For some years I have always wanted to visit Mull but there always seemed to be something to get in the way, however, this year I booked it early so I had to go! Its a long, twelve hour drive to Oban needing an overnight stop on route and then boarded the Calmac ferry for the forty minute crossing.
HOODED CROWS IN THE HARBOUR AND ELSEWHERE
We seemed to be blessed with good weather during our stay, only a couple of short showers late afternoon and going at this time we missed most of the midges that I heard can be a big problem later in the season.
THE FERRY WAS DOING SIX CROSSINGS A DAY BUT BOOKING IS NEEDED
AS YOU CAN SEE LOVELY WEATHER
DUART CASTLE, MULL
THE FINAL APPROACH TO CRAIGNURE, MULL
Its quite a large island but a population of only c.3000, the only town being Tobermory, the rest are just collections of houses some of which could be described as villages with the odd Spar' shop which sold everything.
SCOTTISH MAINLAND OPPOSITE
Arrived at the Glenforsa Hotel around lunchtime then drove to Loch Na Keal to see two golden eagles and one of the sea eagles that nest there. Its a known watch point luckily for me, several people were there to put me straight onto things. In the lock there were mergansers and grt. northern divers in breeding plumage plus greylag and Canada geese which were to be seen all around the island, very common. Other common birds were cuckoos, heard everyday along with huge numbers of willow warblers, many more than at home...thank goodness someone's got some! Robins were also very common often seen on the moors, most unusual.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS WERE ALWAYS IN THE LOCHS
The next day we did the forty mile drive to Fionnphort where we boarded the ferry to Iona as I hoped to see corncrake as the literature spoke of this being a good place to find them.
THE SMALL FERRY AND A TEN MINUTE CROSSING
ROOM FOR ABOUT FOUR CARS AND LOTS OF FOOT PASSENGERS
I saw a gannet during the crossing but little else and once on Iona a walk of a couple of hundred yards and I was hearing corncrakes in the tiny grassy fields. Later I caught sight of one and got a head shot with the camera, well happy. Other birds were, sedge warbler, goldfinch, rook, chiffchaff and greenfinch plus loads of jackdaws.
CORNCRAKE - THEIR 'RASPING' WAS SO LOUD
THIS WAS INTERESTING I DIDN'T KNOW BT HAD AN EXCHANGE ON THE ISLAND!
We returned via a scenic route through a glen and around the coast stopping to see some yellow moths that seemed to be everywhere in the glens and took photos of the breathtaking scenery. Other common birds on the island were common sandpipers, pied wagtails and breeding common gulls, no black-headeds seen though or lessers.
SPECKLED YELLOW MOTH
LOCK NA KEAL
MOUTH OF LOCH NA KEAL ON THE RIGHT
Back to the hotel which was a large Scandinavian building with eleven bedrooms with two small cabins in the grounds, one of which was ours. At the bottom of the 'garden' was the airstrip, the owner, a bit of a pilot and beyond that the beach and sound between Mull and the mainland.
The island has a small medical facility but any broken limbs, heart attacks etc. its a helicopter, forty minutes to Glasgow hospital paid for by the NHS and we were woken two nights by the helicopter landing. I wonder if they will be able to afford that if they go independant?
SUNSET AT THE END OF THE SECOND DAY