Posted by: digibirder | July 26, 2009

Day trip to Mull

I’ll allow a whole post for our trip to Mull, as there are lots of photos and lots to tell. I’d better tell you about the previous day first, though. Should have put it on the previous post, as there were no photos and not much else to say about the day.

Tuesday 7th July
A better morning – no rain, but some cloud. After breakfast we set off on the bikes along the trail from the site heading south towards Benderloch village. The trail reaches as far as the Sea Life Centre then it’s on the road for a while until reaching the village. We shouldn’t actually have gone right into Benderloch, but we missed the road we intended to take, so had to go the long way round, which was very pleasant anyway. We were heading for Eriska Island, but when we reached the place, we found it was taken up by a large hotel and it was all private land, so we couldn’t get access! We had to turn round and go back the way we came. One bonus was the sighting of a pair of Siskins on a feeder in one of the cottage gardens. We went back to Benderloch for lunch in the café there – I had cheese and onion toastie and Keith had ham and onion toastie, followed by a scone and butter and a cup of tea. We then climbed on our bikes again and headed back to the campsite to recover. We had ridden just over 18 miles.

Once we had showered and rested we had a Pimm’s and lemonade before our feta cheese salad and the remaining wine from last night. It rained on and off during the afternoon/evening, but it ended with a bit of sunshine. We had quite a peaceful time until the return of our new ‘neighbours’ in the caravan on the pitch next to us. They arrived on Saturday and were in the habit of talking fairly loudly, and also playing a radio or music non-stop, although not very loudly it has to be said. I don’t think they realised how sound travels from within canvas walls as opposed to brick walls.

Wednesday 8th July
We set the alarm for 6am as we had to be away early to catch the ferry in Oban for our trip to the island of Mull. We arrived at the ferry port and waited to be loaded onto the car deck. We then left the car and went up onto the passenger decks for the 45 minute journey across to Mull. We had already had breakfast, but indulged in a couple of slices of toast and a juice from the onboard restaurant.

This was to be mainly a birdwatching trip, so on arrival we turned out of the ferry port and headed south towards Grasspoint on Loch Don in the search for White-tailed Sea Eagles reported to be in that area. We parked the car and walked down to the point, not really seeing much except some Cormorants, a Grey Heron, some Hooded Crows and the usual gulls. We had left the telescope in the car as there was quite a strong wind blowing, but as we were walking back we were met by a small guided tour and the leader pointed us in the direction of a Sea Eagle that had been sitting on a distant hillside all the time. The group then wandered over to the rocks and when they returned he mentioned that he had also seen an otter and a Red-throated Diver on the water. Keith went back for the ‘scope and we managed to find a sheltered spot to stand without too much bother from the wind. We had seen the diver through binoculars but couldn’t find it again with the ‘scope, but we did see the otter diving and eating its catch.

CRW_5110On the way to Oban we stopped at Connell Bridge to see the Falls of Lora

CRW_5115From the ferry window as we left Oban

CRW_5121Duart Castle as the ferry nears Mull

CRW_5133The pier at Grasspoint where boats from the mainland used to arrive, being the closest point

CRW_5136Another view of Grasspoint

After having our lunch in the car (it’s a good job we packed sandwiches, as there weren’t many eating places on Mull away from the main tourist areas), we set off for Loch Ba. We parked the car and walked the few hundred yards to the loch, but impressive though the location was, there was nothing to be seen so we turned and continued to our next location, Loch Na Keal.

CRW_5138Loch Ba

Driving round the north side of Loch na Keal, we spotted some people with binoculars trained onto some trees on a hillside. We pulled into the layby and someone pointed out the Sea Eagle sitting in a tree on the hillside. We quickly set up the ‘scope and although it started to rain we still managed quite a decent view of the bird. When it stopped raining I considered setting the camera up, thinking it would fly at any second as soon as my camera came out of the bag, but I managed to get several record shots, but the flight shots as its mate arrived and swooped over the tree into the nest weren’t so good. We could hear the young screeching as the second bird flew in.


We decided to leave, as we needed to get round the island and back to the ferry for a 7pm sailing, and we had been taking rather longer than planned.

CRW_5154Loch na Keal (note the single-track road on the left)

CRW_5156Climbing further up the road

CRW_5157Looking in the opposite direction towards the Outer Hebrides

We intended to drive right round the coast road and into Tobermory, but we decided we had better take a short cut over the bleak moorland to save some time. The problem was that almost all the roads on the island are single track with passing places, apart from a short stretch as you leave the ferry and another similar stretch approaching Tobermory, so journeys take rather longer than simply being able to get your foot down on the open highway. Tobermory is the major tourist town on the island, so I suspect this has something to do with the road improvements in those places, and it keeps the rest of the island relatively peaceful and exclusive.


We spent some time in Tobermory then drove back to the ferry port. On the way we came across some derelict boats so we pulled in to get some photos.

CRW_5165bwThought I’d try the first one in black and white

We were a little early for the ferry, but were told on arrival that the ferry was running late, so we had little choice but to join the queue to wait. Eventually we docked back in Oban and went to get some fish and chips and sat on the harbour-side eating them from the box – they were delicious! I tried to get some sunset shots, but the sky wasn’t that impressive, so we drove back to the campsite, exhausted but thrilled by our trip.

CRW_5174Looking up to McCaig’s Tower in Oban (more of which later)

CRW_5182Sunset from the harbour in Oban

If we thought our day was over, we were mistaken – as we approached the campsite entrance we spotted what we thought was a cat crouched in the road, but as we slowed down to turn into the driveway it looked up at us, bounded into the middle of the road and then back to the edge and into the garden of a house. We just looked at one another in amazement – it was a Pine Marten! We parked the car and walked over to the house and saw that it was crouched against the house wall. We stared at it, and it at us, for a few minutes before it decided to run off down the side of the house and back into the woods. What a day it had been!



  1. nice photos digi. the b&w works well.

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