- Seil, Slate Islands
- Thursday 10th March 2022
We were off to explore another Island, Seil.
Seil is one of the Slate Islands (the most northerly), located on the east side of the Firth of Lorn, approximatley 7 miles southwest of Oban, in Scotland.
These Islands are known as the Slate Islands because in the mid-19th century, the island’s slate quarries exported millions of roofing slates every year. The quarrying industry has long since gone, leaving behind dilapidated old buildings as well as pretty little villages of whitewashed cottages built for the slate workers.
Seil is separated from the mainland by the thinnest of sea channels which is spanned by an elegant 18th century humpback Clachan Bridge, popularly known as the ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’. Opinions differ about whether Seil should be counted as an island at all.
This beautiful bridge was built in 1792/3 for the sum of £450.
The single arch of the bridge is 72ft wide allowing ships to pass beneath.
Just over the bridge you come to the attractive and welcoming Tigh an Truish Inn. The name means house of the trousers and comes from the period after the 1745 rebellion when kilts were banned. This was the place where islanders heading for the mainland (then without the benefit of the bridge) were said to have swapped their kilts for trousers!
The island’s main village is called Ellenabeich, and here the character of the island changes dramatically as scattered habitation is swapped for a much rougher and rockier feel.
Although it does have a few rows of very neat white terraced cottages crouching below black cliffs.
Ellenabeich has featured in a number of TV and films including Para Handy and Ring of Bright Water.
The village’s main attraction is the Scottish Slate Islands’ Heritage Centre which is housed in one of the little white cottages.
Ellenabeich is one of the finest areas on the islands for offering excellent views west towards Ellenabeich (an actual island confusing with the name of this place), Easdale Island and Mull beyond.
Seil also boasts a 9-hole golf course and a popular yacht anchorage at Phuilladobhrain, Balvicar on the island’s east coast.
Seil is an interesting and beautiful island with remarkable contrasts. It also has a history that adds greatly to its fascination.