Isle of Mull road trip with kids
I haven’t posted anything in a while, sadly my job means I need to stay in one place for a bit and can’t travel much. But we were still travelling, just more local – road tripping and camping around Scotland, going back to the caves in Gran Canaria each winter and visiting home country once a year. I will post some of these later and today about our Isle of Mull trip.
I wanted to visit Mull for some time, just couldn’t find a motivation to cross the sea. Then I got wedding booking last summer and we decided to go. I booked Calmac ferry and drove to Oban. This town is one of my favourite places in Scotland, I love the smell of fish and the sea. Like my very first ever day in Scotland when I arrived at Aberdeen’s harbour to start my job onboard Northlink Ferries.
We left the car at Calmac pier and went to the seafood shack, our usual stop in Oban. Their food always looks delicious, I usually buy sandwiches there for our road trips. I grabbed prawn sandwich for myself and tub of salmon for V. The day was hot so we ate our lunch by the car while waiting to board the ferry.
And so we sailed over to Craignure and arrived in Isle of Mull early afternoon.
What to do in Isle of Mull
As Isle of Mull wedding photographer, my main goal was to find best locations for photos in Mull. So we’ve met with the couple, young man from Edinburgh and his Puerto Rican fiancée who has travelled over from Florida. Borrowing his parents’ campervan they went on a road trip around Scotland and wanted to document their relationship.
We took the photos around the castle, drove to shipwrecks in Salen and then to the west coast of the island. The road had many twists and turns and it was rough sometimes but the views were breathtaking. We arrived at Calgary Bay just in time for the sunset. Here the sand was pure white and the sea clear turquoise; best beach in Isle of Mull I heard.
We said goodbye to the couple and left to Dervaig where our hostel was. It was very close from the Calgary Bay but we couldn’t find it easily until we discovered it was placed in a local village hall. We picked up the key from the counter and found our room. It wasn’t a usual hostel; there was no reception or staff and we were the only guests that night. The village hall would get busy later when group of locals arrived to play squash in the main hall. We made a dinner and went to bed early.
The next morning we visited art trail with stunning views over Calgary Bay. It was still hot and sunny so walking in the woodland area of the trail was soothing. We didn’t have much planned that day so drove to the capital of the island, Tobermory, and had a little wander. It is a nice town with buildings painted in bright colours; it reminds me of Portree in Isle of Skye.
Not sure where to eat we just picked scampi and chips from catering van near the beach. It didn’t taste great but we were hungry already so it didn’t matter. We were hoping to have better dinner than last night so went to co-op store for the supplies for the evening barbeque. I have read there is a good campsite on the south so decided to head that way.
South Mull & Isle of Iona
We arrived in Fionnphort early evening. The weather has changed now, it was much cooler and windy. We were struggling with putting our little tent up and no one around would offer their help. I didn’t like this campsite that much, maybe it was the weather, maybe lack of any personal contact with the staff. The views were great though and the site was clean.
The next day we took a long walk to the village. It was entirely occupied by cute hairy highland cows; they would just sit there between the buildings and chew the grass or walk slowly to the pier and back. We checked ferries to Iona and ordered some food from the small hut by the ferry terminal. It started to rain so we decided to head back to the campsite. A car stopped and some people offered us a lift; it was a lovely family travelling with their little son. So we made some friends from the campsite.
Couldn’t miss Iona on our Isle of Mull with kids road trip.
We drove to the village the next day and got on a ferry. After short crossing we arrived on the small island. The weather didn’t improve but lack of rain was a good thing. There is a famous abbey visited by every tourist but we went for a walk instead. The life on the island is busy but it felt very calm too. Passing by green fields and grazing black sheep we arrived at the north end beach. It was perfectly quiet and felt like paradise with white sand and dunes overlooking Mull and other smaller islands. I knew I want to come back here one day, possibly when the weather is nicer.
On the way back to the pier we stopped at Iona Craft Shop; nice shop with souvenirs, knitwear and books. I bought a keep cup with coffee included; sipping my latte we walked slowly to the pier and waited for the ferry to arrive.
For the past few days I tried to check the weather forecast but it wasn’t easy; network coverage on the islands doesn’t exist. I managed to get a glimpse of xcweather forecast while in Iona – think it was on the north end beach I got very weak connection. I saw weather warning about the upcoming storm so as soon as we arrived back from Iona we packed our tent and belongings. It was getting cold so we sat I the car eating our dinner.
The storm came all of the sudden, around 11pm, forcing people to abandon their tents and run into their cars. It was a bit scary to watch; we were parked near the shore and it didn’t feel safe so moved the car further away. I don’t think anyone spent the night in their tent that night. In the morning I saw people sleeping on the floor in the communal kitchen building.
It was time for us to finish the trip and drive back to Craignure. We parked the car on a pier and went to the shop to grab breakfast and drinks. The weather has changed again, it was sunny now but I already made a decision about leaving the island. Although we didn’t have to rush anywhere, I needed to copy and backup the photos . When we arrived in Oban it was raining so without much debating we bought sandwiches from the shack and followed the road back to Edinburgh.
What to see in Isle of Mull:
- Eas Fors waterfall – most spectacular waterfall on Isle of Mull
- Calgary Bay – most beautiful beach in Mull
- Tobermory – little town with colourful houses and it’s own whisky distillery
- Fionnphort village – gateway to Iona, highland cows haven
- Ardalanish Beach Bay & Weavers – beautiful, mile long, clear sandy beach; be sure to visit Ardalanish Weavers selling craft and food products from their farm
- Island of Iona – small island in the Inner Hebrides mainly known for the Abbey; can be reached via short ferry crossing from Fionnport