5 September 2015

Around Mull : Inlets and Islands

Annette and Angus Vine

Hebridean Island Diary and Memories

Our fondness for the Islands, fuelled by the adventure of an unscheduled itinerary, and the unexpected, brought us to Oban again on 5th September.

After a short pub lunch, we were collected by Scott, our captain, and Ray, the engineer, and taken by tender on a calm and warm afternoon to board our home for the next six days.

Our fellow travellers were a mixed “bunch” which gave the party an international feel : two from Chicago, two from Utah, an Australian, a lady from York, two retired sisters and former nurses from Aberdeen and Wiltshire, both former Majestic clients and making another booking for 2016; and we two repeat clients from the Borders.

We were not to be disappointed in any way; quite the contrary, due to a well-balanced itinerary, very clement weather, apart from a wee bit of wind, and a superb crew comprising Scott and Ray, Claire our bosun, and Michael our chef We had a lot of fun, excellent food, good company, no chemistry issues, and some wonderful wildlife sightings.

After the first night’s anchorage in Aird’s Bay by Port Appin, we steamed up the Sound of Mull, passing, amongst other landmarks, Morvern and Castle Duart before reaching our anchorage at Tobermory. Eagles were seen.

Our second day was spent ashore on Mull for a wonderful full day wildlife tour with the loquacious but knowledgeable David. We had otter sightings by Craignure, two sightings of sea eagles near Grass Point, and three sightings of golden eagles from the road past Inverlussa and close to Ben More, with the highlight of a hen harrier in flight also by Grass Point. Buzzards too featured frequently, with other birds such as pippets and stonechats.

After an overnight anchorage in Loch Buie, we steamed up the Firth of Mull passing Auliston Point on the starboard side, with Ardnamurchan Lighthouse in the far distance, to Lunga/the Treshnish Isles, but we could not land due to the swell, and then onward to Staffa in choppy waters.

Our third anchorage was past the Ross of Mull and into the Bay by Bunessan, where we went ashore and walked to and past the village.

We steamed the following morning to Iona where, despite more very choppy waters and wind, we were put ashore very safely for visits, as required, to the Abbey and also across the island, over the golf course and onward to the western beautiful, white sanded and tranquil beach.

Our next stop ashore was in Dervaig Bay, from where we went ashore into the small village on onward.

After a further overnight anchorage, we steamed the South of Mull and anchored for lunch by Ardtornish Point and the derelict castle, and then into Loch Aline, from where we went ashore and walked the lochside shore around to Ardtornish House, where, close by, we had a magnificent and very close sighting of three red deer stags, all of which had at least 14 points.

After the next overnight anchorage, we steamed the Sound, passing Lismore and onward to Oban where we disembarked after a most enjoyable six day trip.

Overall, we were blessed with good weather conditions and plenty of sunshine, even though’ at times the seas were choppy There were memorable days, a wide variety of scenery, lovely blue skies and splendid cloud formations, varied sunsets and little, if any, rain. These factors rounded off an excellent Majestic Line Wildlife and Nature Cruise, further enhanced by memorable on board meals.

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