After the first time in a while, I finally booked a week off. I have had an exhausting few months with a house move and new job, I was definitely in need for some R&R. Whilst trawling the internet and speaking to friends for recommendations, I settled on visiting the Isle of Mull. There wasn’t a lot to be said about the island with the exception of my friends who frequent the island. It seemed to be a bit of a well kept secret which left much to the imagination.
I packed my bags and took the 3 hour scenic drive to the Oban ferry terminal to get the 45 minute boat ride to Craignure. I arrived at my hotel late afternoon and opted to prop myself up in the lounge with a glass or two of wine and took in the scenery of the Sound of Mull and the boats going in and out of the ferry port.
My day exploring the island started at the port of Craignure near to my hotel. After a lazy morning, I decided to make my way up to Tobermory for some brunch. I learnt very quickly about single track road etiquette as I drove up the coast taking in the breathtaking scenery. I had very naively set my sat nav to be told to keep going for 20 miles. When I approached the ‘Welcome to Tobermory’ sign, the sat nav chimed up again and said “You have arrived at your destination”. I guess I didn’t expect driving to be so easy as there is only one road.
When I arrived at Tobermory, the cute coloured buildings on the Main Street were hard to miss. and truly something out of a children’s book. No wonder Balamory was based off of this place! There is a legend that at the bottom of Tobermory Bay, there is a wreck of a Spanish ship laden with gold hidden in the mud, it was tempting to wonder where the gold may be located as the water glistened in the sun.
The Main Street was full of local shops, a museum (which was closed due to being tourism low season), a bank and a few cafes and guest houses. I opted for breakfast at the Tobermory Bakery. Due to being a few weeks before tourist season, there was a serenity about the Main Street. I watched passers-by go about their day as I enjoyed a coffee and freshly baked croissant. I could’ve stayed there all day. A nice little note about the Tobermory bakery is all the meats they use can be bought in the chill at the back of the shop which had been supplied by the local farm at the top of the hill.
After missing the Tobermory distillery tour by 5 minutes, I decided not to stick around and drove up to Calgary beach. As part of my 30 before 30 list, I have always wanted to see a proper white sandy beach. I never thought I would be able to experience one so close to home. The drive to Calgary was incredible, each turn as I went up and down hills was something to behold. I parked up have tin of Diet Coke and take in the spectacular views of Loch Frisa, a sight that puts major Lochs such as Loch Earn and Loch Lomond to shame.
Whilst on the road, it was nice to see sheep walking at a leisurely pace in search of a nice spot to graze along the road unphased as the cars that were crawling along behind them. I was on ‘Mull time!’ There is no rushing to get from A to B, you get there when you do.
I arrived at Calgary beach and was greeted by a small closed ice cream shack and some small sand dunes. After a few minutes of walking, my shoes started to sink in the gorgeous white sandy beach. The beach was so peaceful. If heaven is a place, this might be where it is. I took in the scenery of the waves crashing on the dramatic coastline and the wind whipping up the sand along the beach… it was definitely a highlight of the day. Out of all the beaches I have been to, not only was this the most beautiful but it was also the cleanest. Mull as a whole did not have a single piece of litter or cigarette butt wherever I went. It is very much a well loved island by those who visit and live there.
On the way back to the other side of the island, I made my way back to Tobermory to sample some of the world famous cheese at the Isle of Mull Cheese Shop. On route, Mr Ramblings pointed to a little hutch on the side of the road with a little sign saying “Jam of Sale”. I pulled the car over and picked up a jar of Blueberry and Forest Fruit Jam and left money in the honesty box.
When I arrived at the Isle of Mull Cheese Shop, it was not open for business. However all was not lost! There is was a sign explaining that the everyone was busy working on the farm and to help yourself to some of their produce in the fridge and book to write what you took and a money box for you to pay. I would love to come back and visit when it is open as it is one of the most beautiful cafes I have ever stepped into!
I can’t get over how much honesty there is on this island. I have never experienced anywhere on my travels where people would be so trustworthy of those around them.
My final stop of the day was to go down to Duart Castle…. you guessed it! It was CLOSED! There was major construction and restoration being done in preparation for tourist season but the grounds were still open. I was still able to have a good walk around and see the cemetery.
Mull is a perfect getaway if you want the comforts of home with a twist The locals take great pride in their island and the care is definitely evident. Whilst driving home, Mr Ramblings and I were fantasising about how much we would need to save to retire comfortably on the island. Sadly a lot of the things I wanted to visit were closed but it by no means dampened my experience of visiting the island. The sole purpose of the trip was to get away and relax and I definitely did that! In the cafes and restaurants we visited, locals were bubbling with chatter about developments happening on the island and how they were preparing/dreading the tourists starting to arrive (mostly for them clogging up the tiny roads) but knew it was beneficial for bringing money to the island.
As well as the honesty the islanders have, they were so incredibly friendly and waved to me as I passed by like I was an old friend they haven’t seen in ages. As a foodie, I loved the local produce. In all my adventures to date, the freshness of the food and tractability of everything I ate was wonderful.
Have you been to Mull? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.