Scotland's Islands & Highlands Tour Diary
Day 5 : To Tobermory on the Isle
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.
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
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
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
See the links to each day
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7 Jan 2011, last update
21 Jul 2020
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