WP_20150830_19_38_58_ProWe boarded the ‘Calmac’ Ferry at Oban on the first stage of our recent week-long break in the Hebrides, western Scotland. Neither of us had been to the area before and the view of the islands from the harbour was very inviting. We drove on board the ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull and had a smooth, serene crossing.

Leaving Oban...

Leaving Oban…

We headed for Tobermory in the north of the island upon landing, along a narrow road (we were to discover much narrower and rougher tracks later in the stay). We had two great days here in the capital of the island famed for its colour washed harbour frontage and top notch fish restaurants (we sampled Cafe Fish– superb freshly caught fish).

On our first day- with a mixture of sunshine and showers- we made a road trip to the north west of the island to Calgary Bay (from where the Canadian city is named, I think). We parked up at an art gallery and walked down to the bay through a delightful ‘Art in Nature’ landscape, where artistic objects had been placed among the trees and hillside. the beach in the bay was a smooth, silky strand and as we retraced our steps the next heavy, windswept shower took it’s toll! Not before I’d found many interesting beach textures to photograph (more on these in a later post).

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There wasn’t much else of gardening interest to report other than some pretty plots on the Isle of Iona which we visited later in the week when we moved to the south west of the island for a second stay in ‘B and B’. Having said this who needs gardens when you have such amazing scenery?

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I was disappointed however to not visit one garden en route south called Lip na Cloiche. Our journey south was along narrow, winding roads and I hadn’t appreciated how slow the going was to be- in fact we travelled, around 46 miles in 2 hours! So, there was no time to stop, but the front entrance to this interesting garden was tantalising; I gather it is densely planted, tumbles down the coastline and uses ‘found’ objects imaginatively in the landscape. Ah well, if we return ( I think we shall) this will be a ‘must visit’.

Looks interesting...must get there, next time

Looks interesting…must get there, next time

We made two boat trips whilst in the south of the island; one to Iona (the Holy Isle of St. Columba) and a visit to the staggering landscape and seascape of Staffa (from the old Norse for ‘staff’ or ‘pillar’ island), including the famous ‘Fingal’s Cave’ enclosed by towering cliffs of columnar basalt, many with a clear hexagonal profile.

Iona was a delight, especially as we had our bikes with us to get around- we dropped into the Abbey and its museum, walked up the highest hill to get super views of Mull and beyond and had a delicious lunch in a local hotel.

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So, four days on and we needed to move onto stage two of our Hebridean Hop– the ferry back to Oban and the long drive along the Mull of Kintyre to catch our next ferry to the Isle of Arran. But not before stumbling across a lovely seaside garden en route- more of that in my next post.

Old School Gardener