Isle of Mull wildlie paradise
We left Llandudno and headed north for the west coast of Scotland. We made good time and reached Loch Lomond, north of Glasgow, by early afternoon. We stopped for a break overlooking the misty loch and enjoyed great views of our first Hooded Crows of the trip and a lovely Dipper.
We arrived in Oban with lots of time before our 6pm ferry over to Mull. On a whim we decided to buy our ferry tickets before having a wander around Oban. We asked for two tickets of the 6pm ferry and were stunned by the answer – “no 6pm ferry today, you might just get on the 4pm if you run really fast!”.
Total panic! We tore back to the car, grabbed the bags and sprinted for the gang plank. Luckily a guy with a walkie-talkie saw us running towards the boat and radioed the guys on board to hold on. We leapt on board and seconds later the ferry pulled away from the dock, whew!
Dusk was drawing in as we sailed up the sound alongside the Isle of Mull so we could only make out the shapes of the mountains, much bigger than we had expected. On the island we soon found a lovely welcoming pub near the quay and tucked into an excellent meal.
Our friends Andy and Diana came down and met us, somewhat earlier than planned, and we were soon in their lovely home, Wild Cottage, enjoying a cuppa and laughing about our near miss with the ferry!
Next morning we were taken on a wonderful tour of the south-west corner of Mull by Andy and Diana. What a stunning place, wonderful vistas opened up around each bend and we were even treated to sunshine! At one of our very first stops we were thrilled to see a pair of Golden Eagles soaring around spectacular mountain ridges, this just after a roadside Hen Harrier.
Next up was a massive White tailed Eagle! The goldens were big but this bird took it to another level! What an amazing sight, seeing this huge raptor soaring over the hills of Mull. Made even better by the fact that we spotted it as we watched a stunning male Hen Harrier floating by in the sun!
But there was much more excitement to come! At the end of a twisting narrow road that dropped down to the sea, we walked out onto the beach to stare at the stunning scene before us. Seacliffs towered above the blue sea as a gang of Atlantic Grey Seals sunbathed on the rocks.
Then Ruth suddenly exclaimed “otters!” We all looked to where Ruth was pointing and could hardly believe what we were looking at, three otters playing in the bay below us! A female and two well grown cubs were twisting, turning, diving, fishing, jumping, absolute magic! The otters were just having fun and we watched spellbound in the sun. The family of otters just stayed on a rock, the female feeding and the two youngsters playing chase on and off the rock at breakneck speed as we looked on enthralled. For some fifteen minutes the otters entertained us before slipping away into the rocks, just amazing!
We were soon enjoying more great birds with Great Northern Divers all over the place, a flock of Barnacle Geese, a hunting Peregrine, Greenshanks wading through the shallows and to finish the day off a large dog otter showing well at a roadside loch.
But our day was not done yet, that evening we gave a talk on “The Biggest Twitch” to the Mull Bird Club. What a lovely group of people, so friendly and interesting, we had a great evening after a great day!
We were now looking forward to our Mull bird race the following day…..