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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Three Short Walks On The Isle Of Mull 10-5-2018

We thought that we would have a drive round and have a look at at a few places of interest taking advantage of another dry day. Windy and cool but dry. It also got warmer as the day went on, a feature of the week really, as it always seemed to start off damp in the morning but then brightening up with a bit of warmth in the afternoon. Today's little tour saw us having three very worthwhile walks taking in different scenery this Isle has on offer from Castles, Standing Stones, Lighthouse, Ruined Village, Lochs and a Distinct Volcano. 
The first place we visited was DUN ARA CASTLE in the grounds of GLENMORE CASTLE, which is now a wedding and guest house. A straight forward walk through the grounds of Glenmore down to the coast where the old Dun Ara Castle stood on a prominent position overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Although there are few remains, you can pick out the  base walls on the hillock and a few old walls on the surrounding ground by the ocean and on the coastline. There seems to be quite a bit to explore around here but as it was quite windy and cold we didn't spend too much time here, opting to head back away from the coastline to the standing stones and a leisurely walk back to the car. There are a few Highland Cattle in the grounds and these seemed as friendly and laid back as others we came across, as long as you don't get too close they didn't seem to bother anyone. Again we spotted Eagles but no seals or otters on the coastline. The walk was a gentle 2.5 miles or so.
Looking across to Ardamurchan on mainland Scotland
Glenmore Castle
Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle
Heading down to the coast
A short sharp shower blowing across the sea
Dun Ara straight ahead
Remaining walls of Dun Ara Castle
Keeper of the Castle
Views over to Ardamurchan
Glenmore Standing Stones
Keeper of the Castle
 Short video of the views round Dun Ara
From here we made our way back along the single track lanes to the Forestry Commision Car Park from where a few walks start and end from. It is possible to tie in this walk with the Glenmore Castle walk as a loop which can take a good few hours taking in the various options on offer. We decided to go on a small loop taking in the abandoned village of Ardmore, down to the coast and Ardmore Point Lighthouse and back through the forest. As with other days, it started to warm up a bit as the sun got to work burning away the clouds and the cold wind of Dun Ara was replaced by a more gentle breeze which was more welcome. There is a nature hide on the shore but again, no otters or seals spotted but again the eagles were about. Out of the three walks this was the longest coming in about 5 miles or so.
 ARDNAMURCHAN on the Scottish mainland dominate the views on this walk and it holds good memories for us as we stayed there last year in a cottage in KILCHOAN and we spent most evenings looking over to the lighthouse wandering what it must be like on this side of the Loch, so now we know :-) Another great place that is more remote than Mull and a great place to get away from it all, highly recommended.
Setting off from the car park
On the approach to the abandoned village
Abandoned village of Ardmore

Ardmore Point Lighthouse
Looking across To Ardamurchan with Ben Haint on the right and Kilchoan in the middle
A zoomed in shot of the cottage we had last year on Ardnamurchan, on the right, in the trees
Nature Hide
View from the hide
On the way through the forest clearing
Looking back with Ardmore Point over the hill to the right
Back through the village
The well signed forestry tracks
Back at the car park
A short Video from Admore Point 

The final walk of the day was to visit a Loch which goes by the name of Crater Loch which is on top of the hill, 'S Airde Beinn @ 295m in height, it is the highest point on the North side of the Mishnish Lochs. A very worthwhile walk to do with a mountain feel to it, rough ground with a good track to follow. A short steep climb that brings you out on the rim of the crater that I followed round to the left. Excellent views in all directions. Parking is in an old quarry just off the main road between Tobermory & Dervaig opposite the MISHNISH LOCHS of Lochs Peallach, Meadhoin and Carnain an Amais and a short walk from the derelict building where the walk starts from. Another easy walk of around 2.5 miles there and back following the track up and round the crater then back down retracing my steps. The weather was still warm and sunny but a bit cool on the top with the wind whipping around the Loch.
Mishnish Lochs opposite the quarry car park
Abandoned house and the start of the walk
On the grass track
S’Airde Beinn-Crater Loch
through the gate and up to the left
S’Airde Beinn-Crater Loch following the path round to the left
West top views and the highest point
North top
North top views
North top views
Looking down on Crater Loch from the North top

