Looking ahead into the misty horizon where hills rise in their majestic calmness, you can see the Isle of Mull, the second biggest island of the Hebrides, after Skye. The ferry floats towards the isle through the quiet sea, it is in no hurry. On another side, you can see another isle with more hills. It is quiet almost serene.
It surprises me how small the community on the island actually is. We visit three towns during our visit, Tobermory being the biggest of them all and only having the population of around 1000 people. Still, at 4pm the town of Tobermory is buzzing, mostly from all the tourists who have come to hike, see wildlife or just the beautiful town. It is quickly obvious that the island depends on tourism. Tobermory has at least 3 hotels, youth hostel, several B&B’s and all over the island there are several locations with self-catering lodges for longer stays; quite a lot for such a small town. There are several restaurants and cafe’s, but only one grocery store. At 4pm it is difficult to find a dinner place as almost every place starts serving dinner at 5 or later. The pier of the Tobermory is filled with little local boutiques selling local produce from whisky to beauty items and ceramics, in front of which is a fairly big parking area.
Every corner is filled with adverts for guided wildlife tours and boat rides, which is not a surprise as Mull is one of the best places to spot a number of coastal bird species, eagles, otters, seals, sharks, dolphins, whales and deer. Within the two days, we saw seals twice sunbathing on the rocky beach of Salen Bay. Various species of birds is almost impossible not to spot, not to mention the sheep who are so used to the traffic they don’t even flinch when a car drives towards them, but they do slowly move aside to let the cars past and then move back onto the road. Funnily enough, they do not let people close to them.
The island is full of small single track roads with bubble passing places, similarly to the rest of the Scottish Highlands. You can easily recognise the confident local drivers from the careful tourists, nevertheless, everybody s polite and considerate, although the tight passing places are not fun when there is truck driving way too close to you. There isn’t really any public transport other than occasionally going bus and all the tourist bus tours that drive from Craignure to Tobermory. To most attractions, you do need your own car or be on a tour bus that visits those locations.
In addition to wildlife, there are many other attractions on the Isle of Mull. Historic places like standing stones and castles; natural wonders such as geology caves and waterfalls and Aquarium. We visited the Aras waterfalls (there were two), which were absolutely beautiful and offered us a great little hiking trip as well. For anybody who is considering doing this, I recommend good waterproof shoes as the area is slightly muddy and slippery.
The few things that I definitely recommend for a trip to the Isle of Mull. Research things well what you want to see or do and where you find your accommodation (there is almost no internet around once you leave the Craignure area unless you can find wifi in some restaurants. We ran into a problem when we weren’t quite sure where our hotel was and couldn’t access the internet in Tobermory until we sat down to eat dinner. Check the Craignure visitor centre before going anywhere, they have maps and information. Aras waterfalls were beautiful, easy to find, didn’t take a long time and it is close to Tobermory. There is an electric car charging station in Craignure so driving an electric car there is absolutely possible. Stop at different viewing points and take in the view. Park lodge hotel was a great place for a one night stay and the cheapest hotel we found. It was still comfortable, had a great breakfast that was included in the price, good wifi and great staff (it is a family owned business). Macgochans offers great food at a good price and you can have dinner even at 4pm. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere! Check the little shops in Tobermory, even if you don’t buy anything they have very original stuff on sale. When waiting for the ferry in Oban check out the Pokey hat ice cream parlour. They make their own ice cream and, after Italy, I think it is the best ice cream in the world. I’ve tried pineapple, mango and cherry flavours and they were all amazing!
Have you been to the Isle of Mull?