Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Mull and Iona

12 June
Lunch on Iona after a wonderful long ride around the West Coast of Mull, we caught the ferry at 12.30.  It was full of tourists - we had seen so few since arriving on Mull that it was a bit of a shock to be truthful although once we got off on Iona, the crowds dispersed very quickly.  We wandered up to the abbey through the back way and managed to miss the rush.  It's definitely a special place even with so many people wandering about.  It would be the ideal place to come for a writer's retreat, although very cold, no doubt.
Today, as we rode through dark clouds after a promising start, it rained part of the way, but now on Iona it's warm and sunny with a bit of a breeze.  We saw a couple of sea eagles, a tawny owl, and some oyster-catchers this morning on our way.  Sitting outside the bar, eating ploughmans and watching the ferry going backwards and forwards to Fionnphort - enjoying what Mark reckons could be the only sunny day of the holiday - wondering what to do for dinner tonight.

We travelled back to Tobermory through a bit more rain - decided to have our evening meal there instead of going straight back to Dervaig.  Spent an hour enjoying more sun - saw two young boy pipers - then ate fish and chips on the harbour.  Met some people from Chichester who were on a cruise from Portsmouth!  Such a small world, we thought.  Then we chatted with some other people who were staying in Dervaig as well - not such a small world really although we realised that they were bikers as well and seemed envious of us as they'd been doing their travelling in a car this time.

13th June
Felt a bit sick last night, but fine this morning.  I think I had a bit of motion sickness from sitting on the back of the bike whilst we rode through the winding roads across the hills yesterday - full of fish and chips!
We decided to spend the day in Tobermory where we walked a little of the coast path then visited the museum, soaking up the history of the Island.  The curator loved to talk about his home and it turned out later that he was the now retired GP and a much-loved old fashioned Doctor for the Islanders.  We trekked up the hill to the Arts Centre in a converted school for a cheese toastie and a coke.  Then dropped into the newer Mull Little Theatre, sadly closed that day, but it felt like I was dipping a toe into the past even so.
Then off again on the bike to search for the waterfall I'd camped beside over thirty years ago when I was on holiday and pregnant with Stevie.  It was harder to find than expected - we'd meandered about the hills for part of the morning before heading off to Tobermory.  Then the Doctor in the museum gave us some idea of where it might be.  There is a river and a waterfall near the beach.  We stopped and took some pictures but I knew that this wasn't it.  So on we travelled, me disappointed that we'd never find it, almost content to leave it back in my memories.  Then suddenly, as we passed over a small bridge, I noticed a fast-moving brook from the road and got Mark to stop beside a metal gate.  'I think this may be it,' I said.  We opened the gate and went into an uneven field, sheep gazing at us curiously.  I turned and walked back to the road and wandered towards the bridge.  Mark called me back after exploring deeper into the small woodland at the side of the field. 'There's a small waterfall in there. Come and look.'  And it was.  There was the place we'd camped, all those years ago.  There was the river we'd washed in.  Looking at it now I wondered how we'd ever drank that water, but we had.  It was lovely to go back and see this place again, so little unchanged for over thirty years!

Much later that evening we walked from our Bed and Breakfast down to the loch side.  So peaceful in this place - we were so relaxed and felt it was a pity we were moving on to Sky in the morning.  Our last evening meal on Mull, again in the Bellachroy Hotel.  A truly lovely day.

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