Mull Island is a magical Scottish Island. It's probably the least-visited island that can only be reached if you take a ferry, but if you venture to go you can meet the wonderful people of Tobermory. Typical fishing village but with that magic as if time had stopped. It should be a must stop his distillery!
The old distillery is this town is found right at the city's entrance. It represents local pride, and has suppliers of the famous fire water (the Celts), which is so handy on cold and stormy days. The distillery was founded in 1798 and has been in work ever since then. Honestly, the products are very good, especially for people who are lovers of the world of pure malt whiskey. Productions mainly focus on Tobermory 10 years (very good, if somewhat intense flavor my short and not smoking) and Tobermory 15 years (with a lot more body and a little more honey in its composition). Iona have another single malt whiskey, which for my taste is too dry, very pale and that nothing can compete with Tobermory 10 years. The best thing is just to try it, because of course tastes, etc differ (or "spirits"). The Tour of most meh, nothing new except a strong promotion to the Hebrides as suppliers of whiskey (which is true), of course.
Iona is a small island belonging to the group of islands of the Inner Hebrides and next to the Isle of Mull, separated by the narrow strait of Iona. This island is famous for its scenery, peace and tranquility. In fact its fame is given on religious grounds with ancient origins, for the visit and stay of St. Columba (a Celtic name without translation, perhaps we could say St. Columbus, but this is neither accurate nor appropriate), founder and Catholic relgion transmitter in Scotland, with blessing and permission of the Pope of Rome. The general ignorance about these saints in Southern Europe is simply because over time were classified as Catholics - Celtic and were simply not mentioned or studied at school. The abbey is the main attraction of the island, completely rebuilt by priests of all religions, year after year, piece by piece. And that's the funny thing, this abbey is at the service of any religion, anywhere in the world that requires a kind of united nations of religions. The island also has a ruined convent, a few unspoiled walks and unusual places, you actually realize that neither the weather nor the time is taken into account. A lovely area - I had long wanted to go for a long time and the truth is that the visit was worth it.
Almost fused with the mountain and the same tiny, single path road, we come to the Calgary area (before the Canadiene) just at the other end of the island. Also known as Mull Island. Tobermory is in the East and in the West Calgary but at the same height, north of the island. There are a few scattered houses and groups of people in a small picnic area or rest. Behind them, you'll see the white sands of Calgary, looking to the Outer Hebrides. The waters are cold there, but crystal clear. We were by ourselves on the beach and there was a silence only disturbed by the crashing of the waves and the occasional seagull. Can we really think that the 21st century is possible to get lost in places where the strange thing is the presence of other people. We left happy, that's for sure.
Calgary Bay faces the North Atlantic Ocean from the northwest point of the Isle of Mull. Just 20 kilometers from Tobermory, this beautiful beach is well worth a visit as it is one of the few beaches on the island with dunes covered by wild plants. It is also protected by the locals, who do their best to shelter the bushes from storms.
Located on the eastern coast of the Isle of Mull (itself located west of the Scottish mainland), the village cemetery of Glenforsa is about 16 kilometers south of Tobermory, along the A849 road which starts at Oban Ferry Terminal. This cemetery is set in an almost theatrical location: at the edge of the ocean, with the great Gaelic cross drawing large dark shapes on bright clouds ... it's like the whole of Scotland contained in one small place!
In the center of the port of Tobermory, on the small Scottish island of Mull, the clock tower marks the beginning of the pier dock, which is divided into two parts. This monument was erected a little more than a hundred years ago, in 1905, by Mrs. Bishop in honor of her sister who died in Tobermory in 1880. It has become a symbol of the city.
If you're lucky enough to be on the island of Mull, west of the Scottish highlands, with a vehicle, do not miss the chance to get to know the west coast of the island. The road is long and slow, as it winds through the hills and along the coast, and it is true that at some points we can't wait for it to end ... but this is a scenic route that offers incredible views of the island's coasts, and your progress will be made even slower by the need to stop every five minutes to take pictures!
