Erraid is a tidal island one mile square in area which lies off the south west of Mull. It is connected by a beach at low tide to the Isle of Mull and it is renowned for being one of the driest and sunniest places on the west coast of Scotland. The island has a disused signal station for the lighthouses on Dubh Artach and Skerryvore and a row of cottages built for the lighthouse keepers which is today used by the community of the Findhorn Foundation.
Erraid lies off the south west tip of the Ross of Mull. Five miles drive from the Fionnphort. For an hour or two either side of low water, it is linked to the Ross by a broad expanse of sand.
At the north end, the expertly built houses, outhouses and pier are constructed of Erraid granite. This was the land base of the construction of ‘Dhu Heartach’ Lighthouse and became the lighthouse keeper’s and families homes till the completion of the Lighthouse.
Behind the houses, on the hill, the renovated disused signal station for the lighthouse, provides the spectacular panoramic views of Iona an the Ross of Mull to the north and the Torran Rocks to the south. On a clear day, you can see the ‘Dhu Heartach’ lighthouse, 10 miles away to the south west, standing 126 feet high, marking a dangerous rock.
The author Robert Lewis Stevenson was raised on Erraid, being a member of the great Stevenson Family, renowned for lighthouse engineering.
In Stevenson’s “Kidnapped”, the hero, David Balfour is shipwrecked and comes ashore on the south coast of Erraid (Balfour Bay) at a sandy bay. In “Treasure Island”, Jack Hawkins chart bears a resemblance to Erraid.
Erraid is now owned by a family from overseas, but is used by the Findhorn Community for most of the year. This group runs course and “retreats” and grows a large proportion of its soft fruits and vegetables. These gardens have now been expertly managed, on an “organic” basis for years and are of a very high standard indeed.
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