Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Isles to Be - Sanda

This is the final Isles to Be installment - for now, anyway. The island is Sanda, off the southern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula. The island's previous owners had a go at offering accommodation and a pub. The current owners no longer do that, and do not encourage visitors. When it was operating, the pub claimed to be the most remote in the UK.  I think the owners of the Old Forge in Inverie might disagree with that claim.

The pub was named 'The Byron Darnton', after a ship that went aground on the island.

The Pub - now closed
Even though the pub is closed, I still want to set foot on the island. Two sites appeal: St Ninian's Chapel, and the Stevenson lighthouse. The chapel dates to at least the 14th century, and was once a sanctuary. 

St Ninian's Chapel and burial ground
A kilometre away, on the south side of the island, is the 1850 Stevenson lighthouse. It has a unique feature, its two stair-towers. These give access to the lighthouse, which sits atop a rock, 30 metres above the sea.

A reef near the ligthhouse is called Prince Edward's Rock, after Edward Bruce, the brother of Robert Bruce. Edward became King of Ireland, and died fighting at Dun Dealgan, 100 miles away. The island was associated with another Bruce in the late 1960s, when Jack Bruce, bassist for Cream, owned the island.

Sanda is difficult to get to. It lies in an exposed spot in the sea, and is a long run for cruises based on the west coast. I will probably have to arrange a private charter to get there. To celebrate landing on this elusive isle, I'll have to bring my own refreshments. Unless, that is, I can talk them into opening the pub.

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