We were staying with friends in Lochaline on the Morvern Peninsula, not a place you can easily reach. We arrived in the pouring rain, late in the afternoon, and since it was February it was dark and quite cold. After a pleasant evening and good rest at night we noticed the weather had changed for the better overnight. Clear skies, some clouds and a fresh westerly wind, good conditions for a day trip to the neighbouring Isle of Mull, a short ferry trip away crossing the Sound of Mull.
The Calmac ferry from Lochaline to Fishnish on the Isle of Mull crosses the Sound in around 10 minutes and offers nice views to the ruins of Ardtornish Castle and the surrounding area. Fishnish, our place of arrival on Mull, is nothing more than an unattended wee ferry port with a small cafeteria to kill the waiting time.
When you come off the ferry you can choose to visit the southern or the northern part of the island, visiting both in one day is not advisable. We choose the Northern part because we wanted to visit Tobermory, the administrative capital of Mull. The first village we passed was Salen, soon followed by Tobermory which is a lovely wee town with its colourful harbour side houses sheltered by a wee hill. Tobermory has quite a few (art) shops, a distillery, cafeterias and various other amenities.
After a wee walk and a coffee we headed on towards the western part of the island. This part of Mull is quite special with a few lochs and a fabulous yet windy viewpoint at Derbaig. Further west is Calgary Bay, a beautiful secluded sandy bay, excellent for a walk and perfect for bathing in the summer. Directly after Calgary bay the road heads south and uphill providing beautiful views over the sea to the Isles of Coll and Tiree.
After a mile or so the road descended back to (almost) sea level and here started the best part of our trip. The views over the sea are breathtaking, you can clearly see the Treshnish Isles and opposite of Loch Tuath is Ulva, a very sparsely inhabited island, and the even smaller island of Gometra. This part of Mull is quite remote and there are only a few farms and wee settlements but with the sun out and the magnificent views it’s one of the better roads in Scotland.
A few miles further down the road is a minor road to the right, it takes you to the Ulva Ferry which is nothing more than a wee boat that can be summoned across by shifting a wooden panel to the left. When the red square appears it seems that someone on the Isle of Ulva will see it and come over to pick you up, don’t ask me how they do this when visibility is bad. I haven’t found a phone number either, I guess you’ll have to wait for a clear spell 🙂
The main road heading South was gradually climbing up to a point at Acharonich where we had a magical view over the Sound of Ulva and the island of Inch Kenneth, named after St Kenneth, a follower of Saint Columba, who is said to have founded a monastery on the island. Unfortunately clouds were coming in from the west blocking the view to the highest peak on Mull, Ben More (966 mtrs).
Since it was getting late we headed back to Fishnish along the shore of Loch na Keal after we had stopped to witness a beautiful flock of Oystercatchers. It was around five when we arrived in Fishnish, just in time for the last ferry of the day, which is always something to take into account when you’re visiting islands in Scotland, especially in the winter time.
Mull surprised us in a positive way, in some ways Mull is a continuation of the mainland, landscape wise, but in the Western parts you get a real remote island feeling, which is just what we were looking for. Next time we’ll be heading south for a visit to the holy island of Iona.