The Isle of Mull is an island just off the west coast of Scotland. Even among West Coast islands (that have scenic heavyweights such as Skye & Arran), Mull is one of the most stunning places to spend a summer weekend in Scotland. We did so in summer last year and describe our highlights of the south of Isle of Mull. We did not visit Tobermory and would like to in a future trip.
Reasons to visit
Isle of Staffa: Staffa is one of the best places to visit in Scotland, period. We’d pick Staffa over any other natural attraction in Scotland (Glencoe, Loch Ness, etc) as its such a unique place to visit. Its a small island created due to volcanic activity 55 MILLION YEARS AGO. Its rocks are hexagonal in shape and stacked in a geometry-porn manner. Fingal’s cave is its defining feature, an acoustic marvel that’s the inspiration for the Hebridian Overture piece by Felix Mendelssohn. And the cherry on top is seeing super-cute puffins (who aren’t afraid of humans) flying about and even catching fish.
If you’re coming to Scotland for the 1st time or the nth time, visit the Isle of Staffa is you already haven’t. Thank us later 🙂
Tip: The best way to beat hunger on the boat trip to/from Staffa is to buy some seafood sandwiches / soup from The Creel Seafood Bar just across the pier. Its the freshest sandwich we’ve ever had. So, so good.
Iona Abbey: On the way back from the Isle of Staffa, we chose to get off at Iona to check out the Iona Abbey, a medieval church that has had a place of worship on site since 564 AD and is one of the most important religious centres in Western Europe. We love going into old buildings as they feel so different from everyday life. We also walked about the ruins of the nunnery next door. A fascinating visit, especially for lovers of history, art or theology. We also got our feet wet at the tiny beach off Iona Abbey & spotted a seal cub on our way in!
Duart Castle: Finally, we trip to any part of Scotland can be complete without visiting a castle. Luckily for us, Mull is home to Duart Castle, one of the oldest inhabited castles in Scotland with people who still live there. We got some gorgeous weather on our visit to Duart castle and spent an hour touring the castle and grounds. Great picnic spot on a sunny day.
Public transport logistics
The first step to visiting Mull is getting to the town of Oban.
Oban is well connected to the rest of Scotland via a scenic ScotRail train ride from Glasgow Central and a corresponding bus journey run by Scottish CityLink (bus 976). There are also buses to Fort William connecting northward to Skye & Inverness. Finally, there is a Wednesday-only weekly ferry from Islay to Oban via Colonsay (one that Dalek almost took but got cancelled).
From Oban, it’s a 1 hour CalMac ferry tide to Isle of Mull’s Craignure ferry terminal. Buses connect onward to Tobermory & Fionnphort. We stayed at Craignure as it’s pretty tiring to just get to Mull.
To get to Staffa (again summer-only), you’ll need to morning bus to Fionnphort arriving in time for the 10 AM Staffa Trips boat.
Campsite / Accommodation Review: Shieling Holidays
This is where Dalek was first inspired to learn how to camp after seeing many a tent pitched in the campsite who had sweeping views of the landscape. Camping is open Mar – Nov.
This campsite also has cottages that are open all year and Shielings which as big, preset tents with a small kitchen & shower attached. We stayed in a 4 person Shieling and it was comfortable. It rained heavily all night the 1st night and not a drop seeped in.
UK campsite reviews: http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/reviews.asp?revid=3443
Distance from ferry terminal: 10 minute walk
Food availability: Inn next door and department store near ferry terminal for supplies.
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