Wednesday 28 September 2022

Back to Mull

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've had a few busy weeks. I finally received confirmation of my new working hours just a few days before the start of the new school year. I must admit, it was a huge relief, although they have been adjusted once more since then :) I have been thrown in at the deep end, somewhat, but it's all good. I'm learning as I go, developing new skills, and I am working alongside some very experienced colleagues who carry a wealth of knowledge between them. I feel very fortunate. 

Anyway, as it has been a while since I was last here, I thought it best to have a little catch up. 

Way, way back in August - it already feels like a distant memory, and when we were all still complaining about the heat :) - we took a lovely little holiday on the Isle of Mull. Some of you, who have been reading here a while, may remember our last visit there, in 2019, where we stayed in a gorgeous little cottage on the north of the island, fairly close to the incredibly picturesque Calgary Bay. On this occasion, however, we chose to stay on the south of the island, mainly for the ease of exploring some of the more remote areas and also to be able to simply hop on the ferry over to the Island of Iona without the need of a long drive beforehand.

Once again, we had the best time. And it was all the more relaxing for my having made the decision to break our car journey there by stopping overnight in Balloch, a small village at the very southern tip of Loch Lomond. Our guest house was lovely and had everything we needed for a comfortable stay. We enjoyed some delicious fish and chips, followed by a visit to the play park and an evening walk along by the loch. My friend had warned me it could get a little busy there, but it was beautiful down by the shore, and it was lovely to see people having barbecues and enjoying the water into the late evening. The sunset was pretty impressive as well. 

The following morning, we woke to the sound of some rather noisy gulls, and after a hearty breakfast we set off once again on our drive towards Oban. Another very hot and sunny day, we went to the supermarket to get our supplies for the week. Then we enjoyed a sandwich lunch down by the harbour, followed by an ice cream, before catching our ferry across the Sound of Mull to Craignure. After another much shorter but incredibly scenic drive, we arrived at our accommodation for the week. A large, spacious house with the most wonderful sea views, and once unpacked, we were treated to another breath-taking sunset on our very first evening.

Our first full day on the island began with more typically Scottish weather and some rather dramatic flashes of lightening. Once the storm had passed, we drove to the tiny village of Fionnphort, to check ferry times for the following morning's trip across to Iona. The island looking very inviting, on what had turned into a bright and sunny afternoon. We then drove back to the house, stopping for a short walk alongside Loch Pottie, which, of course, Lily found hilarious.

The next morning, we took the short, ten minute ferry crossing over to Iona. Passing McLeans Cross the nunnery ruins and the abbey, we walked up to the highest point of the island, Dun I, where we sat to take in the island views and eat our picnic lunch. (Some things don't change, even on holiday.) 

Afterwards, we continued our walk, heading north to the stunning White Beach. Soft white sand, littered with shells and lapped by a turquoise sea. It was so very beautiful there, and aside from its religious significance, I can easily see why the island attracts visitors from all over the world. 

The remainder of our holiday was spent exploring many more of Mull's spectacular beaches including Ardalanish Bay, home to the Isle of Mull Weavers, and where I treated myself to some wool, Fidden, Knockvologan, and the tiny Island of Erraid, made famous as one of the locations featured in the novel Kidnapped, which can be reached at low tide. We made two more trips over to Iona. Once to explore the west coast, then walk along a well-trodden path to the south of the island to St. Columba's Bay. Then again on our final day, to re-visit White Bay, returning to the house later that evening but not before enjoying some freshly caught scallops and langoustines served at The Creel Seafood Bar, situated right beside the jetty at Fionnphort. Absolutely delicious, and I would thoroughly recommend a visit there.

Sadly, all too soon, it was time for us to return home. And as we boarded the ferry back to Oban, I realised it may have only been my second time on Mull but I'm sure it won't be my last. 

J. X