Sunday, 10 August 2014

Running Islay (3) : Bowmore to Cruach and beyond (12k)

This road run follows the beginning of the Islay half marathon course, but instead of heading  on down towards the airport it loops back to Bowmore with a distance of just over 12k (7.5 miles).

The run starts off in the centre of Bowmore, heading up Main Street, and then following the road round to the right as it passes the famous round church on the left. But immediately past the church, instead of continuing on the main road, there is a road on the left signposted to Cruach. Takes this undulating road as it passes the cemetery and heads out into open country.

The first four and a half km follows this quiet single track road, passing just a few houses and farm buildings at Cruach. I couldn't resist briefly coming off my route to run to the top of this little hill which you pass on your left as you come up to the 3 km mark - the hill is marked on the detailed OS map as 'Sithean Mor' ('the big fairy knoll'). I just ran up the track pictured and then back down again on to the road.

Sithean Mor

The road continues past Loch Tallant on the left (pictured below), before coming to an end where it meets the high road from Bowmore to Port Ellen (B8016). This single lane road is nowhere near as busy as the main road (the A486) but it has been resurfaced in recent years so does attract some traffic. As elsewhere on Islay narrow roads, keep your wits about you and your headphones off if you don't want to have to jump out of the way of a distillery lorry or other vehicle. At the junction turn left (as opposed to the Islay half marathon route which turns right here).

Loch Tallant
Stay on this road for another 4 km or so, until it meets the main road between Bowmore and Bridgend. At this point turn left and follow the road back into Bowmore, with Lochindaal on your right.

Back in Bowmore, if you are in need of post-run refreshment I recommend the excellent coffee and cake upstairs in the Celtic House on the corner of Shore Street and Main Street.

For zoomable map, see this route at mapmyrun

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