Bogged Down!

Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Monday, May 12, 2008

Joan and Ian told us at dinner last night that the Isle of Mull actually has volcanic origins, which is something we were unaware of and they pointed us in the direction of a walk which climbs up to the top of an extinct volcano where there is a small lake in the crater. Ian said just to head in the direction of Tobermory and eventually we'd come to a loch with a ruined house next to it, we should park in the quarry near the house and walk up the path beside the house and we'd find it. 
Caroline seems to have gotten over having no reception on her phone this morning and a smile has returned. We were armed and ready with the travel sick tablets, so Caroline took some and we set off. This island is very scarcely populated, there are more sheep than anything else and they don't seem to care much about cars, they wander around in the road and are quite content to just let you follow them at about 1 mile per hour until they decide they are good and ready to get out of the way. We stopped several times along the way so that I could take photographs - vast rolling valleys, lochs and woods for as far as the eye can see.
The walk, as promised, was easily found and we started up towards the crater. The way was extremely wet and boggy and Caroline seemed to find the wettest, boggiest parts everywhere she went - it didn't deter her though, she was energised and totally bowled over by her surroundings - she almost sprinted along to the top - way ahead of us, we saw her at the top, her arms in the air screaming "it's beautiful". The view from the top was extremely picturesque, and afforded us a 360 degree panorama for miles around - out to the sea in one direction and across forests and countryside in another.

We sat admiring the crater and as we did so, there was a curious bleeping noise, bleep, bleep bleep, bleep, which turned out to be a whole string of text messages coming through on Carolines phone - she'd got reception at last and so she started ringing all her friends and telling them how beautiful it all was. Just hearing her so enthusiastic made me smile, but at the same time I wanted to enjoy the beauty of this place, so I wandered off to enjoy the peace.  I watched John and Caroline from a distance, sharing the water, talking, taking photographs of each other, it's been a long time since they got to spend any amount of time together, an afternoon or a day - sure, but this is only the second time Cal has been away for a week with us - and they are in high spirits.
Eventually we decided it was time to wander back and go in search of a late lunch. The way down was much the same as the way up - boggy and wet and Caroline managed to put her foot into a bog hole, sink and pull it out - minus her trainer, she managed to find it fortunately, but she said she didn't want to play anymore. Alas she had no sympathy from John or me though cause we were too busy rolling around laughing at her - she took it all in good fun.  When we got down we found a stream where she could wash her feet, legs and trainers.
The sun was shining brightly in the sky and we got back in the car to make our way over to Tobermory, which is the main village on the island. Tobermory is a picture-postcard fishing village on the north east tip of the island. Along the front are clusters of brightly painted houses, shops and eateries, wooded hillsides flank the bay and the harbour is bobbing with various boats and vessels. Rumour has it that a wreck of a Spanish galleon lies somewhere in the mud at the bottom of the bay, part of the defeated Armada of 1588 - it was supposed to be carrying millions of gold coins, but noone has ever found the treasure.
John had decided long before we actually got there that it was the seaside and therefore it would be rude not to have fish and chips - so we parked up and made our way to the only place open on a Sunday that looked likely to serve this - it was a converted church!! It was baking hot by now so we sat outside in the sunshine enjoying our lunch which scored very highly on the fish and chip-omiter. Afterwards we spent a while walking along and generally looking round the village. 
When we pulled up back at the cottage, Joan was about to take Connor and Eachann (the dogs) down to the local beach - Calgary Bay - for a walk and she asked if we wanted to go with her. Caroline didn't want to come, so we gave her the key to the cottage and we jumped into Joans car with the dogs. A couple of minutes down the road and we arrived at a beautiful beach, pale white sands and clear turquoise water - we strolled along the beach throwing the Frisbee for the dogs and chatting to Joan about the island. This beach is in easy walking distance of the cottage and I've seen some headland that I want to walk out on and around to see what's waiting round the corner - without a doubt, we'll be back here before the week is out.
For a long time I've been wanting to see puffins and as soon as we decided we would be coming to Mull a few searches on the internet informed me that there are some small uninhabited islands off the coast of Mull where puffins go to nest - I mentioned it to Ian and he informed me that he had a neighbour (the chap about 3 miles away) who has a boat and takes people out to see them - I rang him this morning, we're in luck, it's the right time of year for them and all being well weather wise, tomorrow we'll be going out to Staffa and Lunga and  I'll finally get to see puffins.
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