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Scotland's Hebrides Islands, off its west coast, offer a wonderful range of different sights and experiences.

Our Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour takes you 8 islands (via 11 ferry crossings and a steam train ride), giving you a great time seeing much of the Inner and Outer Hebrides as well as time in the Highlands.

Here is one person's account of her experiences on our 2010 tour.

 
 
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Scotland's Islands & Highlands Tour Diary

Day 5 :  To Tobermory on the Isle of Mull
 

The town of Tobermory and looking across the Sound of Mull.

Another lovely ferry ride, a ride on a miniature train, a stately home, and another nice town for the next two nights.

Part of an 11 day/page trip diary - click the links on the right hand side for the other days in this diary.

 

 

Jeanette and her husband Ken were on our 2010 Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour, and Jeanette kept a detailed day by day diary of the tour.

She has very graciously allowed it to be re-published here, so as to allow you an unvarnished view into what the tour was all about.

The text is hers, which I've respected and not changed apart from a few subheadings and extra paragraph breaks and some Americanizations of her English spelling (they are from New Zealand).

I've sourced the pictures and their captions are also from me, not Jeanette.

You can follow along with her narration by tracking the tour on this tour itinerary page and the linked Google maps.

I hope this will encourage you to come on our 2011 Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour.

Day 5 – Friday June 18th 2010 – Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Google Touring Map for the Day

I had a very restless and hot night but woke with the alarm at 6:45am. We packed our bags then went to breakfast about 7:30am with Charlie & Jane. We were ready, with our bags, on the coach by 8:30am when Brenda gave me some old crusts of bread to feed the swans in the bay. Ken and I had a great time trying to avoid feeding the gulls as they flew down right at the swans. The coach left the hotel at 9:05am for the short journey round to the ferry vehicle loading/waiting area. Jay had to go to the office to get individual tickets for each one of us, instead of 1 ticket for all of us which would have enabled us to stay on the coach. There were a number of foreign European bus tours also waiting to get onto the ferry for the Isle of Mull.

When we walked into the terminal building we found a long line of people waiting to board. We found a seat and waited in comfort instead of joining the queue. This was an unnecessary crowd if they had let the coach passengers stay on their coaches for boarding. Once on board, we walked all round the ferry to find a seat and eventually settled in a lounge with reclining seats so we could see out (through dirty windows) or have a sleep (which Ken did). The journey across to Mull was only 40 minutes and we were underway at 9:50am, on time. We saw Jay which confirmed that our coach was on board too.


Duart Castle from the ferry.

The Hebridean Princess, a small cruise ship, was also in Oban port this morning. We were told that Queen Elizabeth had chartered the ship for her summer holidays but I don't think she was on board at this time.

Our ferry had a very high level of vibration from the engines which made her feel like an old tub. The sea had some white horses but no swell so the crossing was very smooth. It was a sunny day but there was a lot of glare off the water due to a heat haze. There was at least one sail boat on the loch, traveling nicely in the stiff breeze. We had a great view of Duart Castle on the exposed tip of the Isle of Mull as we approached Craignure at 10:35am.

When we got off there were about 10 buses waiting for their passengers, ours included. We told Jay we had chosen his as the best one in the lineup. We had to wait for 2 buses ahead of us then we drove the short distance to the train station for the Mull railway. This railway was built in 1894 to take people from Craignure to the Torosay Castle. We walked the short distance up the hill to find a really small, almost toy-like train. It left at 11:10am but with a diesel engine instead of our expected steam engine. We were told they could not use the steam engine due to the severe lack of water. We managed to slide ourselves into the tiny carriages, too small even for 2 people to sit side-by-side. Part of the way along the track the train slowed down and we suddenly saw a stag standing in the bushes nearby. We all thought it was real as it moved its head but most of us later realized that it was a mechanical model, but very lifelike.


Torosay Castle isn't really a castle, but is a nice stately home nonetheless.

