Caolas nan Gall

Portnahaven and Port Wemyss are two fishing villages on the south-western tip of the island of Islay. They are protected from the Atlantic rollers by the islands of Orsay and Eilean an Mhic Coinnich.

We arrived on a falling tide, with waves breaking in the Caolas nan Gall, the narrows which separates the islands, and the northerly tidal race seemingly at its maximum. The fast moving water didn’t seem to bother the seals though.

Caolas nan Gall means the ‘Lowlander’s Channel’, said to refer to Norsemen arriving in association with the battle of Largs in the 13th-century1Ailig, A. and Morgan, P. (2013). ETHNONYMS IN THE PLACE-NAMES OF SCOTLAND AND THE BORDER COUNTIES OF ENGLAND. Page 55. [online] Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/18268724.pdf [Accessed 14 May 2022]..

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