A few years in early autumn I went on a road trip that took me to the west coast of Scotland and then to the island’s of Mull, Iona, Ulva and Staffa It was one of the nicest holidays I’ve had. I hope this post gives a feel for the area and season. The trip started with a drive up the west coast with a visit to the lovely town of Inverrary.
After an overnight stay in Oban it is just a short Cal Mac ferry crossing to the Isle of Mull. It was a revelation to me, much bigger than it looks on the map! Tobermory was a smashing little fishing port with one of the best Fish restaurants I have ever been to. While we were eating a boat was unloading its catch outside the front door! Calgary in the northwest of the island was though one of my highlights.
At Calgary on Mull is a beautiful beach and an interesting sculpture art trail through a wooded ravine. It was quiet on the day I visited and fun exploring different sculpture by the sea.
After exploring Calgary beach and the nearby sculpture art trail it was time to leave Mull and head to Iona. I was enjoying the trip a lot and with each mile we were getting further from the British mainland. Not such a bad thing in this bloggers humble opinion.
At the south of Mull is Fionphort where you catch the ferry to Iona. There are no cars allowed so that car was abandoned for a few days as we lugged our cases through the village and onto the ferry. I was finally getting to visit an island I had wanted to go to for a long time.
What a beautiful and peaceful place Iona is. Busy through the day with day trippers but quiet once the last ferry leaves. There are great beaches, the Iona Nunnery and the abbey. I think I probably could have stayed for a long time.
Iona War Memorial.
I have to admit not visiting Iona for any religious reasons. People have asked me, if not religion then what about spiritual? Nah, but being on these beaches in early October was wonderful. Alone, mortal and quite insignificant on the grand scheme of things. One life to be cherished. Only those with the hardest hearts could fail to be moved by Iona’s beautiful beaches.
The thing that sowed the seed for this trip was hearing Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture’ on the early breakfast show on #BBC Radio 3. He was said to be inspired for the music by Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa. Well that was a few weeks earlier and I decided in that moment if was ever going to see it, then the moment had arrived.
There are regular boat trips to Staffa. So it was one Sunday in Oct I found myself heading out into the Atlantic with a bunch of other tourists from all corners of the globe. Apart from not having long enough on the island (check before you go, some only offer a relatively short stay on the island for a hefty ticket price) it was fabulous fun. Atlantic swell, Fingal’s cave and a family of Dolphins. tick, tick, tick!
Back on Mull and I headed to the fourth island of my trip to Ulva and what a beautiful place it is. There was a fun ferry crossing, a nice cafe, beautiful woodland and interesting walks. A great place for a day out out in the sun, wind and rain of a Scottish October day.
The ferry man when I was crossing to Ulva told me that the walk across the island to the south side was worth the effort. There are various marked trails on the island ranging from easy to a little more strenuous. On the south side are numerous abandoned settlements are outstanding.
Isle of Ulva, ‘Southside’.
Back on Mull by the side of the road to the Ulva ferry is Eas Fors waterfall. The stream tumbles down the hill, under a road and then straight off the cliff to the rocky beach below. It is an impressive to stop for a while. This then is the end of my post, being an account of a road trip to four Scottish islands a few years ago. wonder if I’ll ever get back?