A Day on the Inner Hebrides

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Oban, with a bit of a moody fog

fore our Ben Nevis hike, Lucas and I had a day to spend in Oban. We’d journeyed up form Cumbria to Loch Lomond, had a seriously good curry and then had a day to make the 2-3 hour journey from Loch Lomond to Fort William. Because I can’t stand having an unused day, I booked us onto a boat tour from Oban that visited the isles of Mull, Iona and Staffa. It was a gorgeous day out, my only disappointment was that we had booked it too late in the season to see puffins.  We booked our tour though West Coast Tours, and it worked really well. Essentially, they book you on the public transit required along with a boat tour to Staffa and a bus ride across mull, and you’re free to explore otherwise.

 

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Note: Parking in Oban is nearly impossible, so allow plenty of time to find some. We attempted to park in 3 different lots, finding that each lot didn’t accept cards (as of August bank holiday) OR NEW POUND COINS, only old pound coins. So after trying and failing to exchange my new pound coins for old pound coins in a shop, we were directed to the free parking by the large Tesco which isn’t too far a walk from the waterfront.

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We set sail on the large ferry to Mull first, which left us with hazy views of Oban and a light rain.  Fortunately, the day cleared up as we arrived on Mull. We were herded to our tour bus, and our driver provided interesting commentary about life on Mull and local wildlife as we drove along. I do wish that we’d had more time to explore Mull ourselves, but there was no way to do that and visit all the islands in one day.

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Famous granite of Mull

 

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Basalt formations at Fingal’s cave

From the far side of Mull, we caught a boat tour to Staffa, which is famous for it’s basalt columns and Fingalls cave. The legend of Fingal’s cave ties into the myths of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland,  and the formations are very similar. We were given an hour to climb into the cave and around the island, fortunately it was a beautiful day, there’s no where besides the cave to escape the rain!

 

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Staffa

 

After that, it was onward to Iona, famous for it’s abbey and it’s famous resident, St. Columba who spent a lot of time there. The abbey is interesting to visit as are the ruins of the old nunnery.  We learned why Celtic Crosses often have circles between the arms…and it’s because otherwise when built out of stone they are unstable. Yay structural engineering! We had a large and delicious scone and wandered around the beautiful and peaceful island.  Then it was back to Mull, and finally to Oban, where we headed north for the last leg of our journey.

 

Suitcases and Sandcastles

17 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve always been keen to visit Staffa – looks like you picked a great day weather wise. Those rock formations are really impressive. We’ve been caught out in car parks with the new pound coins too – not a well planned launch!

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    1. Staffa was a great place to visit, even if you can only spend an hour there. I found it more dramatic than Giant’s causeway, just because it’s an island.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow, you had wonderful weather in Fingal’s cave! I have been twice and both time were overcast or rainy haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We really got lucky! I was worried as it was hazy in the morning but it cleared up nicely!

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  3. Tanja says:

    stunning nature!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hilary says:

    I just love Scotland! I recognized the basalt columns and had a feeling this was the “other side” of the Giants Causeway, which we visited last year! Wonderful post, I’m definitely keeping this in mind for my next Scotland Visit! #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely, it’s a great place to visit in Scotland, and I thought slightly cooler than giants causeway because the fact that it’s an island makes the columns more dramatic.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Clare Thomson says:

    Oh the scenery here is just so beautiful! My Scottish father has been telling me I must visit Mull soon. I’d really like to spend a few days on the islands here. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time there.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Stunning photos Amanda. I remember Oban being so lovely but for some reason we didnt venture beyond to this gorgeous wilderness. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Oban is beautiful but I definitely prefer the islands, they’re a little wilder.

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  7. How fab you got a good weather day for it. BTW, I never knew that about the circle on crosses but I had actually wondered that before! #farawayflies

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had too, and I was interested to hear it had practical rather than decorative origins!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. myplaidheart says:

    I would absolutely love to see Fingal’s Cave. Were you able to go inside on foot or did your tour boat go through?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think boats go in, but we were able to go in by foot. There are railings and non slip flooding but it’s still a little unnerving!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. myplaidheart says:

        I bet! Sounds like quite the adventure.

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