Staffa collection

 

We visited the Isle of Mull for the August Bank Holiday weekend.  We stayed in the Pennyghael Hotel, http://www.pennyghaelholidays.co.uk/ , which is under new management and they have a lot of work to do on the hotel rooms to tidy them up (lick of paint, new carpet and replacing some wood in the bathroom etc).  Our room had a good view out to the Loch and there is allegedly an otter that plays opposite, but we seemed to keep missing it.

We took a boat trip to the Isles of Staffa and Iona, on the Iolaire Iona boat.  The water was pretty calm, the main guy who I suspect is the owner came round and talked to each couple on the boat and pointed out different Isles and we could even see the top of Ben Nevis, which is on the mainland.  We really were lucky with the weather.  We got off for a walkabout on Staffa, walked along to Fingal’s Cave and it is interesting to be stepping on these hexagonal basalt formations that were created millions of years earlier.  They are pretty uneven and although I was holding on to the handrail I still managed to twist my ankle, so walking boots would have been a better idea than trainers.  Allistar explored the top whilst I sat and took some photos.  the boat then took us to Iona and we had a wander around the Isle and had lunch in the St Columba Hotel garden looking out across the sea to other islands and Mull.  We went in the Abbey on Iona and had the audio talks, I sat and listened to most of the options in one spot to rest my ankle, but did manage to make it around and see everything as well.

Other activities we did included an eagle watch with the forestry commission/RSPB which would have been better if the eagles had not just fledged the nest a few weeks earlier.   There are white-tailed sea eagles and golden eagles on Mull and we saw the sea eagles, although they were tiny specs even through our binoculars, so would have been good if they had flown a bit nearer to us.  Next time to Mull we will go when the chicks are still in the nest.

Whilst on Mull we also went to The Ninth Wave restaurant in Fionnphort, where we had lobster, which is the first time for me.  We also went to Cafe Fish in Tobermory where I had a smoked fish platter.  The seafood on Mull is a must but I think if we went for a week it would end up being fish overload, but for a mini break it is hard to resist all the seafood.

On our journey back home we stopped at the base of Ben Nevis and had a burger in the Ben Nevis Inn.  As we were sitting eating we kept seeing people coming in all sweaty and hot from their climb.  Loads of different nationalities in there, we enjoyed our food and there is a nice atmosphere in there, fuelled by the sense of achievement of those who had done the climb which was infectious.