Just forty minutes from Oban by ferry, Mull is by far the most accessible of the Hebrides. As so often, first impressions largely depend on the weather – it’s the wettest of the Hebrides (and that’s saying something) – as without the sun the large tracts of moorland, particularly around the island’s highest peak, Ben More (3196ft), can appear bleak and unwelcoming. There are, however, areas of more gentle pastoral scenery around Dervaig in the north and the indented west coast varies from the sandy beaches around Calgary to the cliffs of Loch na Keal. The most common mistake is to try and “do” the island in a day or two: slogging up the main road to the picturesque capital of Tobermory, then covering the fifty-odd miles between there and Fionnphort, in order to visit Iona. Mull is a place that will grow on you only if you have the time and patience to explore.
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Mull’s chief town, TOBERMORY, at the northern tip of the island, is easily the most attractive fishing port on the west coast of Scotland, its clusters of brightly coloured houses and boats sheltering in a bay backed by a steep bluff. Apart from the beauty of the setting, the harbour’s shops are good for browsing, and you could pay a visit to the Mull Museum, on Main Street, which packs in a great deal of information as well as artefacts – including a few objects salvaged from the sixteenth-century wreck of the San Juan, a Spanish Armada ship that sank in the bay. A stiff climb up Back Brae will bring you to the island’s main arts centre, An Tobar, which hosts exhibitions and live events, and has a café with comfy sofas set before a real fire.