Isle of Mull
BOASTING spectacular wildlife and scenery, as well as outstanding seafood, Mull is truly up there with some of the world’s finest tourist attractions. A playful otter could cross your path at any moment, a majestic red deer stag will observe you from his mountain vantage point and golden and white tailed eagles plummet from the skies before your disbelieving eyes. Out to sea the encounters are richer still. You’ll find guillemots, gannets and puffins above the water, especially around Staffa and the Treshnish Isles, while within it swim minke and killer whales, black baleen, harbour porpoises and Risso’s dolphins. Travel to Mull by ferry from Oban, and you cannot help but feel that you are entering another world. You pass enchanted caves, fairytale castles, and if you’re lucky might even see basking shark!
Mull’s main port, Craignure, is a short ferry crossing from Oban, close to two impressive castles, including Duart, which has been lovingly restored. The northern capital, Tobermory, is known as the setting for children’s television programme Balamory, though it has also been gaining media and young readers’ attention recently through the saga of the Tobermory Cat. The Mull Museum, the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and the Marine Visitor Centre offer displays and interactive exhibits on the history, geology and wildlife of the island. Tobermory Distillery, established in 1798, it is one of the oldest commercial distilleries in Scotland.
Thanks to a careful conservation programme, several pairs of rare white-tailed or sea eagles nest and fish around the island, and golden eagles occupy the high ridges where they feast on mountain hare. Big name mammals to look out for include red deer, fallow deer, and even wild goats, and be sure to keep an eye out for the distinctive shapes of both grey and common seals basking on the rocks or bobbing up and down just off shore.