New Year On Mull

Tobermory

Come new year, we usually try to escape somewhere for a few days. Previous trips have in included Skye, Oban, Mallaig, Fort William, the Cairngorms, and, 8 years previously, Mull. We decided that a return visit to the latter was in order.

We set off from home after a lazy start on the 29th December enjoying a snowy drive via Tyndrum, and onwards to the Corran Ferry. Strangely, the low-level snow was confined to the south side of Rannoch Mor. From Ardgour on the Ardnamurchan, we had a quick blast to Lochaline in an attempt to make the last ferry. This road goes quite high and we were back in the snow again. We arrived with 10 mins to spare.

Once on the other side, we headed around to the start of the following days Corbett, Dun da Ghaoithe near Craignure eventually finding a spot to park next to a graveyard on the road to Duart Castle.

Dun da Ghaoithe is the only Corbett on Mull, and despite the rubbish weather, it would have been rude not to have attempted it! Up to the 550m contour, its a steep but wide track to the 2nd of two transmitter towers. Lucy accompanied me to the 1st before turning around (she had done the hill before), I carried onto the 2nd tower in the deepening snow, before setting out across the pathless terrain on a compass bearing to the summit. I reached what I thought, (until about 5 mins ago) was the summit, took my photos and headed back down. I had hoped to follow my own footsteps down, but they were covered by fresh snow in 15 mins flat so it was back on the compass bearing again to the tower, followed by an easy stomp down to a dry van.

While writing the above, I had cause to check the GPS tracklog… Bollocks!! It appears that I was not at the true summit of the hill, but rather at the Cairn/Trig point @ 757M. The true summit is 800Metres NW @766M. I usually check the GPS at the summit to be sure I am there – in the worsening weather, I did not bother this time. Hopefully next time I am up this hill the weather will be rather better!

That afternoon, we visited Tobermory (mainly for the chocolate shop!), before heading inland in the direction of Calgary Bay, finding a decent, sheltered spot on the way with 4G internet for the night!

The next morning the weather remained pretty pish, but good enough for a low level coastal walk at Calgary Bay. There’s 2 paths, with the upper path going much further, by the time we returned to the van, we had been joined by the masses.

From Calgary Bay, we headed around the coast stopping where we fancied for several wee walks, including a visit to the waterfall at Eas Fors, which was looking good after all the rain.

 

We had half a mind to visit the isle of Ulva, but decided to save that for better weather and more time. It would be nice to do this with the packraft also – in better weather there would be some superb packrafting to be had in this area.

Since today was the 31st, it would have been rude not to have headed to Tobermory for beers and fireworks so that’s what we did, parking on the pier.

The 1st Jan was our final full day on Mull, and again the weather was pretty dreich. We started off with a walk from Tobermory along the newly remade track to  Tobermory Lighthouse. On a decent day, you get views over to the Ardnamurchan from here, this was no decent day, but it had its moments.

Short walks between the showers seemed to be the order of the day, so we headed for Salen and via the coast towards Loch Scridain stopping where we fancied. Good packrafting territory all along here!

The last time we did this route, the pass over the headland to Loch Scridain was all iced up, but drivable – at least until it wasn’t! We got stuck in the dark, with the prospect of a 4 mile reverse back down the icy road to a turning point. Instead of tackling the reverse, and with the help of a local farmer, we tried to turn around in the entrance to an unoccupied cottage (getting stuck on the ice at the entrance in the process). We ended up spending the night 01/01/2010 on the front lawn of said cottage hoping that the ice would melt. We assisted the melt by hacking at it with some ice axes and spreading some salt. The next morning the ice was better and we did indeed get free and tackle the reverse down the hill! I took a picture 01/01/2018, 8 years later:

We were stuck on this cottage’s front lawn 8 years previously

I had picked an overnight spot for tonight off the wild camping website at Grasspoint. Little did I know that you could no longer park overnight down this road, or that the hump back bridge was harsh enough to ground the van!

We reached the road end (which is a bit knarly in places), got some photos, and then headed back out again via the dreaded bridge. Lucy walked and I dumped some water in the hope of raising the ride height – both to no avail. Thankfully, a slightly shaved waste valve is the only damage!

We found somewhere more sensible to park for our final night. The next morning we were in the ferry queue early – just 2 ferries scheduled and a lot of vehicles! We got on the early one, and due to the Coran ferry not running, we had a long drive via Fort William home.

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