Archive for Iona

Mull Paddles

Posted in Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags , , , , on October 28, 2014 by Jinja Coo
Oban Harbour

Oban Harbour

My first time paddling on or near Mull’s coast and what a place it is. We headed over on a late ferry from Oban, on the day of various sporting events, including the Oban Sea Kayak Race, so there was quite a buzz in the town to enjoy before our departure. Great views from the ferry at sunset, but our late crossing meant we finally got to Calgary Bay very late, and with people already bedded down, we were as quiet as we could be. Next morning we had a very early start, so again quiet as mice striking camp, then the short drive to other end of beach where we could get ready without disturbing anyone.

Looking up the Sound of Mull at sunset

Looking up the Sound of Mull at sunset

Lismore's Lighhouse

Lismore’s Lighhouse

Looking up length of Lismore

Looking up length of Lismore

What a day! Our best conditions for paddling in a long time. Flat calm, sunshine, but not too hot. Big open spaces and lots of islands and mountains (on Mull) to view. Porpoises, birds, seals, even gorgeous jelly fish and anemones.

Early departure form Calgary Bay

Early departure form Calgary Bay

First light on the cliffs at Calgary Bay

First light on the cliffs at Calgary Bay

Staffa in distance

Staffa in distance

Dutchman's Cap

Dutchman’s Cap

Mull's Ben More

Mull’s Ben More

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By 9am, we had covered 15km and were rewarded ourselves with a quick coffee stop on Staffa before crossing to Dutchman’s Cap, the southern most of the Treshnish Isles. Lunch further up this chain of islands before continuing back to Calagry Bay and quite a different scene. What had been an empty beach on our launch was now teeming with people doing what people do at beaches on warm, sunny days. Great – I took inspiration from others and finished off the day with a swim.

Staffa

Staffa

Fingal's Cave

Fingal’s Cave

Staffa

Staffa

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Basking seals

Basking seals

Rum and Eigg in the distance

Rum and Eigg in the distance

The long drive down Mull’s east coast had us arrive in Fionnphort with rumbling tums, so eating was the priority before getting settled at the campsite at Fidden Farm – one of the best I’ve stayed at.

Looking out past Iona's southern tip

Looking out past Iona’s southern tip

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Three evenings enjoyed there with great sunsets and starry nights, but we were only spared winds for our day on Staffa, and they were back in full force for our remaining journeys round Erraid, (somewhere I have wanted to visit for a long time), Iona and the north coast of the Ross of Mull.

Milky Way

Milky Way

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Iona's northern tip

Iona’s northern tip

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Thar she blow's!

Thar she blows!

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Mull, Staffa and Iona

Posted in Trips, Wildlife with tags , , , on April 22, 2014 by Jinja Coo

A full day of driving, boating and walking to get ourselves out to Staffa on a puffin hunt.

We drove to Oban to board the Mull-bound ferry and then on to a bus with good commentary from Craignure over to Fionnphort where our tour boat would carry us onwards to Staffa itself. An hour on land there was followed by the return journey to Iona where a longer stopover allowed a visit to the famous Abbey. Then the journey in reverse with the lowering sun casting a very different light on the hills and water all around us. A stunning day with barely a cloud in the sky and just a slight chill in the breeze.

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In terms of wildlife, along the way we saw; two otters (we think) one from the car and one from the bus, countless heron, seals, two golden eagles flying together, a sea eagle, eiders – on and under the water – from above on Staffa’s cliffs, shags, guillemots, fulmars, gulls, deer and … thankfully puffins too. Not on land yet, but rafted up together just off of Staffa. They are possibly waiting till enough of them are gathered for safer burrowing later on as there were no burrows at all on land that we could see yet.

One unexpected critter was some kind of mouse, darting about the beach on Iona, which seemed to be completely oblivious to the risk it was running being so exposed to gulls and crows who were taking an interest. It was relocated to some scrub at the head of the beach but refused to take cover and possibly didn’t last much longer.

13th to 15th November, 2009 – Trip to Mull and Iona

Posted in Hiking, Trips with tags , on November 15, 2009 by Jinja Coo

Spent Saturday getting to and visiting Iona and its Abbey, we also braved the winds and took in the views up on the island’s highest point.

On the Sunday, we set off on a walk we had found out about the previous evening; an interesting route on the north west of Mull which would follow a section of coast and give good views of the Treshnish Isles (and more further away), pass abandoned villages and an old illicit still housed in a partially concealed cave.