Hav­ing fun in Tober­mory’s back gar­den

The Oban Times - - Outdoors - He­len Watt, Com­mu­ni­ties, Re­cre­ation and Tourism Man­ager, Forestry Com­mis­sion Scot­land.

I RE­ALLY en­joy my trips to Mull. One of the most en­joy­able as­pects of my job is get­ting out and vis­it­ing our re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties all over Ar­gyll.

I es­pe­cially en­joy go­ing to Aros Park, which is our most vis­ited site on Mull and the clos­est to Tober­mory. It has been de­scribed as Tober­mory’s back gar­den.

The coastal trail forms a great link be­tween Tober­mory and Aros Park. It’s rough and rocky but there are fab­u­lous sea views along its length.

If you just fancy a five-minute leg-stretch, The Alainn View trail is very short, wide and flat with a smooth sur­face and of­fers fan­tas­tic views of the Aros Burn water­fall. It’s of­ten more en­joy­able af­ter a lot of rain when the burn is higher.

The for­est district has been work­ing on a pro­gramme of rhodo­den­dron clear­ance in this area to aid the erad­i­ca­tion of phy­toph­thora, but the ben­e­fits are two-fold in that the views around the park have re­ally opened up and our net­work of trails of­fer a much bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for all our vis­i­tors.

If you fancy a slightly longer walk, fol­low the lochan trail for a gen­tle wan­der around tran­quil Lochan a’ Ghurrabain. This is an ar­ti­fi­cial loch which was cre­ated as a fea­ture for Aros House but also as a source of power for the sawmill down by the pier.

For the younger, or per­haps more ad­ven­tur­ous, vis­i­tor, there is a play trail which fol­lows the lochan route for a stretch be­fore head­ing off fur­ther up into the woods.

The car park, which is the start­ing point for all the trails, is also the site of Aros House, bought in 1874 by the Al­lan fam­ily and de­mol­ished in 1962 be­cause it was very se­ri­ously de­cayed and quite dan­ger­ous.

Much of the stone from the house was used to build the car park and the front doors of the house are now the front doors of the Church of Scot­land in Tober­mory.

The Forestry Com­mis­sion Scot­land looks af­ter many of the forests on Mull. As well as Aros Park, we man­age forests all the way up the east coast of the is­land. You can walk in all of these forests and we pro­vide way­marked routes in each of them, from Scallas­tle in the south to Ard­more in the north.

We re­store na­tive wood­land and en­cour­age the growth of broadleaf trees. We also man­age the forests for a sus­tain­able sup­ply of tim­ber. Wood­chips from our forests are used on Mull and, among other things, heat the oven of the is­land bak­ery which al­ways pro­vides a good ex­cuse (if one were needed) to de­vour their bis­cuits.

Mull is one of the best places in Bri­tain to look for wildlife. Our wildlife hides at Fish­nish and at Loch Tor near Quin­ish are great places to start.

If you hap­pen to be there at the same time as one of the Mull and Iona Com­mu­nity Trust rangers, they’ll fill you in on all the an­i­mals to look out for and the best places and times to ex­plore.

You can also look out for marine wildlife from our car parks at Fish­nish and Gar­mony. These are ex­cep­tion­ally good places to sit and watch the sea or have a stroll along the coast. The shore trail at Ard­more has more wildlife view­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to the north.

If scan­ning the sea is not your thing, have a look up­wards. You’ve got a re­ally good chance of see­ing both the huge white-tailed ea­gles and the ma­jes­tic golden ea­gles here, but there are also plenty of other birds to look out for. Have a look around and see if you can spot hen har­ri­ers, cross­bills and black-throated divers.

There are many sites to ex­plore on Mull and it’s a great place to dis­cover not only what the forests have to of­fer but also the dra­matic scenery of the beau­ti­ful Ar­gyll coast­line.

Why not visit the Aros Burn water­fall.

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