Date & Time: Sunday to Tuesday 20th / 22nd Sept 2009.
Location : Ardarchy and the Ross of Mull
Places visited : Uisken, Bunessan, Kintra, Erraid Island, Fidden Beach, Ardlanish.
Walk details : Local walks only as we dodge the weather.
With : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : A damp south westerly airstream bringing very changeable weather.
The weather has deteriorated and so we spend the next day or so doing local walks and investigate the tourist attractions on offer.
It allows us to explore many of the little roads here
at the end of the Ross of Mull and to get a better idea of how the area
Ardarchy House where we are based during our stay.
The local Uisken Bay over the next small headland.
The beach matches it's neighbour and the granite headlands and white sands are delightful,
but the weather dos not allow us to take full advantage of them.
Instead we drive over to Bunessan Village where the local history society has set up a museum and a reference centre for Mull's local historic archive.
It has refurbished one of the old houses of the village and it is a vast improvement on their old portacabin on the harbour front !.
In the back room you can check through their archives and the many boxes of old photos to trace family records, should you wish.
Seen better days . . . and we're not talking about the weather !
A once beautiful sailing cruiser lies abandoned on the shore at the village of Kintra, a few miles north of Fionnphort.
The small harbour-side village was built in the 1700's by the 5th Duke of Argyle in an attempt to develope a local fishing industry
but poor management and the transport difficulties of getting the fish to the markets meant it was never a great success.
A short walk for myself and the dogs was all that was required on a day like today.
- - - o o o - - -
Next morning was a total contrast as we head for Erraid Island via the one and only road that passes through . . .yes . . . Fionnphort again.
Still it's a lovely morning and we stop for a sunny photo for a change.
The Bowman's coach had just dropped off another group of visitors for the short ferry trip to Iona.
Apparently over 140,000 people a year make the journey to the island.
Having read the history of the quarries and the village we discovered that the rock in the centre of the bay
was a glacial erratic boulder of a rock type totally different to the pink granite for which the area is famous.
The farm houses at the end of the road to Knockvologan on the southern tip of the peninsular.
This was our starting point today for a walk over to Erraid Island and Fidden Bay.
Harry and Bethan are first down to the shore . . . again !
Another boat that has seen better days.
Great sunshine but a strong breeze keeps the temperature down.
The beach at Knockvologan, with a rather nice but unsettled mackerel sky.
Erraid Island is cut off at high tide, but for most of the time is accessible over this narrow sandy channel.
One of the small private landing points for local boats,
but the tide is low at this time of the day and there's no water lapping the shore.
Contemporary art . . . I love it . . . who says the big cities are the only place to find it !
All the housing on the island was originally built by the Victorian Stevenson family and it was used as a base from which they quarried and built many of the west coast lighthouses for the Northern Lighthouse Board. The red granite was quarried here and the stone masons shaped the stone in order to prefabricate the great lighthouse structures. These blocks were then shipped out to the outer islands and reefs where they re-assembled into the impressive and life-saving structures that still exist to this day, for example Skerryvore Light
The island houses became home for the lighthouse keepers and their families for over a century before becoming redundant once the lighthouses were automated.
The Stevenson family produced no less than eight great engineers who went on to build not only lighthouses, but also bridges and buildings and railways.
The first of the great engineers was Robert Stevenson but the island is also well known as the birth place of his grandson, Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish author and writer of the famous novel "Kidnapped".
The well built jetty from which the stone was assembled and shipped to build the offshore lighthouses.
It's amazing to stop and think of all the famous feet that have trodden these paths.
Looking down on the quarry area and an old quarry house.
Views across the Sound of Iona to the island itself.
Looking out to sea from Stevenson's Observatory.
This was a signal station to pass and receive messages to the Skerryvore and Dubh Artach lighthouses . . . before the days of radio !
Following the sale of the island houses they changed hands several times but were eventually offered to the Findhorn Foundation in 1977.
You can apply to stay on the island as a working holiday and retreat, to join the members and to sample their self sufficient and peaceful lifestyle.
Ann found this magnificent group of Shaggy Ink Cap fungi on the way back to the car.
Back on the relative mainland of Mull we stopped off at Fidden Beach
to re-acquaint ourselves with the bay, having spent several holidays here with the children in years past.
The houses and campsite with a caravan in more or less our old favourite spot.
It's a short boat ride across to Erraid where we had been just an hour or so earlier.
The late afternoon sunshine on us, the boats, on Iona and on the seals basking on the half tide rocks to the left of the picture.
"Were you talking about us ? "
Watching him, watching us !
Time to relax and chat.
The Fidden moorings and a small local boat swinging back and fore in the breeze.
Some of the beautiful multi-coloured seaweed that covered parts of the foreshore.
- - - o o o - - -
After yesterdays's fine afternoon, today (our last morning on this part of the island) started on rather wet note.
What shall we do today fellas ?
Before we had to leave we had time to visit the Ardlanish Weavers who have set up a production facility at the farm just down from the hotel.
Recommended by all concerned, we drove the short distance down the road to a very ordinary looking farm complex . . .
. . . . but inside it is a whole different world.
Local and other Hebridean wool is transformed on traditional but large scale weaving equipment.
The bobbin and shuttle.
Examples of the variety and style of fabrics produced at the centre.
Organic is from certified flocks, Ethical is from organic but uncertified, often very small suppliers.
Mark, Maddie and Anja also manufacture clothing on site and have won several important fashion contracts recently.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . a new hat and hearthrug.
A previous time up here - 13th to 23rd May 2006 A Scottish Island Holiday