More than one steam train!
Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
129Trip End Ongoing
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Many visitors it seems come to the Isle of Mull just for a day and many of them head straight for Iona - yes, Iona is definitely worth a visit, but I really do think that it would be impossible to capture the entirety of Mull in such a short time. If, like me, the journey mostly IS the destination and you do only have a short time on Mull, then the jaunt we did yesterday is definitely the one to do. Get yourself across to Calgary Bay and take the coastal road down the west side of the island, out to Iona, and back across the Ross of Mull - it's an extremely inspiring day and you won't regret it!!
Today we head back down the south of the island - there is a narrow gauge steam train that runs a mile or two along the coast to Torosay castle and ever since I told John about it he's been wanting to go. We made our way down through inland villages, stopping at various places such as Dervaig and Salen to take photos and have a general nosey around. We got some more money while we were passing and petrol - you have to think of these things on this island and take the opportunity when you're nearby with there being so few facilities. It's great though, we all love it here.
There is an Inn near the railway station and by the time we got there it was lunchtime, so we had lunch before making our way over to the train. A train was just pulling out of the station as we got there and there wasn't another one for an hour, so we decided to take a footpath that disappeared into the woods towards the castle and walked there. It wasn't long before we were at the entrance to the castle - it was £6 per person to get in and to be honest, it's the first time I've felt completely ripped off for a long time, there were a handful of rooms to look round and not much else - we had bargained on it taking us much longer and the next train back wasn't for another 40 minutes - so there was nothing for it but to partake in tea and cake John said!!! So we did and afterwards made our way down through the grounds to the station. We boarded the very small steam train about five minutes later, which took us back through the countryside to Craignure. We got some excellent views on the way back and John was happy at getting his train ride!!
Back to the car and we've now driven along all but 5 of the roads on the island, each being dead end roads and one of which culminates at Lochbuie So we take that road which concludes in a rough parking area overlooking a stony beach at the head of the loch. Time for photos and to have a stroll around for a while.
There are lots of waterfalls on the island, the biggest being Eas Fors. We've tried to get there a couple of times earlier in the week and each time been headed off by the men resurfacing the roads. We figured that with it being around 6pm, we might get lucky that they'd left for the day - our plan finally comes to fruition and we're able to cut down the necessary road to walk to the falls - which are indeed worth the wait, they run through a long stretch of the river dropping at various intervals in small, medium and large waterfalls and come to a crescendo at the end where it spouts out over the cliff top and down to the beach below. It looks awesome from the top, but there is no way of getting down the cliff to see the last fall properly. We spend ages at the waterfalls, clambering around the rocks and in trees taking photos and valuing the tranquillity of the place. Eventually we decide that we definitely want to see the fall from the rocky beach down below, so we go back to the car and drive along the road until we see a path which we think will take us down there - its quite a way along the road from the falls and its getting late by now, so we promise Caroline that no matter what time we get back tomorrow we will go back and walk down this path and along the beach until we find it. Tomorrow another one of Ian's neighbours (lives a good 3-4 miles away) who runs a wildlife operation is going to take us out in the hope of seeing eagles and otters, amongst other things - we've got to be at their farm around 9.30 in the morning and they said we will be back between 5 and 7 in the evening.
Caroline has completely astounded me this evening - we return to the cottage and there is a huge hill behind where we are staying - we're thinking of dinner and reading our books and she says "I'm going up the top of there to take a picture of the cottage". Now for someone who said they don't like being alone, who is VERY hard to remove from the front of the TV normally and thinks it's a long way to walk for a bus (about 400 metres) at home - you can forgive me that I thought she was joking!! "I'm off now" she shouts as she leaves the front door and off she goes, like a flippin steam train climbing to the top - she stops halfway and we thought she might change her mind and come back down, but no - she's off again speeding her way to the top - she was unbelievably fast and nothing was stopping her. We watched as she traipsed through fields and bogs, climbed over fences, scrambled up rocks until eventually we could see her silhouette, a tiny dot, way in the distance waving her arms above her head, completely remarkable, so remarkable for her to do it that it chokes me as we see her way up there against the skyline. John looks on in amazement too, "I didn't think she was really gonna do it he says", there was nothing to say - I didn't either.
Caroline has also decided that tomorrow when we go back to Eas Fors she is going to take a change of clothes and stand underneath the waterfall on the beach - we've told her that it will be absolutely icy freezing, but she's determined and watching her tonight, I'll actually be very much surprised if she DOESN'T try to do it.