… or Luinn in Gaelic (and pronounced “Ling”).
Your Luing experience starts when you get on the ferry at Cuan Ferry (sometimes also called North Cuan) on the most southerly point of Seil. Luing is a island just off the Argyll coast, a bit south of Oban.
At the last count Luing’s population was about 200. The main settlements are at Cullipool, Toberonochy and Blackmill Bay. Farming, fishing and tourism are listed by Wiki as the main economic activities. I didn’t see much evidence of tourism. It’s “home” to the rare pedigree Luing cattle, bred specifically to thrive in the island’s environment.
Back to that ferry. You pay on board – £10.05 return for a car with driver. The crossing takes 2 or 3 minutes.
The arrival point on Luing is South Cuan. From there you take the only road, heading south.
South Cuan has a few houses and a caravan site, but I didn’t stop to explore.
The road is single track throughout the island. You have to take it slowly, and especially so at blind summits or corners. As well as (very) occasionally meeting other vehicles, you have to beware of sheep and cattle on the road.
After a mile or so you come to the Cullipool junction on the right. Cullipool is the main village on the island.
You’ll find the village shop/post office there (on the right as you come into the village) and the Atlantic Islands Centre. I didn’t have to use the shop, but I did use the Centre. You’ll get snacks and/or lunch there – toilets too!
Cullipool was the main slate quarrying site on the island and (ignoring what’s been done to the environment by quarrying) is attractive with its whitewashed cottages.
Next… back to the main road, going south again. A sign to Blackmill Bay will appear on the right. It was the ferry point when large boats between Oban and the south stopped at the island, and was also used for transporting slate. Now it is just a handful of houses on an attractive little bay, with views over to Scarba. The pier is derelict.
After that, your island tour takes you south again on the main road. The road ends at the village of Toberonochy on the east coast. It is a bit smaller than Cullipool. Another collection of whitewashed cottages with an attractive anchorage.
I had hoped to cycle around Luing – you can rent a bike for £15 for the day – or even walk, but the weather was wet so I ended up in the car. Pity. Ideal for walking or cycling.
Like so many of the islands in the Hebrides it has its own unique character, and is another world for us mainlanders. A lovely place to visit.
ⓒ iain taylor 2016