Carna Loch Sunart


Carna Island, The dinosaur island guarding Loch Sunart. A quick scramble to the top o a very wet and windy west coast day.

Scotislands Carna summit
Summit looking west to Oronsay and Mull




From the west Carna rises steeply up from loch Sunart with the distinctive dragons back skyline. The island is mostly Moine schist with mica schist intruding along the west coastline.

Scotislands Carna Shoreline
Shoreline with Nordic Fulmar at anchor

The day was wet and miserable, we had just spent three hours on Oronsay slogging our way the length of the island. There were two choices open to us. Back the boat for a cup of tea or simply press on and climb Carna. The dragon had to be slayed so we decided to crack on with wet and miserable option.

Approaching from the west Carna looks a brute of a climb through thick undergrowth of bracken and through trees, bush and higher ground heather and knobles of bare rock. Having been in head height bracken on Oronsay the thought of pushing our way through the jungle on Carna held little appeal. We did not have time to fully explore Carna and visit the eastern shore where there are the houses and landing jetty.

Nordic Fulmar lay at anchor at Dorlinn Bay by the nearby island Oronsay. We motored across Loch Teacuis to a small stone beach that broke the shoreline of rock and cliff. With the dinghy safely dragged up from the water we sighed and turned into the deep undergrowth.

Scotislands Carna vigitation undergrowth
Welcome to Carna

The rise was quite brutal and often the best technique was to grab grass or bracken and haul ourselves up and up the side of the hill. Like so many of these outings to the hills and islands I adopted the customary position of six paces behind Willie and he worked his route through gully, shoulder and outcrop. Eventually we emerged from the tree line to heather and thinning bracken. From there it was hands on knees and a grind up the slope. The last rise to the top was a scramble up bare rock of Cruachan Charna at 169 m.

Scotislands Carna summit
Summit looking west to Oronsay and Mull


Scotislands Carna looking to Risga
Summit looking north to Risga
Wet times Alan Rankin at a bleak summit

We topped out and as turned to enjoy the view we could see the familiar grey rain clouds heading our way. The summit video and stills were hurriedly shot and then the rain hit. Willie was off like a shot heading back down the hill. I was not far behind him. The downhill technique was a mix of careful foot placement and sliding down grass and heather banks. We emerged on the shore-line some 50 meters from the dinghy, a damn fine job of ready reckoning by Willie.

Back on the dinghy we shot back to Nordic Fulmar and the waiting hot tea and dry clothes.

The Isle of Carna provides the ideal place to escape with family, friends or alone. This private Scottish island gives a chance to reconnect with yourself, others and our abundant native wildlife in peace and seclusion whilst supporting our conservation projects and the local community. The island has been owned by the Milward-Towers families since 1881 and offers a range of accommodation, walking and wildlife watching tours on land and afloat. For more information is available on the island website.