We depart from our designated pick up points and head for the Western Highlands, stopping en route for refreshments. On arrival in Oban we will board the late afternoon ferry for Craignure on Mull. Our base is the Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, conveniently located close to the ferry terminal with superb views of the Sound of Mull, the Morvern Hills and, across the bay, Duart Castle. Please note this hotel now offers excellent spa and leisure facilities, including an indoor swimming pool, steam room, Norwegian Spruce Sauna and hydro foot spa. A range of reasonably priced treatments is also available.
Dinner is served in the evening.
Today we will drive along the Ross of Mull to Fionnphort, where we cross as foot passengers to the ‘sacred isle’ of Iona. Here you have the opportunity to visit the Abbey and wander over the island, taking in the atmosphere of calm and contemplation which attracts visitors from all over the world.
Dinner is served back at our hotel in the evening.
After our full Scottish breakfast we will depart for a tour of Mull, stopping first in Tobermory, the island’s ‘capital’. The multi-hued buildings that line the waterfront will be familiar from a hundred calendars, and it’s a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours wandering around the shops, which include local arts and crafts outlets. For many, a pint in the Mishnish is an essential part of any visit to the town.
In the afternoon we drive to the Ulva Ferry pier at Oskamull and depart on a cruise to the little island of Staffa. Sailing out of Loch na Keal beneath the towering bulk of Ben More, keep an eye open for otters, seals, porpoises, dolphins and basking sharks – these waters are rich in wildlife. There are also great numbers of seabirds, with puffins, guillemots and razorbills among the most common. The Isle of Staffa was formed by volcanic eruptions over 50 million years ago and as the basaltic lava cooled it formed an extraordinary pattern of predominantly hexagonal columns which form the faces and walls of the principal caves. We will have around an hour ashore to explore the island, in particular the massive natural cathedral known as Fingal’s Cave, following in the footsteps of illustrious tourists from Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson to Jules Verne and Queen Victoria.
(Please note a reasonable degree of mobility is required to go ashore but the less adventurous are welcome to stay on board and are usually taken on a short seabird/seal-watch cruise. There is a toilet on board)
We sail back to Ulva Ferry pier and return by coach to our hotel in time for dinner.
Following breakfast we will visit Duart Castle, the 13th century home of the Chief of Clan MacLean. We can explore the dungeons, the state rooms and appreciate the strategic position of the castle from the top of the keep. Thereafter we will take the short ferry crossing from Fishnish to Lochaline and drive through the magnificent mountain scenery of Morvern, before crossing Loch Linnhe by the Corran ferry and continuing our homeward journey via Glen Coe and Loch Lomond, arriving back at our original pick-up points during the evening.