Posted by: wildswimmers | July 13, 2017

High Jinks on Easdale

Lovely guest blog-post by Ewan (one of the Danna Dippers).

A freak storm in 1881 created huge waves that inundated the quarries of Easdale, one of the Slate Islands in the Firth of Lorne. The floods filled the slate quarries with sea water and irretrievably submerged most of the quarriers’ tools and equipment. It was the death knell of an already declining industry, which dwindled until the last slates were cut on a commercial scale in 1911.  The ponds created by the storm are now a swimmer’s haven, still and calm like infinity pools against the billowing swells of the Atlantic waves that break on the rocks a few metres away.

In a disappointing summer after the early promise of a sunny May, a rare day of warm sun was a blessing for our trip to Easdale. The fresh wind of the morning had swung round by our afternoon start, bringing welcome warmer air to complement the sunshine as we crossed the Bridge Over the Atlantic to the Island of Seil.

The party of three slowly grew to seven, and then ten, before we were joined by the eleventh and last arrival as we walked down the ramp at the harbour wall to board the small ferry for the three-minute journey across to Easdale.

On Easdale, the broken slate underfoot chinked like wind-chimes as we walked to the pools. The water was a chalky deep blue in the sunlight: too tempting even for me, the most reluctant of swimmers. So used are we to freshwater pools that the salt water came as a surprise despite the knowledge that the pool had been created by the sea. Another surprise was the water temperature: pleasantly bearable. The younger members of the group had great fun jumping from the high rocks, the impact as they hit the water echoing like a thunderclap against the sheer sides of the old quarry.



Their antics were a contrast to the serenity of the progress of the other swimmers as they rounded the quarry, with its dramatic views of sea and other islands: Seil behind giving way to Luing dotted with white houses; the bulk of Scarba and Jura to the south; the Garvellachs silhouetted against the low slate-grey smudge of Colonsay on the western horizon; and the blue mountains of Mull to the northwest.

After we enjoyed a picnic in the sun, the lure of the water was so strong that a few swimmers took the plunge again before we caught the ferry homewards.  A wonderful day for a unique swimming spot.


  1. Thanks Ewan for this great account of the day trip to Easdale! Sorry I missed it…


  2. What a wonderful post and such lovely photos Ewan! So sorry to have missed the outing. Your description makes me want to go there more than ever. How about an autumn trip?!


  3. Very interesting!!

    Geunda Young



    Isle of Islay

    Argyll PA49 7UT


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