Loch Gruinart RSPB Nature Reserve
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Tens of thousands of geese arrive each autumn
The number of wintering geese is staggering; they cover the flats at the head of the loch like a carpet, and up to 24,000 have been recorded at one time. Photographers and bird-watchers alike come to the loch at dawn to watch thousands of barnacle geese fly off for a day of foraging, and at dusk watch them return to roost on the mudflats. White-tailed and golden eagles soar over the mudflats in winter looking for prey.
The best time to see the geese is in October, when the geese first arrive at Loch Gruinart from Greenland. The geese spend about a week resting on the mudflats after their journey, and there can be as many as 18,000 resting at any one time.
Seasonal HighlightsI mentioned the geese that arrive in Autumn. In spring the reserve is home to wading birds, including lapwing, curlew, snipe, and redshanks. Corncrakes take centre stage in May, and in June hen harriers fly low over the moorland trail and the air is thick with marsh fritillary butterflies. Twenty four species of dragonflies and butterflies make the reserve their home.
Three miles north of the RSPB visitor centre is the ruined medieval chapel at Kilnave, well worth visiting to see the 8th century cross that stands in front of the chapel entrance.
Because Islay is an island the 'nearest accommodation' properties listed below may not be on Islay itself but on the Scottish mainland. The best source we have found for accommodation on the island is Isle of Islay.com, a dedicated local website offering a wonderful mix of local information, history, activities, and accommodation information.
About Loch Gruinart RSPB
Address: Bushmill Cottages, Gruinart, Bridgend, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, PA44 7PP
Attraction Type: Countryside
Location: The RSPB visitor centre is on the B8017 5 miles north west of Bridgend
Website: Loch Gruinart RSPB
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Kilnave Chapel and Cross - 2.7 miles (Historic Church)
Kilchoman Crosses and Old Church - 4.4 miles (Historic Church)
Bowmore Round Church - 5.3 miles (Historic Church)
Museum of Islay Life - 5.5 miles (Museum)
Kilchiaran Chapel and Cup Stone - 6.2 miles (Historic Church)
Kilmeny Old Parish Church - 7.1 miles (Historic Church)
Dun Nosebridge - 7.4 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Finlaggan Castle - 7.4 miles (Castle)
Nearest Accommodation to Loch Gruinart RSPB:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Loch Gruinart RSPB Nature Reserve. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Bowmore (Isle of Islay)
Tourist Information Centre
Isle of Islay
Argyll and Bute
Tel: 01496 810 254