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The Isle of Mull – 26th to 29th May 2017

The idea for a meet on the Isle of Mull came from Transpennine member Ian who, with his partner Roger moved from West Yorkshire to the village of Dervaig on Mull about two years ago.  With the date over the late May English bank fixed and the meet coordinated through the Transpennine, Adventure Out and Scottish groups, Ian booked the small bunkhouse in Dervaig, which is part of the village hall.

Mull is usually reached by Ferry from Oban, which has reasonable rail links to the south; most of us arrived on the Friday afternoon in the middle of the heatwave that the UK enjoyed (or endured) towards the end of May.  A couple of us took a short drive to Calgary beach for a quick dip to briefly escape the heat (the sea was very cold so the emphasis was on ‘quick’).

With the forecast threatening thunder storms for Saturday, some of opted for a walk to Quinish point, a short walk from the village without needing to get back into a car, while others (who had 'done' Quinish Point the day before) took a coastal walk around Treshnish Point.  This walk visited The Whiskey Cave, a dry sea cave concealed by a grassy mound from the excise men who normally travelled by sea.  The foundations of the still used to produce illicit sprits is still visible within the cave.  The walk also passed the haunting ruins of Crackaig, an abandoned village not from the clearances but was apparently a victim of a typhoid outbreak.

On the Quinish point walk, we observed a large colony of grey seals basking on the rocks uncovered by the low tide; we had a coffee break by a solitary standing stone on a grassy shelf above the sea cliffs.  A second stone there was lying down; clearly standing up for ~3000 years was a bit of an effort.

We got back in time for a wonderful meal at Ian and Roger’s house with wonderful extensive views over the island from their large living room window.

Mull is dominated by Ben More, at over 3000 ft is the only munro on the island.  The task of climbing this was made difficult for us by bridge repairs that imposed a lengthy diversion using single track roads that made the drive there more challenging than the climb.  We walked the hill by the tourist route from the shores of Lock Na Keal, this route climbs the mountain easily by quite gradual slopes (for a munro) to the remains of the trig point and a shelter cairn on the summit.  The mist was firmly clamped on the summit so our views were limited.  We took a couple of compass bearings off the hill to make a circular walk by the less-travelled and pathless south ridge, but this way we had the mountain to ourselves.  Summer alpine flowers were abundant on the grassy slopes lower down.

Monday was the day of departure for most of us but some of us had time for some short walks around Tobermory before we had to head for our ferry.  Thanks must be given to Ian and Roger for their hospitality and booking the comfortable bunkhouse for a memorable long weekend.

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