" 6. A Scottish Adventure ~ Arinagour and home ~ "
Date & Time: Tuesday 8th - Sat 19th May 2012.
Locations : The village of Arinagour then the ferry terminal.
Places visited : Coll and all locations to home.
Accommodation : The Dunara Self Catering Cottage, Arinagour, Coll.
With : Ann and myself plus the dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Beautiful blue skies over the islands but cloud building over Mull.
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Our last day on the islands . . . as all good holidays have to come to an end at some point.
Our ferry back to Oban leaves at midday so we have time for a couple of small local walks
and then we must be ready to go . . . no weather problems to delay today's ferry !
Low tide at the inner harbour as we take a stroll around the village.
The bags are packed, the cottage cleaned and the dogs and ourselves need a walk.
The Island Cafe where we dined, seen above the small boats in the harbour.
There were several shops in the village, the Harbour Shop and petrol station,
the Island Cafe Health Food store and this one, the Post Office.
Everything from stamps and postcards to souvenirs
. . . but unfortunately no "ringed plover carving" to match the one that we have enjoyed in the cottage.
Next to the shop is the sorting office.
Those that received postcards . . . sorry we couldn't send you all one . . . would have transited through this busy dispatch centre ;o)
It may be battered and bruised and it may be old . . . but it still works perfectly !
- - - o o o - - -
We take a walk up the hill past the hotel and church to take a last view of the area.
It was the wrong time of day, and probably the wrong state of tide, but we still kept an eye out for the elusive otters.
Climbing up above the hotel.
The wide spread of the inner harbour and a wide view out to sea from our summit viewpoint.
From the top we cut down to the Church track and pass the island Church.
Down in the village there's a table out and the ladies are selling preserves and handicraft for visitors . . . and locals too.
I mentioned that when we visited Crossapol there seemed an inordinate of rubbish on the beach.
It seems the locals have recognised it too and there's a litter pick planned for the weekend . . . full marks to them.
Passing the stone wall there was a real chatter of small birds emanating from within.
Normally this is a sign of Storm Petrels nesting . . . the nest site being typical of this small bird.
Here he was again, stopping on the outside before disappearing into the open stone wall.
On the way to the pier we pass an old wartime gun overlooking the bay.
Apparently "Grumpy Pete" was a diver and regular visitor to the island . . . quite a nice chap really.
His dive party found this gun on an old wreck, brought it ashore and had it placed here after having it tidied up a bit !
The boat is in . . . but there's no rush.
The Clansman will travel from here to Tiree first then collect us on the return run.
The bay of Caolas an Eilein ~ the narrows or straights of the island ~
The headland beyond the pier is technically an island and the beach is remote and beautiful.
Another Heron stalks through the water.
Apparently Coll has one of the largest heron colony on any of the Scottish islands,
due to the availability of a reasonable number of trees in which to build their nests.
I mentioned that we had been keeping an eye out these last few days for unusual wildlife.
Keen eyes will spot a black object in the water half-way between us and that last small rock.
Normally we would have accepted this to be one of the ever-present seals but it was moving in a different way.
Cue sinister music and raised heartbeat . . .
It is coming straight at us . . . fortunately we are high up on the end of the pier by now.
The head, dorsal and tail fin of a twenty-foot-plus Basking Shark.
Our hopes of a good sighting are coming true as it cruises in close to the jetty.
Don't panic . . . he's vegetarian . . . and he is trawling for plankton not us !
Too large to fit in my camera lens even on its widest angle setting.
What a surprise and what a superb end to our time on Coll.
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The excitement over, they swim out of the bay leaving the way clear . . .
. . . the arrival back in the bay of our MacBraynes ferry.
Please wait behind the line for the loading to commence.
The smiley face says a lot about our time on the islands of Coll and Tiree.
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The island was not finished with its surprises yet . . .
Sit back and enjoy the three hour cruise through the islands . . . Oban here we come.
Eilean Mor and the Cairns of Coll as we pass the " East End " of the island.
Ahead is the impressive island of Rum, clear visibility in today's beautiful weather.
It could be a Mediterranean cruise.
As I mentioned, the cloud was building slightly over the larger island of Mull,
so as we passed Glengorm Castle the colours were slightly more muted.
The lighthouse at Rubha nan Gall, the navigation way point for headland off the town of Tobermory.
Ahead is the twin peak of Ben Talaidh and Beinn Bheag on Mull.
The fishing boat motors on past the entrance of the town . . .
. . . his eyes set on more open waters.
The brightly coloured houses line the harbour
and the lifeboat can be seen moored next to the ramp for the Kilchroan Ferry which we have used on a previous occasion.
All sorts of craft are enjoying these calm waters.
We pass this sailing cruiser close to Craignure and Duart Castle on Mull.
The good ship 'Sirius' passing close by on the port side . . . just enough breeze for sailing.
A fine older twin-masted ketch between us and Lismore Island.
Behind it . . . and bear in mind this is May . . . a fresh covering of snow on Ben Nevis, the Uk's highest summit 4,408 ft (1343 m).
We passed this on the way out so Oban can't be far now.
Too large to be moored in Oban Bay, the Silver Whisper world cruise ship lies at anchor in the sound.
The ship's tender on one side taking passengers ashore . . .
. . . housekeeping duties on the other.
The tender from the cruiser is on a return trip, taking passengers back to the boat.
We go alongside at the MacBraynes terminal, opposite the Swedish three-masted yacht Alva,
and were soon disembarked ourselves and taking the road south, back to Loweswater and home.
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It has been a twelve day holiday on the islands and apart from the one day of the gales we had great weather.
The islands were as relaxing as ever and the views this time were also superb.
Our abiding memories will probably be the peace, tranquility, the wildlife, the birds, the Basking Shark
and the fact we still needed winter coats and gloves despite the strong sunshine !
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D Digital SLR.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . fine memories of the islands.