Thursday, May 11, 2006

Things they don't tell you about the Puffin trip

If you arrive on Mull by 1030 in the morning (From the Oban or Lochaline ferries) then you'll be at Ulva Ferry by 1115. The boat will leave the slipway at 1145. You'll be back in time to get the last ferry home.

In between, you'll see sights of wonder - nothing like them anywhere in the world. First you'll spend time at Fingals Cave on Staffa. Those upright rock formations are so strange.

Then you'll be off to a landing on Lunga island in the little group of Treshnish Isles. Your boat will pick up a pontoon, put it on the rocks and you'll clamber up a hill to a cliff where the sight that you see will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Puffins are amazing. Little self-contained things with colourful beaks and supreme self confidence. When Gillian and I went on the trip the Puffins had arrived from all over the Atlantic to settle on this one great cliff. Busy getting scraps of earth, lining nests. They don't mind how close you get.

In late April they start to muzzle one another with their beaks ready for a grand night of Whey-
Hey. We had to avert our eyes. They stay with their new familes until early August then they are off to goodness knows where in some ocean or other until next Spring.

But what they don't tell you about the Turus Mara is how much fun you get on the boat, and how nice is the skipper and the Morrison family. We had son Colin as Master and his sister Cooch freshly back from New Zealand. We felt totally confident the whole time. As Colin's dad - boss Iain - is supposed to remark when asked if he knows where all the underwater rocks are, "No, but it is better to know where they aren't"

Colin's commentary includes, "On this little island you find razorbills and guillemots doing
their housework at this time of the day, on this other island there are mermaids but you'll have
to come back in June for them, and if anyone can find our anything about this island we are
passing, or make it up, then I'd like to know and lie about it."

Coming back, Colin whistled and up came a school of dolphins to swim all around our boat. They'd already fed themselves and saw us as a big brother come to play.

It is a wonderful outstanding trip. Pick a nice day with a flat sea. You'll never forget it.
Leave our cottage just after 0800 and go the cheap way via Lochaline. No need to book the car
ferry. Phone Pat Morison first on 08000 858786. Cost of the trip is £42.50 each, Lochaline ferry
is about £10 one way, Corran ferry is £5.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dervaig,a truly unspoilt Highland Village, Mull

Gillian and I truly enjoyed staying in the village. No yuppification here on the West coast of Mull. Just a High Street of cottages, a Post Office and shop, a stream running through the village. Its been like this for nearly 800 years. Lovely Church of Scotland with a rather beautiful tower.Before restoration the Church was regarded as colder and wetter indoors than out, but it has been completely restored.

Then there is the Bellachroy Hotel with its lively bar, and really good meals. You won't beat the food and the service here. Someone in the house has been doing it since 1608. This makes it the oldest Inn on Mull.

John and Gillian
Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
  • Short Breaks Glencoe
  • Stories about Appin villages blog