Picking up on our next day in Oban, we headed off on a day trip to the Inner Hebrides isles. A boat ride on open waters was probably a bit bold after M braved the full Scottish breakfast that morning.
For the day trip to the islands from Oban, you can choose to visit Mull and Iona, or also add on a third island, Staffa. We only did the first two, but if I could do it again, I would definitely include the third (puffins!!!)
You board the Cal-Mac ferry (Caledonian-MacBrayne) and sail for about 45 minutes to the island of Mull.
Once on Mull, you board a coach that drives across the island for an hour and a half, with the bus driver narrating over a microphone the whole way.
Our bus driver was Sheila (Shaleigh? How do you spell the Scottish version of what sounded like Sheila?), and she was great. She told us a lot about the Isle of Mull, and made some good jokes, like how they’re shaving the hairy coos to make Trump wigs.
The scenery on the drive was incredible, but we were in the coach the whole time, so I couldn’t really take pictures. We had quite a few wildlife sightings, as well: herons, seals, otters, sheep, and, of course, the Highland hairy coos, which did cause a bit of a traffic jam at one point; we had to wait for them to get out of the road before the bus could continue.
Once you’re across Mull, you board another, smaller ferry for the short ride to Iona.
The two most popular choices of how to spend the couple of hours you have to explore Iona are tour the abbey or hike up to the highest point of the island for the 360-degree views.
We opted for the hike. It wasn’t easy to scramble up the muddy rocks in Hunter wellies, but I made it, and the view was stunning.
In case we’d forgotten where we were, and needed a bit more ambience to complement the view, a bagpipe struck up in the distance.
We hiked back down and walked to the far side of the island, which is a sandy beach that looks totally different from the other Scottish terrain we’d been seeing.
After all that, we didn’t have much time left before needing to hustle back to board the return ferry to Mull. We walked past the abbey, and through the ruins of the medieval nunnery.
Then we popped into a small local craft shop, where I picked up this handmade beauty:
Our bus driver back across Mull was no Sheila/Shaleigh/Sheelah?. If you’re a mumbler with a thick Scottish brogue, maybe tour guide is not the best job for ye, lad. M and I just kept looking at each other and laughing because we couldn’t understand a thing he said.
We arrived back at the port for the ferry back to Oban, but the weather was so nice right then we decided to play hooky, and watched the ferry sail off without us from the pub garden at the Craignure Inn.
Now that was a proper local pub. I think we were the only tourists. All the people there seemed to know each other, and oh, what luck! It was open mic night.
We were asked right away if we played any instruments, and adamantly shook our heads no. We actually considered heading inside, despite the sunshine, during one woman’s set. Another sang an upbeat ditty about killing her husband. If only there were talent scouts around…
As much as we enjoyed the local entertainment, we decided we had better catch the next ferry back to Oban.