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Day 7: 17.09.20 - to Iona and beyond.....!

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

We were like two excited children when we awoke at 6am this morning......we were off to the

Isle of Iona and the weather forecast was excellent.  Thankfully we’d both slept really well on our camp beds, our bodies molding themselves into the tempura mattresses, ensuring we didn’t fall out when we rolled over.  Very different from the very bouncy, very deep mattresses we’d slept on at Crookabeck!

Sandra was even more excited than us, this being the one place in the world she absolutely loves and was keen to show us around. She’d been avidly checking out the weather forecast for the next few days and it was sun, sun, sun and warm sun at that.  Who’d have thought it.  Of course this meant that Maice and I would need to rethink our wardrobe, and once again, we rearranged and repacked our bags, removing all our waterproofs and winter clothes out of our cases and replacing them with  some lightweight, ‘appropriate for hot weather’ gear.  Honestly, what a malaver!  To say the room resembled a pigsty was an understatement.  We can’t believe how untidy we’ve been on this holiday. ....which is most out of character for us! 

Purchasing a cappuccino from the cafe opposite, we set off in convoy to the ferry terminal, just round the corner from where we were staying, sat in the queue for ten minutes and next thing we knew, we were driving onto the ferry bound for Craignure on the Isle of Mull.  The excitement was mounting. Not wanting to take our, at this point, very heavy bags onto the deck, heavy due to the fact that we’d decanted our ‘larder’ into both our bags, we reorganised our bags, yet again, moving things around and just ‘throwing’ everything into the car.  We’d been so engrossed in this exercise we didn’t realise the boat was starting to move off so we made a quick dash to the top deck so we could get some photos as we were leaving the port.  To get to the top deck one had to walk through the inside decks where face masks were to be worn at all times.  In our haste to lighten our bags, Maice had left hers in the car and proceeded down to the car deck to retrieve said facemask only to find that the doors to the cardeck were locked.  She came back up with her jumper wrapped round her face looking very fetching….not!   Fortunately for Maice, Pearl had a spare one so at least she could look semi decent!

The sail over to Mull was wonderful, with so many photo opportunities to be had.  Goodness knows how many photos we’ve taken so far but think it may well exceed yesterdays figure of over 200!  Disembarking at Craignure, we pottered around the village, which consisted of a charity shop where Pearl and I purchased a few garments, a post office, a cafe and a few houses and then made our way in our separate cars cross country to the port of Fionnphort on the other side of the island where we were catching the ferry to Iona.  The road was just wide enough for one car but thankfully there were passing places all the way along and after a 35 mile journey of constantly ‘pulling over’ to let cars pass we found ourselves in Fionnphort where we encountered our first Highland cattle, not in a field as one would expect but having a lie down by the side of the road, in the village of all places!

The ferry over to Iona took just ten minutes and the approach to the port was beautiful…..the sea was crystal clear, a multitude of blues and turquoise’s exposing beautiful white sandy bottoms…..on the seabed that is!  We walked the fifteen walk along the road to our final destination…..the Iona Pods, home for the next two nights, chucked everything down and cracked open the G&T’s and the sundried tomatoes.  The sun was beating down on us, the sky was blue with not a cloud to be seen and we were in our t-shirts…….heavenly.  If we closed our eyes we could have been in Greece!

After settling in, we did our own thing until it was time to make our way to our 6pm dinner reservation at the Columba Hotel.  It was a nice little hotel overlooking the Isle of Mull and on being shown to our tables, note the plural here………we had to sit on two tables as we’re from different households, and thems the rules, the Scottish rules…….and then we were told we’d have to vacate our tables by 7.30pm as there were other reservations due at that time! We were quite taken aback by this statement as we’d not been advised of this at the time of booking so if we wanted  to select a starter, a main course, a pudding and coffee plus a bottle of wine we’d need to eat it in super quick time, no doubt giving ourselves a touch of indigestion. As it was, we limited ourselves to just a bottle of wine and a main course and by the time we were asked if we wanted pudding, the waiter told us in no uncertain terms that we’d have to vacate the tables and move, and if we wanted pudding we’d have to eat that in the lounge!  Maice still had a full glass of wine to drink and not to be hurried we all retired to the lounge where we continued to debate over the terrible manners of the waiter. Trip Advisor here we come!  Before we left the hotel we did make our complaint known to the receptionist who was most apologetic.

In order to walk off our frustrations we decided to pick up our jackets and walk cross country down to the beach and do some stargazing.  Not that we know which stars are which, or where the constellations are, but it was such a beautiful evening, completely clear skies and as we moved away from the houses the skies darkened and all the stars came out tonight. It was truly spectacular.  Try as we might though we just couldn’t photograph this wonderful spectacle nor could we find or decipher the constellation of stars.  Luckily Sandra had an App, hey, where would be without the App Store, which when you pointed the phone to the sky it shows you which constellations you’re looking at.  We stood on the beach, in the pitch black, ooohing and aaahing each time we saw our birth sign constellations, and any other constellation that showed up, and there are many but honestly, what big kids we are and we even saw stars moving across the sky.  Whether these were shooting stars or airplanes we don’t know.  I didn’t see anything moving but the others did and they swear blind they were shooting stars.  Maybe tonight I’ll get to see some!

What a fabulous ending to a perfect day.  It’s been glorious.  We’re on a boat trip to uninhabited Staffa tomorrow, Staff, the island ‘sculpted by nature’ and home to Fingal’s Cave where we’re hoping to hear a musical of some sort……fingers crossed.

Good night starry starry night……..

M&A and not forgetting Marvin, and Pearl, Dianne and Sandra xxxxxx

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