Driving to Iona and Mull Part 3
Previously, in Part 2, we made our way across Isle of Mull, from Craignure to Fionnphort. Then, we took a short ferry and arrived on Iona and we were greeted by amazing weather and spectacular scenery. Exploring the island took us the whole day and due to your favorite blogger’s numptyness for not wearing appropriate footwear, although sad to wave good bye to this extraordinary place, we were glad we caught the last ferry back to Mull, where our accommodation was for the night.
With sore feet and quite an appetite after hiking most of the day, we made our way to the car park and drove 3 miles east to Ardfenaig Cottage where our Airbnb host, Carol, was waiting for us.
We have traveled quite a bit throughout our time in Scotland and every time we needed a place to stay, a run of the mill hotel was our choice. However, this time, we chose to go a different route, just to try out new things and boy oh boy we were not disappointed. We chose to find a cottage with Aribnb and it turned out to be an amazing experience and probably the best way to find out what the island truly has to offer. Sure, there is no connectivity to the rest of the world and sure, there are no modern conveniences to spoil the experience of reconnecting with nature, but what will truly make your experience 100% authentic is staying with a local. Nothing beats coming to what feels like an actual home after a long day of walking and exploring. The sun is setting, there is smoke coming out the chimney, and a cohort of chickens come running to greet you. You will never get this kind of experience with any other type of hotel.
If you are spending the night on Mull, be weary of the fact that the majority of places stop serving food around 8.30PM. By the time we got to our cottage, met our host and went for a shower, it was too late for us to get dinner anywhere. Luckily, we still had some leftovers from the day trip and were fine.
After popping back to Fionnphort for a pint, we headed back to our cottage. To our amazement, when we looked up, we could see not a couple of stars, but our entire galaxy! It is amazing how beautiful the night sky can look when there is no light pollution!
The night passed and we woke up to stormy day. After a quick breakfast from our host, it was time to get back on the road and explore the Isle of Mull!
The rain and wind were at it pretty hard throughout the entire day and that meant that, unfortunately, we could not do much exploring on foot. But, as it turned out, it was a unique experience getting to see what a typical day on Isle of Mull looked like and it gave me the chance to do some proper driving. It happened to be a Sunday and adding to the fact that the weather was mad, there wasn’t a soul on the road, bar the occasional sheep.
Similar to how we explored Iona, we decided to go clockwise around Mull. We only stopped at a few locations unfortunately, again due to adverse weather, but we did get to pretty much do a lap around the island.
Our first and only beach stop of the day was Uisken. It lies a couple of minutes drives south of Bunessan. I am sure it looks amazing in the sun light but it sure looked extremely wild on that particular day. We Parked up right next to the beach overlooking the water and the car was being shaken by the strong wind. We tried to go out but we could barely open the door! Instead we decided to just sit in for a few minutes and listen to the roar of the Atlantic. The waves were crashing into the rocks of each side of the beach and we could hear them despite being in the car with rain and wind battering at us. It was terrifying but surreal, something you don’t get to see very often. We don’t get a lot of nice weather in Scotland and it’s because of days like this we tend to appreciate the sun a lot more!
We kept the engine running while we were in Uisken, simply to keep the car from fogging up. It was now all warmed up and ready for the massive amount of driving that was about to commence.
We worked our way up to a sleeping Bunessan and followed the road east to Loch Beg, where we turned left, to follow the western side of the isle. Up to Loch Beg, the road has long straights with plenty of visibility, despite the weather, and plenty of passing spaces. Given that it was quite empty, you would be forgiven for making some good progress! Not too fast though, as there was plenty of standing water which meant a lot of aquaplaning!
We pressed on through what felt like a rally stage. That was because, it turned out, it actually is! There are parts of the B8035 that are used as rally stages for Isle of Mull Rally. What an amazing drive that was! The rain was relentlessly beating at us, the wind was rocking the car side to side and the puddles pulled at us every time we plowed into one. The drive wasn’t particularly fast, but with all these conditions combined, the car felt like it was tip toeing across the rough tarmac surface sliding left and right! At first, it was a bit scary, but as we pressed on, confidence started building gradually and I felt like I knew exactly what the car was going to do and how far it was going to slide. I have been driving for nearly 10 years, but I have never been so in tune with a car before. What an amazing experience!
Soon enough though, we arrived at our next stop – Eas Fors Waterfalls. The weather was still mad and it made for an incredible sight! It was cold and the waterfalls were screaming away, chugging hundreds of gallons of water onto the rocks, straight down into the ocean. The noise was deafening and we could barely hear each other speak!
Our next stop was Calgary, at the local cafe. It was a welcome sight to see some sort of civilization again and have some hot food! Our joy soon turned to worry though, as our phones finally caught on to a little bit of signal, we received the news our ferry was cancelled and that we had limited options of getting off isle of Mull. Luckily, the locals came to our rescue when they recommended we try the Fishnish ferry terminal, as it operates over a short distance, is much smaller and the weather doesn’t affect it that much.
We still had plenty of time, so after lunch we went up to Tobermory. If you grew up in the United Kingdom, you probably would have seen the TV show, Balamory. The fictional town was meant to represent real life Tobermory so it was nice to be around the colorfull houses we used to see on TV! Everything was closed unfortunately, but one place was open – Tobermory Backery and Tea Room! It is a fantastic little cafe with amazing cakes and friendly people!
Belly full of cake and a nice cup of coffee to warm us up, we were on the home stretch to Fishnish now. A848 on the east side of Mull is a dual carriage way and it allowed us to make considerable progress and catch the second to last ferry of the isle.
Despite the weather, and still being 4 hours away from home, we still felt like we just left our holiday once we got off the ferry.
The isles of Mull and Iona were amazing! We didn’t get to do all the things we set out to do but we ended up having an extraordinary authentic experience. From the friendly locals to the amazing views (regardless of the weather) Iona and Mull left a mark on our hearts and we are definitely planning on going back to explore some more.
So what do you think? Did you enjoy this 3 part series of our trip to the isles of Iona and Mull? If you did please let us know in the comments and share with your friends so that everyone gets to hear about these amazing isles!