Monday, 2 July 2012

The Grand Scottish Tour continues to Mull

Monday 11th June
We set off from Moffatt at 9.00 and filled up at a nearby garage with petrol and Mars Bars - purely emergency rations of course - the Mars Bars, not the petrol - we knew we were in for a long haul - three hours to Oban, then 40 minutes on the ferry followed by another 50 minutes ride across Mull.

It took longer than we expected.  We had some rain up to and through Glasgow but it had eased off by Loch Lomond.  We stopped there for coffee and walked down to look at the Loch, were amused by two swans with their three goslings swimming gracefully but then they came out of the water seeking bread from nearby humans.

Swans and cygnets at Loch Lomond
The youngsters struggled to waddle up the sandy beach.  We'd laughed at people waving away the notorious midges which we could see were biting them whilst we had watched from the safety of the cafe, enjoying our coffee - but we weren't laughing when they started nibbling us.  Soon back on the bike encased in our crash helmets we made our way on our journey.  So far we'd made good time and only 1.5 hours to go.

On the road to Oban
Then we came across a small tail-back which turned out to be caused by a car on fire.  Traffic stopped both ways - there was nothing we could do but wait with the other bikers at the front of the queue and watch the fire-brigade do their job.  The best thing about being on a bike is that you can ride to the front of a tail-back and be one of the first off again as soon as the road is open.  And at last we were on our way again - worried now about the timing - we arrived in Oban just in time to buy tickets and catch the 2 o'clock ferry.

On the roads of Mull
View from Ti-Nah-Mara
It was raining again on Mull but the island is truly beautiful and still unspoilt.  We rode all the way up to Tobermory and across the winding road to Dervaig.

The B and B - Ti-Nah-Mara is on the side of a loch which is visited regularly by a female otter - we just missed seeing her several times.  Catherine is the landlady of the B and B and she's very nice.  She left out some binoculars for us, is very friendly, loves to talk and it turned out that she worked many years ago with the Heskeths who ran Mull Little Theatre in Dervaig back in the 1970s.  I was quite excited to be back in Dervaig - I stayed with Marianne and Barry Hesketh in the late 1970s at Druimard and visited the theatre which at the time was in the Guinness Book Of Records as the world's smallest theatre.  Lovely times spent with their son Nick and his wife Fiona, one year we camped beside a waterfall somewhere in the island and I had a hankering to try and find the site again.

A meal and a beer in the Bellachroy Hotel

Dervaig boasts the oldest Inn on the island - The Bellachroy Hotel - we ate our evening meal there on our first night and began to plan the next day.  I wanted to see Iona.

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