The Hebrides, Scotland - famous for its picture postcard scenery and an abundance of wildlife, Mull provides an excellent island escape
The Isle of Mull has a variety of attractions to offer its visitors ranging from the diverse coastal and mountain scenery to the wealth of its native wildlife. Situated off the west coast of Scotland, Mull boasts a wonderful seclusion which, thanks to a network of ferry crossings, is actually very accessible.
Caledonian MacBrayne ferry company (www.calmac.co.uk) offer a variety of reliable crossings with the journey taking roughly 45 minutes.
Where to stay
Tobermory has the title of being the main village on the island and the advantage of a gorgeous setting it proves to be a great base for exploring the rest of what Mull has to offer.
We camped about half a mile from the village centre at the Tobermory Campsite. The site is very well cared for with good facilities, the showers and toilets are warm and clean and the kitchen area is sheltered from the changeable Scottish weather. The site also has two midge magnets, unfortunately though these don’t zap them all and repellent is still the most important thing you should pop into the suitcase!
There is also a host of bed a breakfast accommodation and small hotels. Highland Cottage and Harbour Guest House (01688 302209) are two examples of small and friendly places which we were able to look in. We also noticed the slightly larger and grander option of the Western Isles Hotel (01688 302012). We did not stay in any of these places but we would definitely consider going back to the Highland Cottage. Beautifully decorated rooms and an excellent evening dining room, it adds a touch of luxury for about £150 per room.
What to do
A day could easily be whittled away wondering around Tobermory, the colourful presentation of the harbour front was the inspiration for the children’s show Balamory, which should excite and delight any younger visitors. Alternatively, wildlife enthusiasts can revel in the pleasure of spotting the harbour's resident otters whilst enjoying fish and chips from the aptly named “chip van” at the harbour's edge.
However, we wanted to take advantage of the host of wildlife which Mull has to offer by booking on the Isle of Mull Wildlife Expedition (www.torrbuan.com). The tour is run by a fascinating man called David and catered for by his wife. This provided an opportunity to tap into some expert knowledge both about the wildlife and also with regards to what else the island had to offer. David was well versed in all things native to Mull and knew exactly where to take guests to try spot their must see. For us this was the golden eagle, and we saw eagles in abundance! Another family wanted to see otters and David delivered a lovely view of a couple basking in the sun. Tips and hints picked up about the best places to spot the wildlife enabled us to get the most out of the rest of our time on the island. This included spotting porpoise and a bottlenose dolphin just off the coast at Craignure.
On David’s recommendation after the tour we headed over to Calgary beach for the evening. The gentle breeze which rolls in from the sea means that a wonderful midge free evening can be enjoyed! The unspoilt beach was extremely quiet and impeccably clean. There is also opportunity to wild camp on the edge of the beach and with public toilets adjacent to the site it proves a good option as the midge busting off shore winds would bring welcome relief and an insect free tent.
Mull is breathtaking and enjoyment can be weaned from a simple drive around the island occasionally stopping looking to the tops of the hills for deer or eagles.
This was my first trip to Mull, I was amazed by its tranquillity, charmed by the friendly atmosphere and the passion which the locals have for their beautiful home. This short stay provided a snapshot of somewhere one could return to again and again.