Guest Author - Asha Sahni
Ben More. Scotland’s islands are not known for munros; Ben More is the only hill/mountain on Mull over 3,000 feet tall. The summit can be most easily reached from Loch na Keal and offers, in clear weather (mist and fog can descend fast), views of local islands including Iona, Staffa and Ulva.
Duart Castle. High on a clifftop, overlooking the Sound of Mull, Duart Castle was in active use from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries, after which human habitation ceased and weather and nature took their toll on this magnificent building. Sir Fitzroy Maclean acquired his ancestral home in the early twentieth century, and invested substantial time and money in renovating Duart Castle, now open to the public who can explore the building from dungeons to keep.
Lochs. Mull’s sea and freshwater lochs – favoured by sailors and fishermen - include Loch Assapol, Loch Caol, Loch na Keal, Loch Mingary, Loch Scridain and Loch Tuath and Loch Uisg. It is believed that Loch Ba was once home to an old goddess – one of the many faces of the cailleach – who sustained her youth by washing in Loch Ba every hundred years at the dawning of a day before animals were awake. One morning she inadvertently roused a restless dog, who barked thus breaking her magic of everlasting youth.
Tobermory. Tobermory, sometimes called Mull’s capital, is a popular stopping off point for cruise ships. Welcoming brightly painted buildings surround the harbour of a town whose attractions include a distillery, a marine visitor centre, a museum and a pottery. The children’s television series Balamory was filmed on Tobermory, a name given to one of the characters in The Wombles...
Wildlife. Mull is a haven for wildlife – buzzards, corncrakes, dolphins, eagles, otters, red deer, sharks, whales... Mull has an extensive population of white-tailed eagles – the largest bird of prey in the UK. Wildlife photographer and presenter Gordon Buchanan grew up on the Isle of Mull.
Wrecks. 1588 - the Spanish Armada galleon San Juan de Sicilia takes shelter in Tobermory Bay; she is blown up as she leaves, taking her treasures with her to the seabed. In the middle of the seventeenth century Oliver Cromwell seds five ships to Mull – his purpose to capture the ten-year-old Chief of the MacLeans; a storm foils the English, and three of the ships sink on the rocks below Duart Castle. In 1945 a plane travelling from Canada to Scotland crashes on the Mull mountain Ben Talaidh; prompt rescue action by locals ensures that five out of eight of the travellers survive; if you are lucky you may still find a piece of the wreckage on the mountain.