Luing is an Island within easy reach of the mainland full of wildlife, history and yet relatively unknown. It is a perfect day trip opportunity from Oban.
The island is 6 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, ideal for exploring by bike (there are a few hills so might be worth checking out Sunnybraes electric bikes). Catch the ferry which runs every half hour from Cuan, 15 miles south of Oban off A816.
The islands charm lies in its natural beauty and unspoilt peaceful scenery which may be explored by car, bicycle or on foot. It is an excellent place to see many well known species of wildlife. Otters and hares are resident on the island, and seals, porpoises and dolphins can be spotted. There are regular chances to see buzzards, peregrines and hen harriers, as well as visiting eagles. If you do spot anything interesting, be sure to record it in the Lorn Natural History groups book in the Atlantic Islands Centre.
The largest centre of population is at Cullipool in the north west of the island. This attractive village of bright white cottages is set starkly against the slate that makes up its beach, and whose quarrying underpinned the economy of the island for many years. Slate was still being extracted from the quarries at the north end of Cullipool until 1965. At its height the industry employed 170 men on the island and extracted three quarters of a million slates each year.
Cullipool has a reputation for wonderful sunsets framed by the islands to the west, and with the slate revealing that when the light is right it has much more to offer the eye than a uniform dark grey.
Further south, the road takes you past the white-painted Kilchattan Church, part of the joint Kilbrandon and Kilchattan Parish covering Seil and Luing and the Primary School. Further still, you come to Kilchattan Chapel. This fell into disuse in 1685 and is now completely ruined. It provides a wonderful viewpoint across the width of the southern end of Luing, and out to the mountainous island of Scarba to the south west.
Kilchattan graveyard itself is a fascinating time capsule. Many of the gravestones would not be out of place in any other highland churchyard, but there are also rows of wafer-thin slate gravestones reflecting the fact that Luing is quite literally a slate island.
Just to the east of Kilchattan is the settlement of Toberonochy. This was also once a slate quarrying village. Today it comprises a number of rows of whitewashed cottages, focused on a very attractive village green. At the far end of the village the road continues round to a little harbour, complete with slate beaches and piers: and a profusion of lobster pots and fishing gear. Well worth a visit and a quiet wander.
On the south west side of Luing is the even smaller settlement of Ardlarach and nearby Black Mill Bay, with imposing views of Scarba and, to the north, a glimpse of the odd rock formation above the beach called the Cobblers of Lorn