walls, looking towards Canna.
The peninsula was once a thriving community, but with the Clearances and Potato famine many of the residents left for America and Canada. The ruins of their blackhouses are harder to find than the Tacksman's House who was put here to look after the flocks of sheep that replaced them.
One of the last owners of the Rubh' an Dunain house was Hugh MacAskill who went on to found the Talisker Distillery. By 1861 however the census shows no residents were left.
Sometimes there are advantages to waking up in the night and going outside, this was the sight that greeted us at about 2am with the moonlight reflecting from the water.
In the morning we sat on the headland next to the Dun with a coffee, and in the distance watched the spectacle of about 200 Common Dolphins travel into the sound between us and Rum. They were in a long line, spread out in small groups so that the whole procession took about half an hour to pass.
Even though it all came in the kayaks there's always that nagging doubt it's all going to fit back in...........
Cliffs, north caost of Soay Sound
The north coast of Soay Sound is where the Cuillin meet the sea. Cliffs rise initially onto wooded slopes and the many allts that drain the bogs seep and fall down the cliffs. Allt na Meacnaish, which starts its journey in Coir' a' Ghrunnda, below Skye's highest peak, Sgurr Alasdair finds it's way to the sea here. With few visitors ever treading this way it's magical coast and the shingle beach at Ulfhart Point is a great place to stop and take stock. WIth the abundance of fresh water to wash in it's also a good place to see otters.
The view into Loch Coruisk is one not to miss and the islands and inlets at the head of Loch Scavaig, with their seals, red deer and birds make a fantastic trip in their own right.
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