Tuesday 7th June, 2005
Wednesday 8th June, 2005
Thursday 9th June, 2005

Tuesday 7th June, 2005

Drop Cap ell, here we are on Mull. A rather small B & B in which we are the only guests, and which to Mac has the major amenity of owning two cats. He has been starved of cat sightings since Orkney.

Calmac Ferry photograph

CalMac Ferry to Mull, Scotland

Drop Cap e headed off from Fort William and crossed Loch Linnhe on the Corran Ferry which took five minutes, then twenty miles further on we joined the Cal-Mac Ferry for Mull, Lochaline - Fishnish. This takes about fifteen minutes. We were far too early for a B & B so continued on for the island's capital, Tobermory.

Tobermory photograph

Tobermory Waterfront, Mull, Scotland

Drop Cap his is a very picturesque fishing village, whose main other industry is supporting the Cal-Mac ferry passengers from Oban with food, drink and souvenirs. I like the characteristic paint jobs on the front of the buildings lining the main road and the harbour, all bright, rich colours, instantly recognisable.

We found a laundry and left two bags of washing to be picked up on Thursday, then had lunch.

Tobermory photograph

Tobermory Waterfront, Mull, Scotland

Torosay Castle photograph

Torosay Castle, Mull, Scotland

Drop Cap e found we had just missed the train so the helpful guy in the ticket office suggested that we drive the mile or so to Torosay Castle where the train goes, get the connecting train back to Craignure, then take the last train back to Torosay to pick up the car. It sounds complicated but it was a very quick, short run and we enjoyed it. Just a little narrow gauge toy train.

Mull Train photograph

Mull Railway, Torosay, Scotland

Drop Cap y this time it was 17:00 so we returned to the Aros View to our rooms.

Drop Cap e booked a table at the rather posh Mediterranea Restaurant locally for Thursday night and ate at the local pub. Pizzas, very filling.

Drop Cap ext to the pub the local volunteer firefighters of the Strathclyde Fire Service were having a training session in the tiny shed which is their station. Just an equipment store, I think. We took a photo and had a chat then came home. It is raining, a fine, misty rain, after the lovely sunny start, too!

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Wednesday 8th June, 2005

Drop Cap fter it rained all night I was rather depressed at breakfast, but after we had finished eating the rain stopped and it looked like clearing up. So we hurried out and headed for the Iona ferry. This was a drive of about forty miles, the majority on single lane roads with passing places. The sky was clearing by the minute, even blue sky and sunshine sometimes, and the trip was lovely. Forests of pine, bare hills, little burns, large lochs, highland cattle looking like hennaed yaks, and of course the ubiquitous sheep.

Iona Ferryport photograph

Ferry Jetty, Fhionnphort, Mull, Scotland

Drop Cap e arrived in Fhionnphort, the ferry port, in time for the 11:45 ferry, a mostly pedestrian affair (it only takes about five minutes) full of walkers, birdwatchers, photographers and pointless tourists, like us.

Iona Abbey photograph

St. Columba's Abbey, Iona

Drop Cap ona is a holy island, the site where St. Columba landed in 500 something to build a monastery and convert the Picts and Scots.

Nunnery Garden photograph

Nunnery Garden, Iona, Scotland

Drop Cap here are religious ruins and remains scattered around and the first one we came to was the ruins of the Augustinian Nunnery established by Reginald, son of Somerled, Lord of the Isles. This was a small convent, all the rooms seem rather miniaturised by contrast with some larger abbeys we have seen. Arbroath springs to mind. It has not been restored, but there is a lovely garden, mostly herbs, I think, in the cloister garth.

Original Celtic cross photograph

One of the Original Celtic Crosses, Iona

Drop Cap e had lunch in the teashop attached to the Iona Heritage Centre, then went to see Maclean's Cross, a Celtic cross set up in the 15th century. It is very weathered now, but is lucky to be still there at all. The Reformation vandals threw 350 others into the sea!

Macdonald Chapel photograph

Macdonald Chapel, Iona

Drop Cap hen we passed the graveyard where they found the gravestones of hundreds of kings and chiefs of Scotland and Norway, including MacBeth. No sign now, they have been put for safekeeping in the abbey. But there was a tiny chapel of the Macdonalds where Somerled, Lord of the Isles is interred.

Celtic Cross photograph

Replica High Cross, Iona Abbey

Drop Cap he Abbey of St. Columba was next. This has been heavily restored by the community of Iona and the Duke of Argyle who gave the church to be a place of worship to all denominations. There is a shrine, supposedly used by Columba himself. There are high crosses, one of which is a replica but the other is original.

Cloisters photograph

Cloisters, Iona Abbey

Drop Cap he cloisters have been restored with wonderful carvings of nature on the pillars. The building is lovely and the abbey accommodation is let out as self catering units to people who want a retreat. Helps pay for the upkeep I guess.

Original Celtic Cross photograph

Original Celtic Cross, Iona Abbey

Drop Cap hen we left we did the "scenic route" back to Salen. It was difficult to be more scenic than this morning's main route but it was down around the sea and the road was narrower. Fantastic though, but it is now raining again!

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Thursday 9th June, 2005

Drop Cap e set off first this morning for Tobermory to collect the laundry. It was raining and very misty. The mist, or low cloud, continued as we took the extremely narrow, winding road for Dervaig, Calgary and Ulva. When we stopped at a viewpoint we could not see anything it described.

Ulva Ferry photograph

The Ulva Boatman, Mull

Drop Cap owever, as we came down to sea level again at the Ulva ferry it seemed to be clearing. We needed toilets and lunch and there was literally nothing on the map except Ulva so we called the ferry.

Drop Cap his involved moving a white painted shutter aside to leave a red square which could be seen by the ferryman on Ulva so he came across to us with a small landing craft. It only took a minute to "row us o'er the ferry" as it says in the poem (having an engine helps) and it left us outside the Boathouse teashop.

Boathouse Teashop photograph

The Boathouse Teashop, Ulva

Drop Cap his is the only commercial enterprise on Ulva, which is a wildlife sanctuary with interesting walks. Our early governor, Lachlan Macquarie, was born here and the Macquaries are the clan chiefs. But the isle is deserted now, what with the Clearances, kelp market failing and the potato famine, the people all left.

Sheila's Cottage photograph

Sheila's Cottage, Ulva

Drop Cap here is a thatched croft cottage called Sheila's Cottage which you can see as an example of how the people lived.

Drop Cap e had a light lunch at the Boathouse, then took the ferry back to the mainland.

Macquarie Mausoleum photograph

Macquarie Mausoleum, Mull

Drop Cap he sky had cleared a good deal as we drove off to visit the Macquarie Mausoleum. This is the vault where Governor Lachlan Macquarie is interred with his wife and children. Macquarie was one of the first Governors of the colony of New South Wales and definitely the best of the early ones. The Mausoleum is owned by the National Trust of Australia and looked after for them by Historic Scotland. It is a quaint little building in a field of daisies surrounded by a stone wall. You have to walk five hundred yards to get to it because they are trying to conserve the road.

Drop Cap hen we left we were trying to turn the car and get out of the way of traffic on a tiny one lane road and managed to reverse into a stone gatepost. The car is scratched fairly badly. I don't think we will get our deposit back!

Drop Cap o dinner tonight to a fancy Mediterranean Restaurant, walking distance. Hope it's OK.
It was, very nice although quite a restricted menu.

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