It's not at the end of the world. It just feels like it.
Mingulay is four islands south of Barra, the place most tourists regard as the southern end of the Outer Hebrides. With fairly tricky tides it's not easy to reach by kayak, but last week's predicted high pressure tempted us to try.
We had two wonderful days and nights on the island in the company of this fellow and almost a hundred of his kind.
The 'tick' to get is to circumnavigate Barra Head, also known as Berneray, the island at the very bottom, which is crowned by Barra Head lighthouse. In this we failed. Although the sea was calm along much of Scotland's west coast, out here there was still swell rolling in from the Atlantic. I'm told it is a rare day indeed when it's flat calm out here.
It's a head-game too. Far from help, probably out of radio range and with no-one to see a flare, this is not the place to have an epic. We felt it was not the place to take risks.
This photo is (almost) as close as we got to Barra Head light.
Liz did manage to land on Berneray, but it involved a short swim towing her kayak. Getting back in was easier.
The remoteness may have inhibitted our kayaking, but it added hugely to the atmosphere of Mingulay.
Having been awake around 5am to catch tides, we could spent most of two days hiking the hills, exploring the stacks on the west coast, and watching the seals hauled out on the beach.
These guys were noisy neighbours, 'singing' all night. It sounds more like dogs howling at the moon.
The remains of the settlement on Mingulay are still evident, with ruined hourse, school and stone field boundaries.
There are more photos and GPS tracks of our journey at the SeaKayakRoutes.com page.
Dense fog slightly complicated our return journey, but it had cleared when we reached Castlebay. So we decided to collect our kayak trolleys and keep paddling north to Lochboisdale.
Our thanks to Katie and Chris Denehy of Clearwater Paddling for looking after our kit while we were out, and for running a good hostel on Barra. (Chris also recorded the first Podcast back in 2006).
We had a sperb camp spot on Gighay, very different to the previous two nights on Mingulay.
That left a short day to finish. So we detoured to Eriskay and had a stroll through the houses to the bar Am Politician, before kayaking into Lochboisdale early afternoon.
The showers next to the Tourist Information centre were welcome, as was the free camping on the hotel's drying green (ask permission first).
The CalMac staff locked away our kayaks on the linkspan Ro-ro bridge so they would be ready for the morning sailing back to Oban.
It was a great trip lasting six days in total, with four of them spent on the water. And it was greatly helped by using our kayak trolleys on the CalMac ferries. Here's a GPS track of our route.