27/08/15 – 04/09/15
Train to Oban via Glasgow (note the change in cuisine). Ferry to Craignure and a night at the campsite there. A nice spot with great clean facilities, including a common room with wood-burning stove.
The bus services on Mull are great, and the Craignure – Tobermory route uses a double decker so you can get a great view. The majority of the roads are single track with passing places, so it’s a nice slow journey. Spent some time watching gannets diving into the sea while waiting at the bus stop. I was told that the ones around here nest on St Kilda; that’s 140 miles as the gannet flies, a long way for a fish supper.
Rainy day activities: distillery and museum.
A boat trip to Staffa via the Treshnish Isles, featuring a white-tailed eagle, gannets, kittiwakes, shags, seals, a minke whale and maybe some porpoises. And exciting rocks, of course. Very smart boat and knowledgable crew from Staffa Tours, happy to spend time detouring to follow the minke.
Amazing campsite at Fidden farm, right above the beach. The sun came out and the sea was irresistible. And freezing, obviously.
Moonrise and sunset.
Views from Fionnphort. The strange shaped island beyond Iona is The Dutchman’s Cap, one of the Treshnish Isles. The others were named by Vikings, not contraceptives.
The tidal island of Erraid as featured in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped.
First stop the nunnery. A carving over a window shows a voluptuous and accommoddating woman, apparently keeping those inside safe from such temptations. One tiny room of the whole complex had heating – they must have been some tough nuns. Today was very sunny (i.e. I got burned) but required all layers and a hat because of the wind, and that was the tail end of summer.
The Abbey; journey’s end for many, be they pilgrims, coach trippers or important dead people. In front of the abbey in the grass is the Street of the Dead (Sràid nam Marbh), after it passes the burial area (Rèilig Odhrain). There is an exhibition of ancient stone crosses, where I learnt that the circle was an addition to support the lateral arms which could otherwise be heavy enough to cause the stone to break.
Views from Dun I, the highest point on the island (101 m, so just a HuMP). Excellent visibility, Cullins of Skye spotted.
There is a green colour in the rocks found in abundance in St Columba’s bay, apparently from chlorophyll. I should have brought my accommodation with me, it would have been a lovely spot for the night.
The three lochs
A short-ish but tussocky and boggy walk followed by a very wild camp. Nice evening with ever-increasing wind. Met an adder shortly before pitching for the night on the only vaguely suitable ground. Previous choice was under a sheltered rock, but a deer had obviously had the same thought when it was unwell and consequently expired there.
A peg was blown out into the burn at 5 am, so that corner of the tent was anchored with the water bottle and I waited in the sleeping bag for enough light to pack up and walk down towards Loch Buie. I serendipitously found the peg while rinsing out my mug before I left. Walking to the main road I missed the bus by a minute or so, the next one was two hours later so I sat by a sort of estuary where the river Lussa enters (the sea) Loch Spelve, watched the birds and had tomato soup. I think I spotted an eagle.
Back to reality…the first establishment encountered on disembarking from the ferry in Oban is a Weatherspoons. But the place did have some more individual touches.