Crater Loch shoreline
Crater Loch before I descend from the South top
Looking down on Mishnish Lochs
Back to the abandoned house opposite Mishnish Lochs

A short Video of the views from Crater Loch
So anther good day having a look round on some different and interesting places on off on the Isle of Mull

Cheers :-)

Friday, 20 July 2018

Quinnish Point, Isle of Mull, 8-5-2018

This was the longest walk we did while having a week on the ISLE of MULL in the INNER HEBRIDES just off the West coast of Scotland. A there and back walk, straight out of our rented cottage in the small village of DERVAIG. The start of the walk goes down the tarmac lane where it follows the shoreline of Loch a'Chumhainn, before heading through the woods on a forestry track, passing over a small bridge and some cottages & farms as you come out on to the Quinnish Estate with some fine views of Loch a'Chumhainn down to the left. The weather at the start was a bit overcast following some overnight and early morning rain but soon started to clear to more favorable conditions.
Our there and back route for the day
Down the lane
Looking back towards Dervaig at the end of Loch a'Chumhainn
On to the open land with views out to the coast
We made our way along the muddy, yet easy to follow path as we got onto open land with views out to the coast. We were making our way to some STANDING STONES, although only one remained standing, and from a certain angle, looks like an old woman in a dark cloak.

"a row of four stones aligned NNW-SSE of which only one remains upright standing over 9 feet high. This stone is referred to locally as ‘Caliach’ which means old woman. Depending on which angle you view the stone it can look like a woman dressed in a cloak"

Just behind the stones there is a good vantage point high up that gives some good views across the coast and back down onto the stones.
Quinish Standing Stone
Quinish Standing Stone
Along the muddy path again that led to another gate with a sign pointing the way to Quinnish Point following a feint path through the fields that led us up to the trig point on Mingary Ard, looking down on to Quinnish Point. From up here there was some good views all round and across to ARDAMURCHAN on the main land, where we stayed last year. The sun was now out and the sky was blue but the breeze took the temperature down a notch or two but at least it was dry and fairly clear. Hazy views out to the other islands dotted about on the horizon.
On the feint path towards Mingary Ard
Mingary Ard
Mingary Ard Trig Point
Looking down on to Quinish Point from Mingary Ard
We took the "straight down" approach to get us back on the main path to the point. It was a pleasant surprise to see some Highland Cattle down here and they seemed friendly enough, not bothering us as they got on with eating the grass and minding there own business. On to Quinnish Point and down to the beach below that could of been mistaken for some exotic beach in the tropics as the sea was turning a nice shade of turquoise blue in the changing light. We did keep a lookout for and marine life, Otters, Seals but didn't spot any. It was though, a perfect place for a spot of lunch as we had the place to ourselves. Our own private romantic beach for half an hour, perfect :-)
View across to Ben Haint on Ardamurchan, mainland Scotland
The way down to Quinish Point
Quinish Point Highland Cattle
Quinish Point Highland Cattle
Quinish Point Beach
Quinish Point
Quinish Point Beach
Crab/Lobster pots on Quinish Beach
We made our way back along the path passing under Mingary Ard and saying goodbye to the Highland Cattle. It was now quite warm and we had a few stops along the way back taking in the quietness of the area and looking out for Golden & Sea Eagles along the way. Always a great joy to see these majestic birds soaring on the thermals and we were lucky enough to see them everyday that we were on Mull. It's only really when they get mobbed by the Crows and Seagulls that you really appreciate the size of them with there two metre plus wingspan. Awesome sight indeed.
Blue skies above Mingary Ard
Old Woman of Quinish
Blue skies above Dervaig & Loch a'Chumhainn
Back at base after another great day
A great few hours straight from the front door of the cottage and with the weather improving all the while, made for a great day in this fantastic part of the world. :-)

A short video of Mingary Ard and Quinnish Point