The beautiful Isle of Iona

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Southern Mull (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

On our last day on Mull we decided to explore the southern part of the island. We’d heard we might see golden eagles and thought it would be a wonderful bonus if we did. It was another long and winding drive on narrow roads, but again we spotted people on the roadside using binoculars … and when we stopped to ask what they’d seen, they said a golden eagle had just flown down the valley and they were going to catch up with it further down the road.

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Iona (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We decided to break here for a while, relax and watch the skyline … we were rewarded with not one but two golden eagles soaring above the trees. They were too far away for pictures and they didn’t stay very long anyway. But what a joy for us to see them – again – in their natural habitat. I looked at the map and decided to navigate us on a magical mystery tour, but as we drew nearer to the port, the poet realised I was taking him to Iona.

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Iona Abbey (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Although we were on foot, a car ferry was to take us across to this other island, but it wasn’t ready and so we were taken in a smaller fishing boat instead. And in less than 10 minutes we were on the beautiful Isle of Iona, and we both fell instantly in love with the place. We’d like to go back and spend a few days on the island, and maybe take a boat trip to see the puffins and the seals. They also have dolphins and porpoises in this part of Scotland, but we didn’t see any this time.

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Getting arty again … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We walked to one end of the island, walked back to the village, had lunch and then wandered over to the abbey to take some pictures. We didn’t go in as there was an admission charge and we didn’t know how long it would take, and we needed to get back. Then it was back to Mull and then back to Tobermory for our last night. The following morning we were up and off for the drive and ferry to Oban, and the last leg of our Scotland trip.

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Duart Castle (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As we left Mull we caught sight of Duart Castle, which we hadn’t had chance to see properly while we were on the island. Maybe next time …

In just over half an hour we were in Oban and looking for our hotel, which we found almost straight away. And what a lovely little hotel it was, probably our favourite of all the holiday. They’d upgraded us to their honeymoon suite and even left us a congratulatory gift.

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Our lovely little hotel in Oban (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Next door was a passenger terminal for something, but it wasn’t until the last day that we found out this was a helicopter that goes out and maintains the lighthouses. There’s also a lighthouse ship based at Oban too.

We only had 2 nights in Oban so we didn’t get much chance to explore, particularly as we knew we were up early on the Sunday to get to the airport. We did manage a day in Inverary, though, and I’ll share those pictures next time.

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What was waiting for us when we arrived (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Last night the poet had band practice and I did the shopping while he was there. When I went back to pick him up, they were still rehearsing one of their new songs. It sounded really good and I’m looking forward to hearing it tomorrow night at their first and last gig in a while (next one is August). They’re almost full for gigs now this year with only a couple of free dates. But there’s a lot to pay out just now for the van, so they need the cash.

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The helicopter next to our hotel in Oban (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Today I’m still editing and still writing, but I’m hoping to be in a position by the end of the day to go to the write-in in Leeds tomorrow. I need to get back into the swing of going to a writers’ group and the poet needs to get back into the swing of going fishing. We have to organise and plan our time and our outings a lot better. We also want to go and see some trailer tents on display in Manchester and he wants to buy a new fishing pole.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the pictures. 🙂

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We went to Keswick

For my birthday weekend, I didn’t want to be at home, and so we went to Keswick for a few days. We stayed with the lovely Carol and her friend Lynda, who were there for the Words by the Water festival. I ordered sunshine, and we got it. My actual birthday day was a bit gloomy, weatherwise, but it was a birthday I wasn’t particularly happy about. But it stayed dry and we went out and we window-shopped.

On the Saturday we got there fairly lateish, and were immediately taken on a massive walk around Derwent Water. Rufus barked a lot and we chatted a lot, and we took a few pictures.

Wherever I go I always find a boat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Wherever I go I always find a boat. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Carol Warham)
(Picture: Carol Warham)
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(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Wordsworth meets Ruskin. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Wordsworth chats with Ruskin. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

On Saturday evening we went for a beautiful Italian meal with Carol and Lynda.

Lynda and Carol. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Lynda and Carol. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

On Sunday we ambled around Ambleside, window-shopped and visited a stone circle. It was dark and gloomy by the time we got there, though, so the pictures didn’t work very well. On Sunday evening we went for another meal, just the two of us, for some good pub grub.

Monday morning we were up bright and early, for us, and we headed off again to buy the birthday present I’d seen the day before from Ambleside (but the shop had been closed). We also bought some old-fashioned sweets, and a packed lunch from Greggs.

Then we headed out to Haweswater, via Ullswater, the latter of which is my favourite commercial lake in the Lake District.

Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Ullswater. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
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(Picture: Diane Parkin)

I’d ordered a golden eagle, and so we went on our way to Haweswater.

On the way there, between Celleron and Askham, the poet thought he saw a buzzard. But it was too big to be a buzzard, and so we stopped the car (in the middle of the road) and got out to take a closer look with the binoculars. It really was too big to be a buzzard and was, in actual fact, the golden eagle. And … even better than that, there was another one.

The “proper officals” haven’t yet sighted these marvelous birds, and so they don’t officially exist in the Lake District any  more. But if you bob along anyway, you just might be lucky and have the same “hallucination” we did. There’s actually been golden eagles at Haweswater since the 1960s and the first time I was there the officials swore blind they weren’t around … until a walker disturbed them. I’ve now seen one or both on every single visit.

Here are some pictures demonstrating just how beautiful and unspoiled Haweswater is.

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
(Picture: Diane Parkin)
Can you see the moon? (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Can you see the moon? (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Lord Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Lord Rufus. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
Self portrait. (Picture: Diane Parkin)
My favourite landscape. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
My favourite landscape. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had a lovely time and will be going again for a little longer. We arrived home well after teatime and chilled with the cats.

Enjoy the pictures.