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The east of Mull

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Monday 21 September, the east of Mull

Along the coast of Duart Bay In the gardens of Duart castleWe are here in a beautiful spot but also a remote corner of the island. Over the ridge that dominates the south of Mull we drive to the east and it takes more than an hour before we are there at the coast. After the rains of yesterday it is fortunately dry again and before we go to castle Duart, we walk first along the beach that is covered with seaweed and look for shells. Then we continue to the castle where there is a kind of bush that we can walk through, but not really a castle garden. It is called the millenium wood, planted in 2000.
The Duart castle in the east of Mull Cannons at Duart castle, MullThe square castle sits on a rock by the sea where the Sound of Mull, Loch Linne and the Firth of Lorne meet, so an ideal place to keep an eye on the waters and to warn the island of intruders. At first there was only a thick wall (13th century) that protected a courtyard, later the rest of the castle was built around it. I regard castles as interesting historical remains (perhaps the boy in me who still wants to be a knight) but in reality the Scottish castles and their inhabitants suffered from a lot of violence.
Graveyard at Duart castle Castle Duart, MullThis castle has also been besieged a number of times and was conquered and partially destroyed. In 1911 it has been restored but it was clearly time for new restorations because the castle is being scaffolded. On the inside you can still see quite well how the layout used to be.
In the 18th century it has been the basis for government troops for a while and on a small field next to the castle are the graves of soldiers and their families from that time.
Torosay castle on the Duart bay Torosay castle on the Duart bayFrom the rock where Duart castle stands, we can also see another castle in the distance: after some searching it appears to be Torosay castle, with a large and beautiful garden that is accessible to the public (at least in 2015). In 2008, the oldest bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne was discovered here from 1893. The bottle is still closed and is now on display.
But no stories about ghosts and spirits, even not at Duart Castle, while they are usually inextricably linked to Scottish castles.
The ferry sails past Duart Castle The coast around Loch Don on MullThe strait at Duart Castle is pretty narrow, ideal for the defense of the island. Especially in the time that the Vikings or Normans wandered around here and founded their empires, this was an important strategic area.
Now the ferry sails through the strait with in the background the Lismore lighthouse on Eilean Musdile island that helps shipping in the Sound of Mull. We are now on a kind of peninsula and we drive to the south side where we reach a next big bay, Don Bay.
Lonely cottage along Loch DelveThe entire south side of the island consists of a long mountain range and the peaks are all hidden in the clouds. There are still 2 more peninsulas on the south side of the island and I drive all the roads I can find in the hope to find some interesting things to see. But we mainly see small settlements or a lonely house like here at the foot of a mountain slope. But I am fortunate that it is all very narrow roads, I always like to drive on those. Somehow you see more of the environment because you have to pay more attention, or maybe because you have to drive slower than on a wider road.
Ben Craig Lodge on Loch Uisg, Mull Ben Craig Lodge on Loch Uisg, MullIn addition to bays and sea coves, Mull also has a few large freshwater lochs and along one of them, Loch Uisg we see this nice little house, Ben Craig Lodge. The cottage is situated beautifully with views over the lake and you can rent it per week, for a minimum price of £ 1000 but it does have 5 bedrooms. We find it especially a nice-looking house, built in the Bryce baronial style, named after an architect who would have perfected the Scottish baronial style. That style is characterized by, among other things, the corner turrets with a spire that we like so much.
Monument at Lochbuie, MullWe are now close to Lochbuie and here is a stone circle that I don't want to miss(no idea how I missed one yesterday). But first we park car to walk to Moy Castle. At the parking place is a small pyramid-shaped monument to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. But that happened in London so I have no idea why there is a monument here. A hiking trail takes us along the coast to the castle.
Church at Lochbuie, Mull Moy castle at Lochbuie, MullAlong the road stands a cute church, the St. Kilda, named after ... no, there is no saint with the name Kilda known, however Celtic it sounds. There is an archipelago with that name, maybe there is a connection with that. Inside you can see an old celtic cross that was found during excavations. Castle Moy is still a little further away and is a 15th century tower house. The mystery of this castle is that there is a well which is always full of water despite of it being high above sealevel. Would the Scots have thought about rainwater? Plenty of that on the west coast of Scotland.
Lochbuie standing stones, or not Lochbuie standing stones, or notThen I see a stone circle in the meadow and park along the road. Through a marshy pasture I walk towards it and arrive with wet feet. It is a small circle with at least 2 rings and most of the stones lie flat on the ground. I am a bit disappointed and only when I look at the photos at home, I find out that this is a very different circle of stones! I missed the real Lochbuie standing stones, how is it possible! I definitely have to work on my prehistoric search skills.
View from our kitchen, Salachran Relaxing in our conservatoryThe journey through the meadow back is still wetter because it also starts to rain now. We decide to drive back home but when we are there it suddenly becomes dry again. We go to the store in the neighborhood, make some food and sit ourselves in the conservatory from where we can view the whole area.
Sunset on Mull Our itinerary, 20 September 2015The air changes every few minutes while the clouds float through the air at different speeds. And when the sun goes down we get to see a beautiful play of colors from the clouds that are illuminated from below. You can not call it a sunset because we do not get to see the sun itself.
And again we have made a map of the route of today although we also drove some dead-end roads which might not be on the map.


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