Mull and Iona
Oban, Kerrera and Mull After leaving Oban we usually pass Kerrera and cruise north up the Sound of Mull. Just out of Oban, Lochs Buie, Spelve and Don – all on Mull – are excellent places for viewing both golden and white-tailed sea eagles. There are resident otters here and eider ducks and terns are frequently seen during the crossing. We pass Lismore where Duart Castle is easily spotted shortly before Craignure – Mull’s main ferry terminal – where we occasionally stop. From here it’s just a one-mile walk to Torosay Castle and its stunning 12-acre gardens featuring gazebos, fountains and a parade of nineteen 18th Century Italian statues. Return via the miniature railway for a memorable journey. Tobermory, the modestly sized “capital” of Mull, offers a variety of interesting shops along its famous brightly coloured high street. Here you might like to sample one (or more) of the extensive range of malt whiskies in the Mishnish Hotel.
Did you know that Mull is the third largest of all the Scottish islands and also the highest with Ben More reaching 966m? There are some fascinating natural wonders to be seen around the shores of Mull such as the fossil tree on the Ardmeanach peninsula and Carsaig Arches to the south. Gems such as these are difficult to reach by land and are best viewed from the comfort of the boat. There is a splendid four mile walk between Loch Buie and Loch Spelve upon which a variety of birds and mammals are usually seen. The ancient Moy Castle and Mull’s only stone circle, both in the village of Lochbuie, can be encompassed in this walk.
Iona Known as “The Sacred Isle”, Iona lies just off Mull, a short ferry journey from Fionnphort. Columba, an Irish prince, landed on Iona in AD 563 bringing Christianity to Scotland. The island has around one hundred permanent residents though thousands travel to Iona every year to visit the famous abbey which was restored by the Church of Scotland in 1902 – 1910. Adjoining buildings continue to be rebuilt and restored. It is said that there are over 60 kings buried in St Oran’s cemetery on Iona. Corncrake are often heard on Iona but are rarely seen.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first signs of habitation on Hirta (the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago and the only one you can really land on) are thought to have occurred c. 600 AD.