It was the last week of February 2009 and we stayed with friends in Lochaline on the Morvern Peninsula. A remote and lonely area with only a few villages, lots of mountains and great scenery, although we missed most of that when we arrived the day before when we took the Corran Ferry to cross Loch Linnhe. The weather was horrible, pooring rain and almost zero visibility. Luckily the weather changed and on a Thursday in the last week of February we saw ourselves on the Calmac ferry from Lochaline to Fishnish on the Isle of Mull. It was bright and sunny with an occasional shower presenting great light conditions and dramatic skies, fantastic.
The ferry crossing takes about 10 minutes and when you head for Tobermory you enter the longest stretch of “normal road”, the A849, which stretches all the way from Tobermory in the north to Fionnphort in the south-west, gateway for Iona. All the other roads on Mull are single track. The first stretch of our trip took us from Fishnish passing Salen Bay to Tobermory. We had great views over the Sound of Mull towards Morvern and when a heavy rain shower passed we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow.
Tobermory is a colourful town, very picturesque and well equipped for visitors and locals alike. Important buildings in the town include Tobermory Clock Tower, a museum, the Tobermory Scotch whisky distillery, the Isle of Mull Brewery, and an arts centre. We had a nice stroll and were lucky that the rain stayed away, in fact the sun came out and we decided to continue our journey to the west.
The road out of Tobermory to Dervaig is magnificent with Mishnish Lochs on the left while the road climbs higher and higher to Achnadrish. The views are sometimes breathtaking and you feel like being alone on the island. It will probably be different in the summer but in late February it was so very quiet, which was an added bonus. Dervaig is a wee village with a remarkable church tower, all white and rounded off. I haven’t seen anything like it elsewhere in Scotland.
We headed for Calgary Bay in the far north-west of Mull and were lucky that a huge shower had passed just before we arrived. Calgary Bay is beautiful with it’s magnificent sandy beach, blue-green water and surrounding hills. Well worth a visit! We continued south over the B8073 towards Ensay and Tresnhish, probably named after the Treshnish Isles, a couple of miles south-west of Treshnish Point. Usually you get to see the Isle of Coll but another shower arrived so we headed south-east and enjoyed the magnificent road and views.
When you arrive at Tostarie you get to see dramatic views of Loch Tuach and the isles of Gometra, Ulva and further out to sea, to the west, the Treshnish Isles. We enjoyed this stretch of road immensely with its ever changing light, moods and views. There are several places here where you can stop and enjoy the scenery which is what we did as well.
Just passed Lagganulva which is nothing more than a couple of houses and a school, is a road to the right that takes you to the Ulva Ferry pier. There is no access for cars to Ulva which makes the island even more interesting for a visit, unfortunately we had to save that for some other time. Heading back for the main road towards Salen we stopped on a passing place overlooking the Sound of Ulva with more breathtaking views to the isles of Eorsa, Inch Kenneth and the high cliffs on the left which I believe belong to Creadh Bheinn. The sun broke through some dark clouds which gave extremely dramatic views somehow fitting to the stunning landscape.
The road from Killiemor to Kellan along Loch na Keal usually offers splendid views of Ben More, with 966 metres the highest mountain on the Isle of Mull. Today however clouds covered the summit but the views of the loch and the light conditions made up for that. It was now 4pm and we headed back to Fishnish to catch the last ferry to Lochaline. It was a memorable day and we had a magnificent tour over the most beautiful part of Mull. I’m sure there is a lot more to discover which is all the more reason for a return visit.