Spotlight on: Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides 

Location: The Isle of Mull, a large island off the West coast of Scotland. Easiest Journey is by the regular Caledonian MacBrayne car Ferry from Oban in Argyle

What to expect: Amazing coastal scenery & beaches, unspoilt open space, fantastic wildlife, friendly locals, great food and fresh air! Be prepared to slow down, literally, while you’re on the island. Most of the roads are single lane – and while there are plenty of passing places, the twisting and turning roads mean you rarely move beyond 3rd gear. Receiving a mobile phone signal is also pretty rare, making Mull an excellent place to be if you’d rather not hear from the office!

Don’t be put off by visions of harsh Scottish weather, the proximity of the gulf stream means that the weather on Mull can be a lot better than you’d expect. In short, if you’re looking for somewhere with spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife, plenty of open space and a genuine escape from the hassles of modern urban life, Mull isn’t a bad place to visit!

Calgary Beach
Calgary Beach

Where to stay: Mull has a selection of accommodation. Admittedly if you’re after a 5* hotel operated by one of the major chain’s, you’ll be out of luck. And to be frank, if that’s what you’re after, then probably Mull isn’t for you anyway! Otherwise, there are plenty of B&B’s, Holiday lodges and small family run hotels to choose from.

What to do: One of the big draws to the inner Hebrides is the wide variety of abundant wildlife. Several operators run a range of boat excursions ranging from a couple of hours to all day, multi-Island excursions. Many of the trips centre upon a cruise out to the Treshnish Isles – Depending on the season, you’ll see a wide range of wildlife as well as a selection of the local headline acts including Puffins, Seals, Sea Eagles, Basking sharks.

Expect to see an abundance of wildlife
Expect to see an abundance of wildlife

Most of the boat trips include time on the Isle of Staffa and an opportunity to explore the basaltic columns of Fingal’s Cave.

Fingal's Cave on the Isle of Staffa
Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa

Back on the island, there are any number of local guides offering land based wildlife safaris and with luck, you’ll get to see Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, short eared Owls, Red Deer and Otters

Other options include spending a day on the fantastic white sand beach at Calgary bay. Nearby, is the ‘Art in Nature’ trail which features a free interactive gallery amongst the woods, which is very hands on and is great for kids.

The main town on Mull is Tobermory which features a distillery offering daily tours and a picturesque, working, harbour. As you’d expect, it’s not the biggest town, but nice to explore and finishing up with a homemade ice cream from the parlour on the harbour wall is fantastic!

The gates of the distillery at Tobermory
The gates of the distillery at Tobermory

Where to eat / where not to eat They like their food on Mull. Actually, you’ll be hard pushed to find somewhere that isn’t serving home cooked / locally sourced excellent food. Any local you ask will be able to rattle off a dozen high quality recommendations. As you’d expect, amazing seafood features prominently on most menu’s as well as Venison and some excellent local Lamb and Beef. The only criticism I would make is that kids get a bit of a raw deal when eating out. It’s not specific to Mull, but surely, it’s not that hard to offer a decent childrens’ menu that doesn’t revolve around pizza, burger and sausages. Actually, I will temper that comment for Mull slightly. Pretty much everywhere we ate, we could ask for either a child portion of one of the adults dishes, or they’d split an adults meal between a couple of the kids. Really, it’s just a case of asking – when it’s a small restaurant serving homemade food, the kitchens have a lot more flexibility than perhaps we’re used to.