Originally written 18/07/2017
What’s the story in Balamory, wouldn’t you like to know? Well on Tuesday at least it involved these two landlubbers hitting the water once more for a paddle around Tobermory Bay. Capital of Mull and famed final resting place of a legendary Spanish galleon laden with gold, though we were hoping for a slightly less terminal outing.
After the long carry at Torloisk it made a nice change to be able to park right next to the slipway in Tob meaning we were on the water in no time. Behind us the colourful high street looked resplendent whilst ahead lay a bustling marina complete with at least one yacht which must have easily stretched its owner’s pockets to seven figures. Our vessels felt slightly inferior when surrounded by such craft but we had one key advantage, a very shallow draft. This meant that unlike them we could stick closely to the steep sides of the bay as we headed across to Aros, enjoying dappled shade from the overhanging trees as we went. After a period of mixed weather (to put it mildly) we were now experiencing the hottest day of our trip so far. British weather, you’ve just got to love it.
Along the way we passed several Shag nests perched on narrow ledges across the low cliffs, their occupants regarding us with suspicion until safely out of range. Here too was Sput Dubh, a delightful waterfall usually seen only from the footpath high above. Our vantage point was considerably better.
Then came Aros, an old estate whose manor house is long gone but whose ornamental gardens and landscaping live on. Part of these remnants include a pier topped with marble from Iona which, despite having seen better days, still offers some of the best views back across to Tobermory.
From here we had planned to cross over to Calve Island and claim it as our own but unfortunately the weather had different ideas. All morning a strong breeze had been developing from which we’d been sheltered up until now but our protection was at an end. The waters ahead were choppy indeed and the current even stronger. I attempted a short run out but decided it safer, with our present experience at least, to return back the way we’d come and leave the island unconquered for now. I’m sure whoever owns the house there would have been immensely relieved at the news.
The rest of the afternoon was spent engrossed in a good book as frankly it was too hot for any serious walking and I was pretty shattered even if it hadn’t been. As evening approached however a clear sky raised the prospect of a decent sunset which in our north facing valley means time to climb. Heading up our nearest hill we were accompanied by numerous Meadow Pipits and Skylarks before a startled Common Snipe very nearly caused us to jump out of our skins. Erupting from virtually under our feet it was gone in an instant, its swerving flight taking it out of sight and down into the valley where a moment before we’d witnessed a Sparrowhawk shooting through. All though were mere appetisers to the main event as we watched the sun, eventually, sink down behind Coll. I say eventually as we’d once again misjudged how long the days are up here at this time of year meaning sunset didn’t occur until well after ten. I’ve yet to brave a sunrise.
Even with the sun finally extinguished it was incredibly mild and with the weather holding we attempted another mothing session. It was not entirely successful unless you count a single fly as a good evenings work. The problem is that even gone midnight there was still light in the sky so I think we’ll knock that particular venture on the head for now pending a rethink in preparation for next year.