After Glencoe we drove up to the western highlands and took the scenic route, and a ferry, to Tobermory on the beautiful Isle of Mull. We adored Mull and plan to go back again very soon. The roads are quite minor, for A roads, and very twisty and narrow in places. But everyone drove with respect and consideration.
On our first day we did an orientation drive of northern Mull and discovered, quite by accident, Calgary Beach.
This is an area of scientific interest. There are rabbit burrows and quite a variety of birds. We saw meadow pipits and heard a cuckoo. If we’d taken a picnic we could have spent a day just exploring here. But we already had a mission … we were going looking for sea eagles.
In Tobermory one of the shopkeepers told us the best place to go to see the eagles – if we were lucky. We didn’t expect to see any …
… but when we saw a bit of a crowd gathering at the roadside, we thought, eyup … What’s going on here, then? They were all looking at this clump of trees on the road side of the loch. but all we could see was the picture left.
Some had binoculars, some had cameras, and one had a telescope. So we parked up and joined them and asked what was happening. And they let us use the telescope …
… and sure enough, there was a sea eagle.
The poet’s biggest lens isn’t quite strong enough to show what we could see. But I think you get enough of the picture. He was beautiful. And huge. (That’s the eagle, not the poet … although he’s a bit beautiful too.) And we felt honoured to see such a majestic creature in its home territory.
That made our day. We didn’t care now if we never saw anything else. We’d seen a sea eagle. Live. 😀
Reluctantly, we tore ourselves away and continued on our orientation drive around northern Mull, slowly heading back to base at Tobermory. We drank in everything we saw, committed it to memory, and took lots and lots of photographs.
This picture on the right is one of two the poet took that he’s using as the basis for a painting. He’s already started it, in acrylic, and it’s already taking shape.
When we originally arrived in Tobermory this rather splendid yacht followed us. After some research (and checking the name of the boat through the binoculars) we discovered it belongs to Sir James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame. It stayed there the whole time we were there and this was, apparently, the first time they’d seen her in Tobermory. We really, really loved Tobermory. Each of the buildings is painted a different colour, with the post office in post office red and the chocolate shop in chocolate brown.
It’s also a mini-fishing village. They don’t land much fish here now, most of that is done in Oban. But they do still catch shellfish and specialise in langoustine, a prawn- or shrimp-like small lobster.
In the height of the summer season, one of the fishermen’s grandsons cycles his bike to the top of the hill and sells languoustine he’s caught himself to tourists and other passers by. This fine young man is aged “about 8” (when we asked at the chip shop on the pier), and he apparently has quite a trade going.
The weather was quite fine while we were there, but it was very, very chilly. And we’d left our hats and gloves at home. But we found a little shop in Tobermory where we could pick some up quite cheaply.
We also bought a pair of binoculars there to replace a set we’re convinced we left in the car park at Haweswater in the Lake District. It was the chap in the binocular shop who told us where to see the eagles.
On our first evening we ate in a restaurant in Tobermory, but on the second evening we ate fish and chips out of paper on the pier, and were accompanied by this mighty handsome seagull, below.
We had just one more day on Mull, but those pictures will appear next time.
Today I have gig list and Monkey Dust admin to do. Then I move away from the computer to do writing and editing work and, fave activity, diary work.
The poet has band practice this evening and I’ll be doing the weekly shop while he’s there.
Enjoy the pictures.