While following the A848 road along the east coast of the Isle of Mull, in the North Atlantic off the Scottish Highlands, we noticed three stranded boats right on the edge of the road, just after we passed the village of Salen (about halfway between the town of Tobermory and the Craignure ferry dock). We stopped to take pictures of these abandoned, photogenic boats, and a few days later, realized that we were not the only ones ... the same photos appear on most of the island's postcards!
Built in the fifteenth century by the local Scottish lord, the castle of Moy has been seriously damaged, and we were shocked to discover that it was actually closed to the public and surrounded by scaffolding which is apparently the only thing holding it up! But the way to get there is still quite nice, as you pass along Loch Buie, and see many trees covered with flowers and birds fishing in the water!
Facing the harbor of the village of Tobermory, at the northeast tip of the Isle of Mull, Mull Pottery shop is probably the best place on the island if you want to leave with some souvenirs! What is nice is that most of these mementos are handmade by one of the artists on the island of Mull, so they are sometimes a bit more expensive than those made in China, but also of far higher quality, and totally unique!
If you go to the castle of Moy, in the south of the island of Mull, you're sure to be impressed by the views you can see from the road. This small, single lane road passes along several lochs (sometimes lochs, sometimes saltwater fjords) that reflect the beautiful mountains like crystal clear mirrors. And with a bit of luck, you might even see a few deer!
Located with most of the other shops along the harbor of Tobermory, at the northeast tip of the island of Mull, this is a shop which sells soaps, which are actually made on site! When you enter, you'll be hit by the smell, and at the back of the store you can see the workshop where the soaps are hand-crafted, using olive oil!
It was nice to know that Scotland has a Celtic past, but surprising to see such impressive sites as this one! Located south of the Isle of Mull, off Oban and the Highlands, the archaeological site of Lochbuie has long been surrounded by farmland - it's a miracle that the standing stones have survived so long, so perhaps they really are sacred ... To get there, a little 15-minute walk across the fields is necessary, sometimes scrambling through mud, but it's easy enough to follow the path as it's marked by white stones.
Located at the end of the dock of Tobermory harbor, the Visitor Center is a great new building where you'll find the Isle of Mull's tourist office. You can get all the updated information on boat trips and other activities available on the island, as well as information about history and events. And interestingly for campers, the center also offers clean toilets and a system of public showers - there's a charge, of course, but you can refresh yourself after a night in a tent!
Aros Natural Park is a beautiful natural area that was formed from the old mansion and lands of Aros, and today is free to visit. There are mixed forests, a lake and a harbor overlooking the sea, where the prestigious family once traded. There are plenty of walking routes to choose from, and they are all quite easy and take no more than one hour. For me the best time of year to visit is autumn, when everything feels very bucolic and romantic.
The road to the pier follows a stream as it goes down to the sea, past the old pier and the old warehouses, with spectacular views of Tobermory Bay. It was raining when we took the walk around the lake, and it was lovely to see how the surface of the water rippled under the raindrops. Apparently in summer, when the weather is good, camping, fishing and barbecues are possible (with a permit). But for me, the autumn was great, and everything in the park was absolutely beautiful.
I've got used to the parks, lakes and other natural areas here in Scotland, but Lake Aros is truly surprising and interesting. The walk around the lake is undeniably beautiful, following a circular loop along the banks, between trees, with plenty of places to sit and enjoy the views. When we went it was completely silent except for the gentle noise of raindrops hitting the surface of the water ... incredible. Legend has it that the younger daughter of a wealthy family was snubbed by her lover beside a small pond and began to mourn. In the morning, the girl was dead and the pond had become a lake, formed by her tears. It's true that the place has a mystical feel, and is definitely worth a visit.
In the upper part of Tobermory, on our way to the beach in the Bay of Calgary, we spotted this isolated cemetery next to some ruins, so of course I had to go and investigate. Here we found some modern tombs mingled with others of great age, their inscriptions almost illegible with age. Inside the cemetery we found the ruins of what was once a stone church, small in size and with clearly medieval features.
After doing a bit of research, I discovered that it was the old church of St Mary's, which belonged to the Benedictine monastery on the island of Iona, where Christianity began in Scotland in the sixth century. It is said to have been founded by St Columba. Very interesting but a little bit tricky to find, and the tourist office didn't know much about it. A real shame to see such a fascinating historical site fall into disrepair.