The day had a certain crispness about it - a blue sky with silky clouds and clear clear views. We'd timed our walk with the receding tide so we could have maximum time to walk over the sands to the tiny flat island of Bhalaigh (pron Vallay).
Our 'pathway' was only in our heads and on the map as each day the previous footprints were washed away by the sea leaving a pristine silvery grey landscape and a small green slash on the horizon. This was our destination. Along the way we had to watch out for the deeper channels in the sands and harder ridges that stubbed the toes.
In places the sea lingered, leaving twinkling salty mirrors which Moss and Youngest ran through splashing and laughing along our 2 mile tidal reach. The distant island growing ever closer. The only land mark being a small grassy rock halfway which guided us towards Bhalaigh.
We walked up the stony flower lined track towards the ruin which grew more impressive with every step. Hidden by the machair was the erstwhile stately now rusty fence and gates. We were lead directly to the front door. Now too dangerous to enter we peeped inside trying to imagine it's previous splendour.
My heart felt a pang when we discovered the main room's fireplace. Still a verdant jade green with the once brilliant red walls now peeling and fading. I could only imagine the parties and celebrations that may have occurred in this former grand room.
Once we'd seen what we could of the main house, we turned our attentions to the adjacent farm house and buildings. Looking as ruinous as the main house, once we'd explored we discovered they seemed to have weathered a little better than the mansion. One of the cottages with a bit of love and attention could be modestly lived in.
After we'd filled our eyes and our conversations with the houses, we dropped off the small island on to an even tinier one. No bigger than a large rock, we sat, opened the flask and the shortbread biscuits and revelled in the sunshine. Ever conscious on the returning tide we explored just a little more before removing boots and heading for the sands for the return journey. The sea following our every step.
I have already put in a request that we return to this little island - and if you can't get there to explore it for yourself - these links will certainly help ...
Vallay (Bhalaigh)Island walk
Vallay House - photos (these must have been taken when it was still possible to enter the house)
'Nothing to see here'