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Explore the spectacular Inner Hebridean Isles of Mull and Iona on foot on this drive and hike adventure. This area is home to playful marine mammals and majestic sea eagles, as well as stunning Highland scenery just begging to be explored. Walk in the footsteps of St Columba on Iona and marvel at the colourful houses of pretty Tobermory on Mull. Take a boat trip out to the majestic basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave on Staffa and discover the inspiration behind Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides Overture’.
Follow our suggested route by car and ferry with daily walks through Highland landscapes created by a ancient volcanic activity and ice age glaciers. With 3 nights on historic Iona and 4 nights in Mull we provide you with suggested walks each day.
The trip includes your return ferry crossings from Oban on the Scottish mainland to Craignure on Mull, the passenger only ferry to Iona and also a boat trip out to the famous Island of Staffa. This trip is suitable for those with use of a car as there is little public transport and many of the walks are remote. Car hire is not included but if you wish we can book as an additional option.
Your journey begins as you depart Oban on the ferry crossing to Mull. As you pass the Island of Kerrera you start to see porpoises rolling in the turbulent waters while gannets and gulls lead you on to the port of Craignure in Mull. The journey to Fionnphort for the passenger ferry to the Isle of Iona is a delight. Indeed there is a good walk just south of Craignure at Port Donain where there is a lovely beach and the chance to see red deer. Keep a look out over the moorlands for a chance to view hen harriers amidst the heather.
Leaving your car at Fionnphort harbour you will now have 3 days without the stress of driving. Following your first night in your hand picked accommodation you will be ready to enjoy the delights of this most attractive little Island.
Today you are free to explore the tiny and spectacular Isle of Iona. The main site of historical importance is the 13th Century Abbey built on the site of St Columba's 6th Century monastery. The site is visited by modern day pilgrims and it is worthwhile spending time here to enjoy the peace and tranquillity. Wildlife to be seen includes wading birds such as curlew as they rise with their calls from the beaches and moors.
You could also walk up to the peak of Dun I, the highest point of Iona at 101 metres. The main wildlife draw is the corncrake, one of the rarest breeding birds in Britain. Even if you do not view the bird you may be lucky to hear it’s distinctive 'crex' call that sounds like a finger being drawn along a comb.
Your adventure includes a trip out to the Isle of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. The Isle is steeped in myth and legend and weather permitting you will have up to 1 hour ashore to enjoy the location that inspired Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebrides’ overture. Sea life abounds with a chance to spot seals, puffins and maybe the fin of a passing basking shark.
Following breakfast you are ready to travel back across to Mull to continue to Tobermory for your next 4 nights accommodation. En route there are many opportunities to stop off and explore the many walks on offer. Enjoy the views of Ben More, the highest mountain in Mull at over 3000 feet, giving it a famed ‘munro’ status. Golden eagles are a feature of these uplands and a site to behold as they soar along the ridges.
There are many opportunities to walk in the immediate area around Tobermory itself. The town is also a base for whale watching and in the summer season it is possible to take a boat trip out to search for marine mammals. We suggest the following walks:
Just south east of Tobermory Aros Park has gardens of rhododendrons, woodlands of beech, hazel and oak surrounding a lochan filled with lilies. A walk through the Victorian estate allows you to view a lovely waterfall and a chance to see woodland bird species and the occasional mink.
Around Ardmore Bay you have a good chance to see Britain’s largest bird of prey, the white tailed sea eagle. It is hard to miss these 'flying barn doors' as they search the shore for food.
Spectacular coastal scenery is the theme a walk on the west coast and Treshnish Headland, with sculpted sea stacks, caves and arches eroded by the pounding sea. Views out the west reveal the exposed Treshnish Isles strung out in a line. At any high coastal point it is always worth scanning the sea for whales, dolphins and porpoises as they blow, leap and roll through the food rich waters.
Following breakfast you are ready to travel to Craignure for the ferry back to Oban where the trip finishes and you bid farewell to the Inner Hebrides.
We specifically choose the guesthouses to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.
This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers. If you require single rooms in your party we will of course try to accommodate your request, subject to availability and at a supplement.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively your info pack includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your info pack will of course have details.
This holiday is available to solo travellers, although a single supplement is payable. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable.
Most of the route and walks are not way marked so you should be able to read a map and follow route descriptions closely. We supply a guidebook with detailed maps so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way
This trip is graded Moderate. The trails follows footpaths, bridleways, coastal trails, open fields and some minor roads. The walks may involve some relatively steep ascent and descents and days of up to 10 miles walking.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/ descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Your trip includes return ferry crossings from Oban on the mainland to Mull and return crossings from Mull to Iona. Times may be viewed on the Calmac ferry website http://www.calmac.co.uk/
Getting to Oban:
GLASGOW AIRPORT: Is the closest airport with 30 airlines serving about 90 destinations worldwide. For information on airlines and transport to and from the airport please visit http://www.glasgowairport.com/
CAR: Easily accessible via the A82 following the West Side of Loch Lomond and then the A85 at Tyndrum (2.5 hrs). If you travelling from London the most direct route is via the M1/M6 to Scotland from where the M74 will take you toward Glasgow and the route North.
RAIL: From Glasgow you can catch the train to Oban (3hrs) on the world famous West Highland Line.
BUS: From Glasgow you can take the Scottish Citylink bus to Oban (3hrs) http://www.citylink.co.uk/
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us or perhaps visit our walking forum for more advice from our clients and team.
As you are will be walking on varied terrain and for up to 10 miles per day a moderate level of fitness is required.
Yes, the walks are not waymarked and pass through areas with vague paths you will need to be competent with a map and compass.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Mull and Iona can become popular over the summer months. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need good walking boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. You can download a full equipment list from our website here:
Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better and the midges have not yet appeared. Although having walked the Islands in the summer I believe any time between March and October offers a wonderful experience.
Midges are small biting insects (much like north American gnats or blackfly) which are prevalent in the summer months. They are particularly bad on still, overcast days but do not bother you if you are moving, the wind is blowing, sun is shining, it’s raining, or you are inside so as long as you carry repellent for the odd occasion you may need it they shouldn’t have any impact on your experience.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets and several sections of the Islands are closed to dogs due to breeding birds.
As you will have your car with you (or we can offer a rental car at a supplement) you are free to stop as often as you wish en route or skip a walk and spend time sightseeing instead.
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Comments about macs adventure Walking & Wildlife on Mull and Iona:
Cara was so helpful when we were let down by the car hire company finding extra accommodation and urging company for a replacement. Above and beyond the usual travel company service. Full marks to her.