Magical Mull and Iona July 2009


Helen Rose Hill Diary

Mull is an island on the west coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebrides. It is easily reached by boat from Oban and has a Munro, Ben More. Many Munro baggers keep Ben More  for their last Munro. I previously wrote about Mull in December 2001 so it is time to write about it again. There are many excellent walks on Mull and it is also easy to make a day trip to Iona where it is said that Christianity was introduced to Scotland by Saint Columba in 563.

I recently spent a weekend there with the HF Walking Club . We travelled to Oban on Friday and stayed there overnight taking the Saturday morning early ferry to Mull and climbing Ben More on arrival. The weather was glorious on Sunday so a coastal walk was planned to Treshnish Point. We stayed in Tobermory, a lovely seaside village with the houses painted in a variety of bright colours. The village was made famous by the children’s television show, Balamory. We drove round to the start of the walk passing the gorgeous beach at Calgary Bay noted for the sandy beach and curving bay.

There was a good path all the way on the walk and the terrain at the start passed hedgerows of lovely clumps of daffodils. The path passed around a headland with a dramatic drop to the shore reminiscent of the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. On the beach there were interesting rock pools full of little sea creatures. We spent some time on the rocky beach looking round the pools and examining the flotsam and jetsam. Wearing walking boots was infinitely sensible to clamber over the rocks an avoid injury to the ankles. Having spent some time on the beach, we returned to the grassy area around the path to have a packed lunch and look over the sea to the Treshnish Isles. The weather was warm and sunny so most of us enjoyed a post lunch nap! It was Easter Sunday and chocolate eggs were rolled wherever possible on the grassy slope.

The walk resumed along the headland past a steep dramatic waterfall from the escarpment and we finally reached the end of the path with only large rocks ahead. We could have returned the same route but opted instead to climb up the escarpment and along to the derelict village of Glacgugaraidh abandoned a long time ago after a smallpox epidemic. We continued walking over the grassy areas passing a trig point  to the start of our walk so completing a circular route.

The following day, we visited Iona. I had previously stayed on the island about twenty five years ago and it was interesting to return although in some ways disappointing as it seemed so touristy now with a charge to enter the Abbey and the loss of the Community tea shop with the home baking. Anyway, the atmosphere might have changed but the charm of the island was still there with the sandy beach near the ferry terminal and the lovely hilly scenery.

On our return to Tobermory we indulged in fresh scallops and chips, the speciality of the fish and chip van on the pier! A good end to a trip to magical Mull and Iona.

Coming attractions; the Outer Hebrides and Beinn a Bheithir.

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Thanks to Frances Rickus for the photos