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Islay, Jura and Mull

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After wibbling on in a "things I did on my holiday" manner for the last fortnight I suppose I should try to draw some conclusion so here goes.

  • Although Islay and Mull are a similar size and population they're very different. In terms of the feel of the place I think it's down to the ferries: on Islay there's not that many and they take a couple of hours. On Mull there's three different routes and they're short hops so people come for day trips. Coach parties descend on Mull for the day - you really can't do that on Islay. I think it makes Islay a more interesting and friendly place myself.
  • Having said that Mull scores on scenery. Islay is not that hilly for Scotland and seems to have a lot more cattle than sheep (which can be a problem if you're walking with a dog, as we were). Mull has lots of decent hills included a Corbett and a Munro.
  • One of the quirks on Islay is that every driver waves to every other driver as they pass. It's a very friendly thing.
  • The camp site at Port Mòr on Islay is super. Nice people and excellent facilities. I strongly recommend it if you go there.
  • The other camp site on Islay, at Kintra Farm, came with some rather negative reviews and several people we met at Port Mòr were singularly unimpressed. Perhaps the competition from Port Mòr might make them clean up their act.
  • The midge problem in Scotland seems to be getting worse. For the second year going in late May hasn't avoided the midges as it used to. None of the chemicals seem to work except DEET and derivatives thereof and they rot your clothes. Thank goodness we both had head nets this time but it's now got to the point where we've decided to give up camping in Scotland and look at buying a caravan or motor home1.
  • We were impressed with our new Khyam "Quick Erect" Freelander tent - you really can put it up and take it down very quickly.
  • Good places to eat: on Islay we only used Port Mòr, on Mull the pub opposite the ferry on Craignure does good breakfasts and there's nothing wrong with their suppers either, and we also liked the seafood restaurant Café Fish above the ferry terminal at Tobermory and also the fish and chip van on Fishermans Pier.
  • The owner of the café Port Mòr looks a lot like a young Mel Gibson ... but we didn't tell him that as if Beth did she would seem be flirting and if I did ... then I might too!
  1. Yes, yes, I know, but we're getting old. I want a decent night's sleep. I want to not have to crawl in and out of a tent. I want to be able to cook out of the wind. And not in a cloud of midges either.

Tags: Islay, Mull Written 01/06/08

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