The Isle of Mull
Mull is the third largest of Scotland’s islands and is located about 10 miles west of Oban. The island is only 30 miles in length but due the many sealochs, sometimes nearly cutting the island in two, it has a coastline of some 300 miles. Access to the island is by vehicle ferry from Oban (main route) across the Firth of Lorne, from Lochaline over the Sound of Mull and from Kilchoan in Western Ardnamurchan. The island also has a small airstrip for private planes only as there are no scheduled services.
The island is quite mountainous especially to the south and west. Ben More at 3169 ft is the highest point and there are also spectacular steep cliffs to the west. The population of 2,500 is mainly located in towns and villages around the circumference of the island especially in Tobermory, Salen, Craignure, Bunessan, Calgary, Dervaig and Pennyghael.
Industry on the island is restricted to forestry, agriculture and especially tourism which is easily the largest money earner and employer. The main attractions of Mull are its island status - always an attraction in itself - and its remote and mountainous terrain. With the population being located around the coast, there is a large expanse of remote landscape, internally, just waiting to be explored with abundant wildlife and superb scenery. The island is very popular with outdoor activity operators and wildlife enthusiasts.
Tobermory, the main town, is located in the northern part of the island. It is famed for its distillery, and the Spanish Galleon which sank in 1588 and lies in the silt somewhere offshore. This is a magnate for divers from all over the world. The town has many facilities including a bank, post office, supermarket and local museum. It also has a small confectionery factory, the distillery and plenty of accommodation from hotels to B&B, from Youth Hostels/bunkhouses to Self Catering. There is also a vehicle ferry link to Kilchoan in Western Ardnamurchan. Aros Park lies a few miles south and offers some fine walks and picnic sites.
Travelling anti-clockwise on the coastal B8073, the village of Dervaig lies 8 miles west of Tobermory and is known for its Mull Little Theatre which has seating for only 43. Further west, overlooking the islands of Coll and Tiree lies Calgary Bay. Turning south down the shores of Loch Tuath, past Treshnish Point with its views out to the Treshnish Isles, wildlife is abundant. The islands of Ulva and Gometra lie on the southern shore of Loch Tuath. The heritage centre on Ulva is worth visiting across a very short ferry crossing. Salen lies on the junction of the main Tobermory road.
To the south east of the island, overlooking Morvern over the Sound of Mull, lie two ferry ports, Fishnish (for the Lochaline/Morvern - ferry) and Craignure (for the main link to Oban). Near to Craignure are Duart and Torosay Castles two of the main attractions on the island, complete with narrow gauge railway. And, to the south west, lies the beautiful and historic Isle of Iona with its ancient abbey and serene and peaceful atmosphere – an atmosphere that just has to be experienced at least once in your life!
The Isle of Mull is of isles the fairest,
Of ocean’s gems ‘tis the first and rarest;
Green grassy island of sparkling fountains,
Of waving woods and high tow'ring mountains.
So wrote Dugald MacPhail of this compact island steeped in history and culture. In the south west corner the single road is often busy with people making the pilgrimage to Iona while the capital Tobermory in the north east provides a haven for boats. The island is usually visited by the ferry from Oban which arrives at Craignure under the shadow of Duart Castle.
At Gruline there is a mausoleum to Major General Laclan Macquire who was Governor General of New South Wales form 1809-19 and is regarded as the “Father of Australia”. R.L.Stevensons “Kidnapped” is said to be set on the island of Erraii in the south west of Mull while Staffa (reached by regular boat trips) is home to Fingal’s Cave which inspired Mendelssohn’s Overture.
There is a wide variety of accommodation on Mull and many different tours and guides to show you the secrets of the this delightful island.