Travel tidbits is a series that shares small experiences from a longer trip. By focusing on one or two “tidbits” at a time, I can highlight some less famous, but worthwhile, attractions we’ve come across while traveling. I also hope that breaking it down this way will prove useful for other travelers who don’t need a full itinerary, but are looking for things to see and do in a specific place.
Along with Skye, the Island of Seil is one of the only isles connected to mainland Scotland by road. You reach Seil via the Clachan Bridge (pictured above); it’s also known as the Bridge over the Atlantic because the waters that flow beneath are part of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a single-lane bridge, so if you’re driving to Seil, make sure to slow down well before the bridge to check for oncoming traffic.
Because you don’t need to ferry there, it’s easy to add a visit to Seil while you’re in the area. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Kilmartin to the island and about half that from the seaside town of Oban. Once on the island, one of the first things you’ll see is Tigh-an-Truish Inn. The name means “house of the trousers” and harks back to the Jacobite rebellion in 1745; the king banned kilts after the Jacobites’ unsuccessful uprising, and the inn was purportedly where islanders stopped to change from their kilts to trousers before heading to the mainland. It still functions as an inn and bar today.
Driving to the westernmost tip of the island brings you to Ellenabeich, the (tiny) largest town of the Slate Islands. Named for the main industry in the islands from the 1500s to late 1800s, the Slate Islands include the Island of Seil along with Easdale, Luing, and several other small, now-uninhabited islands. You can explore the ruins of a flooded slate quarry at the shore by Ellenabeich. Also in Ellenabeich, visit the Slate Islands Heritage Centre to learn more about the history of the islands.
If you want to visit the other Slate Islands, there’s a ferry from Ellenabeich to Easdale, and another at the southern end of Seil that goes to Luing. The Slate Islands aren’t big and flashy or full of prehistoric history, but they’re a nice quiet half-day getaway from the mainland.
Would you have worn a kilt during the ban?