Scotland 2006 - Part 4

The Isle of Mull

Standing stone seen from the cairn on the way to Oban

Go to Map of Scotland 2006

July 11 

We are leaving the mainland to go over to the Isle of Mull

On our way to Oban, we passed by a standing stone and a cairn
Here is John on top of the cairn right next to the standing stone

Our ferry is arriving into the harbor of  Oban A seagull hovers above the stern of the boat, awaiting handouts

Looking back at Oban as we're leaving for Mull

We took the ferry from Oban on the mainland to Craignure in the southern part of Mull. From there we took a mostly narrow road to Tobermory, the main town on Mull, some 20 km up the east coast.

The B&B was excellent and our artist/landlord recommended that we take a boat tour from the west coast to the islands of Lunga and Staffa. There was no telling what the weather was going to be like, but as usual in Scotland you feel that it can change in five minutes, so nothing to worry about.

We drove to Ulva Ferry to catch the cruise boat (Wildlife and Seabird Cruise-tours) to take us on this great little cruise to several islands, mostly Staffa with Fingal's Cave and Lunga, but also bypassing other smaller islands with various interesting histories.

As the skipper brought us up in front of Fingal's Cave, he put on a CD of the Hebrides by Felix Mendellsohn which was of course de rigueur for the occasion. Mull and Skye are among the Inner Hebrides and Harris and Lewis are known as the Outer Hebrides.

Staffa and Fingal's Cave

The skipper brought the boat to the entrance of Fingal's Cave before leaving us off at the landing The very striking hexagonal rock formations which very much resemble the Giant's Causeway on the northern coast of Ireland

View west from Staffa over a number of smaller islands

The entrance to Fingal's cave as we approach it on the rocks The cathedral like interior of Fingal's Cave where we stepped on a ledge across from the rock formations seen here.

Profile of a vertical rock seen from the top of the island Looking down at the spit of land where we'd walked out a while before on the hexagonal stones that are found all along the sides of the island. The tide is coming in here.

The Island of Lunga and myriads of birds

On the western Scottish islands you can't avoid learning some about the multitude of various birds from the many bird watchers you meet, always friendly people who are more than willing to share their love and knowledge with you. You are bound to leave from your trip with at least one bird book and an inkling of knowledge about birds in this area.

This was by no means the first time we'd come across nice people who taught us a bit about Scottish birds - gannets, lapwings and kittewakes diving for fish - among others, last year off the western coast of Harris.

The path leading up to the bird fairyland  Some sort of red-backed Swedish bird, not to be found in bird book

Thousands of birds - guillemots, shags, razorbills, puffins, gannets and kittywakes

More of a close-up of the masses of guillemots Two shags in front, a razorbill just behind and loads of guillemots in the background
A puffin family (5 or 6) and guillemots A puffin, fish in beak
Proud and beautiful razorbill (two young ones behind and below?) A wind-blown Siv on her way back to the boat landing after at least one hour of fascinating bird watching.

The northwestern coast of Lunga on our way back from the bird paradise

On our way back we passed by several islands and our skipper told us histories about them, the Dutchman's Cap was one of them, looking amusingly like a flat and very wide hat.

Back on Mull. The sky had cleared up some after a somewhat gray morning, but clouds or no clouds, it had been a wonderful and eventful day.

Go to Scotland - Part 5

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