Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kilnave Hermitage 1

On the west coast of Islay, four miles from Kilnave, lies a complex site, part of which may have been a hermitage associated with the monastery at Kilnave. To get there leave your car near Sanaigmore and follow the coastline west. After a mile, start to work your way uphill and head over to the western cliffs. As you do, keep an eye out for this little peninsula. Click here for some aerial photos and a full description of the site.

The remains of a promontory fort lie to the north of this peninsula. But what I'd come to see, and barely visible from the cliff top, was a cluster of beehive cells and some odd, kidney shaped structures. I'd read somewhere (in a book, I've misplaced and do not remember the title of) that these little buildings may have been a place of retreat for the monks of Kilnave.

Wanting to see the ruins up close I found two narrow ravines that led down to the peninsula. The southern one was narrow, steep, and scary. But there was a rough track down the wider, northern one. Tomorrow we'll head down it for a closer look.

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