The Island of Easdale lies off the south west end of the Island of Seil south of Oban. Easdale is a tiny island that you can walk round in about 20 minutes and yet it has a thriving community and welcomes visitors particularly in the summer months. There island not only thrives today but also has a an industrial history as this wee island was a major source of slate to the houses of the central belt of Scotland in the 1800s.
The Island, small as it is, has a community hall, pub, coffee house and a folk museum. At present the harbour is the main focus of regeneration for the island's trust which is community run. As you might expect of such a small place the island is car free and many people visit frequently to enjoy the views, watch seals an often porpoises and dolphins. It is not uncommon to see people relaxing with a book in their hand or an easel as they paint what they see.
The slate quarrying was at its height in the 19th century but in fact slate was taken from the mid 18th century to the early 20th century. At one time there was as many as seven working quarries. Some of the photographs to be found at the island museum are fascinating. In the later years of the 19th century there was as many as 500 people living and working on the island. However there was a huge storm in 1881 which flooded all the working quarries. Work diminished thereafter and stopped in 1950
Getting to Easdale is quite simple, from Oban travel south until you see the signs for Easdale Island, take that road nd you will first cross the Atlantic Bridge (see Seil Island) and then a number of miles later you will find the village of Easdale on Seil and there you will get a ferry (5 minute crossing) to the island. Unfortunately from time to time the Argyll and Bute council consider whether they might be easier to put a causeway across from Seil to the Island. This I am sure might be convenient for some but is bound to take away some of the magic of the place if it ever happens.
Every year, usually at the end of September, the world stone skimming championships are held on the island. Anyone of any age or skill can take part. This is a great day out and enjoyed by all ages, whether watching or taking part.
Courtesy of Walter Baxter