We'd been to Mull before. Twice to visit Iona, I had been up Ben More a couple of times, and we had cycled down the Sound of Mull from Tobermory to Craignure on the last leg of an island-hopping holiday.
Duart Castle, Mull:
So we thought we'd seen Mull. But we we were wrong.
And of course we were! Mull is the fourth largest island in Scotland. From Fionnphort to Treshnish it's 65 miles, two and a quarter hours drive on Mull's single track roads. There's a couple of castles to visit, 27 Marilyns to climb, a galaxy of offshore islands including Iona and Staffa, one of the west coast's most picturesque villages, seacliffs, waterfalls, loch and forest walks, beautiful white sand beaches, and a whole load of wildlife.
In Mull's interior: Ben More:
We were keen to see some of this wildlife so asked Jacqui and Mike of Enjoy Mull to show us around. What a great investment that was! Without knowing where to look we would never have seen Mull's famous white-tailed eagles, despite their size. (Now the chicks have fledged, eagles spend most of their time hanging around in trees.) We watched a huge bird, up to a metre tall - imagine a bird of prey that tall standing next to you - perched on a tree, taken aback by its piercing glare.
"It seems to be staring right at us," we said.
"It has a better view of you than you do of it," replied Mike.
Our sea eagle:
There was an otter on Loch Spelve, geese and young stags at Loch Don, and herons. A lot of herons. If Mull is famous for anything, it probably should be herons.
Loch Don reflections:
And Mull is lush. There are woods all over Mull. Those on Loch na Keal and around Loch Ba are particularly entrancing.
Wooded croft at Aros:
We looked up to the hills. There are few paths on Mull, and while Ben More is popular, nobody really comes here to climb any other hills, despite this being a very hilly island. Why aren't these hills more popular? Standing on the shores of Loch na Keal with the late afternoon sun dappling their slopes, it seemed a great mystery.
Mull's neglected hills: