Mary Irvine’s trip to Iona

Iona 026A Genuine Island Welcome

Bishop’s walk was recommended to me by friends. It sounded ideal for my planned three night stay so I rang the owner, Mrs Margaret MacDonald, and made a booking.  She did explain the double room I would be in had no sea view. Fine by me. Why anyone would want a sea view when surrounded by water I fail to understand, especially on an island some three miles by two miles. I certainly wasn’t about to waste my time sitting in a room gazing out to sea. Margaret (first name terms from the start) said she would meet the ferry. After a car, train, ferry, bus, ferry journey I arrived half and hour late but Margaret understand re lateness and had waited. As we drove to her house she pointed out all the places of interest, eateries and general facilities. All within five – fifteen minutes walk of the accommodation, depending on how fast you walk!

We were greeted by Meg, a delightful and friendly thirteen year-old working sheep dog – Margaret’s sheep grazed peacefully around the environs and it was an added bonus to see Margaret and Meg pen the sheep at night.
I did remove my boots before entering the bedroom. An observed courtesy as very few of us would consider entering our own carpet fitted bedrooms with muddy boots on. And at this time of the year Iona gets a lot of rain and has a lot of ‘unmade’ pathways.

My room was everything required. place to put clothes, hair-dryer, wall heater and I had a view of green hills in the distance and a charming ruin of what must have been an original dwelling.

The shower room was adjacent to my room, almost en suite, and was shared with Margaret but we never clashed once!  The bed was very comfortable and I slept well although the bracing air no doubt contributed.

Iona 032dogFor breakfast, served leisurely at 8 am, there was choice of cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, orange juice, tea, coffee and toast with a choice of preserves. The main course was the full English or Scottish, depending where you are! You could select items from it but I opted for the lot.  Beautifully cooked and totally non-greasy. Set me up for the day.

All the guests sat at the table for six in Margaret’s big modern kitchen which was also available 24/7 for tea/coffee/juices/biscuits (help yourself).

The breakfast seating arrangement was more conducive to conversation and chatting with people from different countries added to the holiday experience.

I would recommend this B&B for its facilities and the warm Ionan welcome from Margaret – and Meg. Should I return to Iona in the future I would certainly not seek out alternative accommodation. I’d be straight along to Bishop’s Walk.

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This section: Mary Irvine: Writer and Philhellene, Travel

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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