Posted on 30th September 2016 at 2:32pm
Mull – Worth the Trip Off the Beaten Track
I thought it might be a fun idea to write about some place which I find special but which are not all that well known. Scotland has quite a few gems that are off the beaten track. Perhaps that is to be expected for a country with a large area (32% of the UK land mass) but with a small population of around 5.3 million.
My first choice its Calgary, but not the famous one in Canada. Calgary on the Isle of Mull has, in my opinion, one of the finest beaches in the UK, situated on one of the country’s most charming islands.
The name Calgary comes from the Gaelic, Cala Ghearraidh, “ Beach of the Meadow”. The beach is surrounded by low hills, craggy headlands and woods – a truly gorgeous location. Despite that, it is rarely very busy, but even at peak holiday times it is so large that overcrowding is most unlikely.
The main settlement was once at Inivea, above Calgary Pier, which became uninhabited in the early 1800’s during the Highland Clearances. Unfortunately the unscrupulous laird thought he could earn more money by grazing sheep on the land. The settlement of today is scattered around the vicinity of the Calgary Farmhouse and Hotel.
On a good day Calgary beach is just fabulous. However, the weather in this part of the world is variable and visitors would be well advised to have a wet weather plan.
Nearby there is a fair amount to do. Tobermory, just twelve miles from Calgary, is an attractive small town that has featured in the children’s’ TV programme as ‘Balamory.’ The town has a distillery, museum and an aquarium – so a wide range of tastes are catered for.
I have stayed at the Tobermory Hotel in Tobermory and was impressed. It’s full of character, the owners were pleasant and enthusiastic and we received a true Scottish warm welcome. We also got a fantastic view over the bay.
Tip : if you decide to stay in this hotel you’ve got to try the West coast kippers.
The wildlife in Mull can be outstanding. Seals, otters, porpoises and dolphins can be seen, and the magnificent White Tailed Sea Eagle is a sight to behold. There are a number of tours available, either by bus or boat. It is worthwhile taking advantage of local experts who can search out the numerous species of birds and mammals.
If you visit out of season you might be rewarded with seeing more of the wildlife as the shorter days mean that they have less time to feed.
Iona is a small island to the west of Mull and is reached by a ferry from Fionnphort. Its Abbey is historic, having been established in AD 563 by Saint Columba, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Scotland from Ireland.
The Iona Heritage Centre provides a rang of information about island life over the last few centuries: the fishing and crofting community; schools and churches; artists and craftworkers; visitors and memorable events. The flora, geology and history of the island are all covered.
The Hebridean Light
One thing that is special about this part of the world is the light. Mull, along with the rest of the Inner Hebrides, can have ‘four seasons in one day’. The exposed position means that clouds are often driven along at a considerable speed providing a special kind of light show. As you would expect, the sunsets can be stunning. It is little wonder that this part of Scotland ha attracted many prominent artists over the years.
An Unhurried Pace
If you do go to Mull, I hope you agree with me that it has a special appeal..Despite having some really spectacular scenery and an amazing range of wildlife, it is an uncrowded spot. It is an unhurried existence. Many of the roads are single track but with numerous passing places. The protocol is for the driver who is nearest to the passing place to pull over and for the other to acknowledge this with an understated wave as they pass. Another small aspect of the island’s charm.
How to Get There
The main ferry route is from Oban to Craignure with the voyage lasting 45 minutes. Other routes are from Lochaline to Fishnish and Kilchoan to Tobermory.
Get all the travel information you need right here – https://www.calmac.co.uk/
Where to Eat
The restaurant, which gets good reviews on Trip Advisor, is housed in a contemporary wooden building The atmosphere is described as ‘airy, light and cosy.’
Mull Evening Tour
UK Airport Car Parks
Truly comparing the real cost of secured airport parking in the UK.