The train ended at the Torosay Castle where we had a couple of hours to wander around the castle and the beautiful grounds. It was a lovely day to visit a true English garden. The rooms all had very clear and descriptive panels with even a room dedicated to old newspapers and photos so we could see what life had been like in the past. It was built in 1858 and has been in the same James family ever since. The previous owner, David James, wrote a number of books about his war time escapades - “Escaper's Progress” and One Man in his Time”. We also saw the book “The Scandalous Life of Jane Bigby” by Mary Lovell, which was about the great great aunt of David James's widow, Jaquetta James. When we went back through the little shop we found Jaquetta manning the shop and had a lovely conversation with her, and a photo together. Her husband died 24 years ago but she still lives in the castle with her son and his family. We bought a booklet on”Torosay” (2.50).

On our way to the hotel in Tobermory, David told us about the Isle of Mull. It is the 2nd largest island in the Inner Hebrides and the 4th largest island off the UK coast. There are about 2,600 people living on the island with the earliest people living here around 6,000 BC. A number of movies have been filmed here. These include “Entrapment”, “Highlander: Endgame”, “Eye of the Needle”, “I know Where I'm Going”, “Kidnapped”, “The Sea Change” and “When Eight Bells Toll”. Some scenes for the Harry Potter films were also filmed here. The island is home to over 250 different bird species including the White-tailed Eagle, which was reintroduced in the nearby Island of Rum and migrated to Mull, where it now has a stronghold. Minke whales, porpoises and dolphins are among the sea life that can be seen on boat tours from Mull although we did not see any.

We were dropped off at the Tobermory Hotel on the waterfront about 2:40pm then the bus took the rest of the group to the Park Lodge Hotel on the high land behind the port. We were shown to our room #1, which was quite small but with a comfortable double bed at last. The bathroom was reasonable with new dark blue tiles on all 4 walls. There was no bath this time but a nice modern shower. We set out to investigate this pretty town built around a very sheltered bay. There was quite a busy marina with nice yachts settling in for the evening. We bought a mint chocolate chip ice cream (2.50) as an early dessert and shared it as we walked to the ferry end of the town. We stopped at a 2nd hand book shop but unfortunately they closed at 4pm, just after we walked in. A local lady told us where to find the pathway and stairs to the houses above the town.

We explored the higher area and found the Park Lodge at the same time as David was taking Oren there. Oren was supposed to be staying at the Tobermory hotel but somehow a room was not allocated to him so he had to go to the other hotel. David told us that Jay had major problems getting the coach up to the Park Lodge and has decided he cannot go up there again. This meant David had to organize taxis for those people for the next 2 days.  We looked in at the Western Inn on the high point, hoping to have dinner there. It was a lovely stone building, but it was closed to non residents as it was fully booked for a wedding. We walked back down to the waterfront then to the other end of the bay, enjoying the sunshine.

We investigated the Harbour Visitor's Centre which provides a service to boaters with showers and laundry as well as general supplies. They also provided tours on the bay with whale watching in season. They had an interesting board with the wild life seen each day recorded on it. This week they were seeing Basking Sharks, Minke Whales, porpoises, eagles, shearwater gulls to name the few I can remember. We decided to walk back to the co-op and buy 4 cans of Magners Cider then across the road we bought cooked fish, scallops and chips to take back to our room for dinner. Co-op 7.64, Fish & Chips 14.10.

We enjoyed our dinner in the peace of our room watching the evening news on the TV. Then at 7:30pm the England v Algeria World Cup soccer game started. It was a disappointing game 0 – 0 so we made a hot chocolate and watched a bit more news at 10pm before lights out.

Read more in the rest of Jeanette's Diary

See the links to each day of the eleven day tour/trip diary at the top right of this page.

 

If so, please donate to keep the website free and fund the addition of more articles like this. Any help is most appreciated - simply click below to securely send a contribution through a credit card and Paypal.

 

Originally published 7 Jan 2011, last update 02 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 
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