Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cairnaburg Chapel

During a trip to Staffa, the boat I was on passed through the narrow channel between the islands of Cairn na Burgh Mor and Cairn a Burgh Beg. Standing atop Cairn na Burgh Mor were two ruins; one was a low rectangular structure known as the Barracks, and the other, a much more intriguing structure, a 15th century chapel. As the boat continued on its way back to Ulva Ferry I promised myself that someday I'd find a way to get ashore on the tiny Cairnaburgs.

There were (and still are) no regular boat trips to the Cairnburgs. If you want to get ashore your options are either to sign up for a cruise that visits that part of the Hebrides, or to pay (a lot) for a charter day-trip. I have tried both methods. On a cruise in the area on Halmar Bjorge, the wind and sea were a bit agitated, and we were unable to land. But I did manage to get ashore to see the chapel by arranging a day-trip from Tobermory on one of the Sea-Life RIBs. Here are a few up-close photos of the chapel, and for a complete description of that visit to both of the Cairnaburgs see book 1, chapter 18.

Sea-Life RIB off Cairn a Burgh Beg
Cairn a Burgh Mor chapel
Chapel seen from the interior of the island
East gable and the altar
The Altar

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