Back in 2010, I made my first visit to the Isle of Mull and unfortunately since then I have not had the opportunity to return.
The Isle of Mull is the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides and has an incredible coastline of 300 miles and from Mull, you can visit other islands including Iona which was a centre of Irish monasticism for four centuries and is today renowned for its tranquillity and natural beauty.
I arrived on Mull the long way around. Rather than following the more direct route by ferry from Oban I went via the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and caught the small ferry from Kilchoan to Tobermory. A journey well worth following if only to allow you to see the stunning peninsula which is the most westerly part of the British mainland and is quite literally the end of the road. But more of that another time and let’s concentrate on Mull.
Our first stop is at Calgary Bay, located in the north-west of Mull about 12 miles from the island’s capital Tobermory, and is framed by low hills, partly wooded. A broad area of machair (a grassy meadow growing on calcareous sand) lies between the land and the beach. The name comes from the Gaelic, Cala ghearraidh, meaning Beach of the meadow (pasture). “Cala” is the word specifically used for a hard, sandy beach suitable for landing a boat, which relates plausibly to the location.
A small stone pier, originally built to allow “puffers” (small steam-driven cargo boats) to deliver coal to the Mornish Estate, was also used to take sheep to and from grazing on the Treshnish Isles and gives a further possible reason for the name of the bay.
Having mentioned the Treshnish Isles I thought it only fair that I give you a glimpse of them. The Treshnish Isles are today uninhabited but archaeological history reveals that they were settled as far back as Viking times with the last inhabitants leaving in the 1850s. Visitors today can not only take in the spectacle of the Treshnish Isles huge and diverse population of seabirds but explore the ruins of hill forts, castles and medieval chapels as well as hunt for fossils on some beaches.
Back on Mull and at the southeastern end of the island is Loch Spelve. This image was captured from the tiny road which runs along the south shore of Loch Spelve to reach the tiny community of Croggan with Creach Beinn 2290 feet in the background. The loch is very sheltered, but open to the Firth of Lorn, allowing the tide to flood in and rush out twice a day.
As you drive around the lochs of Mull time and time again you will come across abandoned boats and perhaps the most well known and most photographed are the ones at Salen.
Salen is on the east coast of the island, on the Sound of Mull, approximately halfway between Craignure and Tobermory. The full name of the settlement is ‘Sàilean Dubh Chaluim Chille’ (the black little bay of St Columba) The image shows 3 old boats moored up on the foreshore, one of which is called “Girl Claire” The others being “Pavonia” and “Elsie May” hence the title I have given the image of the “Sisters of Claire”
And finally Loch Tuath but captured from a slightly unusual position at the top of the Eas Fors waterfall. This was before I ventured down through a torturous tree laden cliff face to get to the cobbled beach. You can see whether I was successful along with other images of Mull and the Isles by visiting the gallery.
I hope you have enjoyed joining me while I recall just some of the “Marvel of Mull”.