We fell in love with Tobermory and decided, just like that, to stay three nights. Use the first day to sort ourselves out – do the washing, buy a new toaster from the hardware shop (fantastic store selling everything – went in to buy one thing and came out with four) – chandlery next door to buy the Outer Hebrides Pilot Guide and a great book shop just nearby. I then spent some of the day fitting a new inverter so that we could charge up our computers when we were in remote places and then went on a tour of the local whiskey distillery.
Tour of Tobermory distillery – Tobermory and Ledaig Malts – the latter more smoked and peatie
Fixed up a car hire from the local garage that also ran the fuel pontoon – so we filled up the boat too.
The drive to the Iona ferry at Fionnphort was memorable for us because we were retracing the route we had sailed but were seeing it from a different perspective and from a higher altitude – we even passed by Loch Spelve where we’d moored earlier.
Once we arrived on Iona we found a local crafts shop that also prepared a fantastic coffee – retail and coffee therapy combined could not be resisted by Rosamund and half an hour later she was the proud owner of an Orkland hand knitted jersey which looks wonderful on her. An incentive to sail as far as the Orkneys.
We then headed for the beach at the north end of Iona passing the Cathedral and a distinctive Celtic cross – on closer inspection it was dedicated to Elizabeth Sutherland by her husband the 8th Duke of Argyll in 1879. I wondered whether this could possibly be a grandmother or great-grandmother of the Elizabeth, the 24th Countess of Sutherland (currently 95) who generously sponsored Andrew for £100 when he went to Svalbard at the age of 18.
Cross dedicated to Elizabeth Sutherland married to the 8th Duke of Argyll
Both Ros and I took a dip in the sea and inspired another man to go in in his underpants. It was near freezing (not quite – 10.7C) and you realised you could not survive for long in that water temperature – after this Rosamund and I were much more careful to wear life jackets and clip-in whenever doing anything at all risky.
Coming out after a cold dip
On the way back we visited the Abbey (Cathedral) – this was closing a circle for Rosamund and I as we had seen the book of Kells in Dublin the year before on our trip to Scotland and now we were seeing where it had been written. It was peaceful and spiritual and I loved seeing the pictures of monks rowing to the mainland
The cloisters at the Abbey
Copy of the book of Kells
The principles of Columba, who settled on Iona in the 9th century, and the boats used at the time
After a tea and cake at the Argyll Hotel while waiting for the ferry, we drove back to Tobermory via the west coast of Mull – the scenic route. While the roads were very rough (described as “weak” on signs) we had fun spotting and avoiding pot holes. We passed the island of Ulva and could see this would be a good place to visit in the future.
We arrived back to Tobermory just in time to get fish and chips from the chippie on the harbour front