Erraid is a small, rugged tidal island, one mile square, considered to be one of the driest, sunniest spots on the west coast of Scotland. It is located at the tip of the Ross of Mull. Traigh Gheal, or David Balfour's Bay, is situated on its south side.
In the 1860s the island was transformed into a building site when Scottish engineers David and Thomas Stevenson were commissioned to construct the Dubh Artach lighthouse, 15 miles south west of Mull. The strongly constructed lighthouse keepers cottages still stand ashore and are now used by a small community from the Findhorn Foundation to run courses and retreats. You can also see the disused signal station for the Dubh Artach and Skerryvore lighthouses.
Thomas's son Robert Louis Stevenson, the now famous Scottish writer, often visited the island and used it as a backdrop for scenes in his novel 'Kidnapped'. David Balfour, the main character, staggers ashore here from his sinking ship the Covenant, which had been wrecked on the notorious Torran Rocks.
The bay boasts two pristine white beaches which are connected at low tide and on a sunny summers day you will find sparkling turquoise seas and seductive golden sands, offset by the rosy glow of the pink granite shoreline. On our last visit of the season we walked over the hill from Tinker’s Hole, a very snug but spectacular anchorage on the west side of Erraid, where lines are put ashore to strategically placed rings ensuring you have a good night’s sleep!
By Pauline Taylor
Moonshadow Yacht Charter Ltd