Oh, for an extra hour or two in bed, and that’s what we all took. The sun was up and the mist was flowing along the Sound of Mull as we got ourselves ready for another day of exploring the island. On the road between Salen and Gruline we picked up a hitchhiker and dropped him off just past the MacQuarie Mausoleum (Australia’s first Governor). He was planning to walk past Loch Ba and up Beinn Talaidh (761m) and had been camping in Salen.
The road from Gruline which follows the south side of Loch Na Keal provides stunning views and takes you below cliffs which look as though they could come down on you at any time. The road turns south as it passes the island of Inch Kenneth and past secluded houses. One house was flying a Royal Marines flag outside.
The road wound up through the hills and down to follow Loch Scridain. There were few cars but plenty have been catered for judging by the number of passing places provided on all of the islands’ roads. We followed the road around the loch to the Pennyghael post office and shop. It was run by a friendly woman from northern England and we chatted about seeing eagles and otters while buying lunch and a map.
Soon after, we were driving up the “challenging road” to Carsaig on the Firth of Orn. At the end of the road, having past a lone cyclist, the route drops down to an area where only five or six cars can park. Having parked, we had our lunch by the storm damaged pier. In the car park, one couple in a mobile home were struggling to get up the hill but were soon helped by a family in a four wheel drive truck. We soon set off on the coastal path towards the Carsaig Arches near Malcolm’s Point. At Carsaig, there are a handful of houses in the small, green valley. The path takes you along the scree from the cliffs above which occasionally flew some golden eagles and plenty of crows.
Penny and Emily stopped after about an hour of walking while Toby and I pressed to try to reach the Arches. Some way further, I spotted an adder sliding under a stone by the path. I rolled the rock away to show Toby the grey and silver snake which hissed and looked ready to bite, before once more escaping to somewhere shadier and safer. Rounding the next headland, I decided the Arches were too far for us on this trip so we headed back to the girls, and back to the car.
Back in the car, we had to reverse back up the hill, having a similar problem to the earlier mobile home couple. After some clutch burning activity, we headed up the hill again and back to the post office and shop at Pennyghael for a cup of tea and a break.
Our homeward route took us through Glen More towards the beautiful Loch Spelve and Craignure, before stopping in the shop at Salen for supplies.
Mull is stunningly beautiful, wild and moving. We talked about the possibility of moving here to live today and yesterday. It sounds like a pipe dream but it’s one worth thinking about.
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family and is now a magazine editor and occasional adventure cyclist.
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