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Monday, 13 January 2014

Colourful weekend in the Inner Hebrides



‘Is there a party on Mull tonight?’
‘No, mate, it’s the rally!...’
Orangeish sunset over mainland Scotland, as seen from Mull
This is pretty much how our weekend/adventures on Mull began, which could explain for the crowded ferry. Forced by the annual [and famous!] Mull Rally to choose another campsite than that located just outside Tobermory, we reached Craignure and stayed there overnight.
The following morning’s shower was spiced up by the increasing interest in the rally, which we apparently didn’t share. With even ladies asking me if I was on Mull for the rally, it was not surprising for men to be asking Marcel if he was a pilot and if it was his first rally. Naturally, his replies would often disappoint his interlocutors.
Mull family ties
The one-hour ride necessary to get to the Mull ferry terminal [on our way to Iona] turned into two hours and a half when we stumbled upon a family of [heeland coos] [Highland calf – adorable! – included] and stopped for pictures. Even on the 8’ ferry ride to Iona, I still couldn’t believe it was real! Iona had always been a dream of mine, one I didn’t think to see materialise that time around in Scotland!
This dream had its roots deep in my history books… evoking the days of St. Columba, the Irish abbot who played a crucial role in the success of the Iona monastery, which was extremely important in the conversion of the Picts to Christianity, during the days of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata. The peace and solitude of the island were clear to me from the first moment I set my foot on Iona. Strolling to the marvellous beach, exploring its dunes, and heading back on that country road to the centre of the tiny village and passing by the amazing lacery of Iona Nunnery – all of my steps were guided by such an impressive vibe, that I’d feel that the day’s clear sky would accompany me for the rest of my life.
Iona Nunnery
Our return to Mull meant taking the scenic route through the forest [where we actually spotted one of those giant Mull white-tailed eagles, a glorious sight] and then following the ocean line nearly all the way to Tobermory. It had been a busy weekend, with the agitation of the rally meddling with the peacefulness of Iona and of Mull’s countryside. However, the mainland would welcome us with dolphins during our short ferry ride to Lochaline and then with deer grazing undisturbed on our way to Oban. A day full of animal sightings and… as a bonus thrown in by nature, which seems to be always putting on a show in Scotland, we got one of the most beautiful sunsets of our lives and pink skies!    

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