Day 2: Glasgow - Isle of Mull

Isle of Mull Travel Blog

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View from the ferry ride between Oban and Mull.
The next morning we were up early again.  We said goodbye to our TV, and bible, and lipstick, and went downstairs to enjoy what was supposedly some 'world famous Scottish breakfast' that the B&B was known for.  :/  We basically had yogurt and croissants, so who knows.

Then the 'nice' lady at reception called a cab for us, and we headed off to Queen Street Station to catch a train for the next leg of our trip.  Our cabbie was super funny though....asked us where we were off to, and when we told him Iona he was all like 'why the f*** would you want to go there!?'  He also basically asked about our entire life history in the 5 minute ride into town...where we live, how we know each other, what we do, whether we take our tea with one sugar or was intense.
Duart Castle, seen on the ferry ride between Oban and Mull.
  But he only cost us a fiver in the end, so it was all worth it not to have to traverse mountainous Glasgow in the morning rain.

Our train heading for Oban left around 8.30.  It was a whopping 2-car-long train, and there were maybe about 5 people in our whole cabin.  Which was nice, because we were able to grab a table seat and each managed to get some school work done on the ride.  Amazingly enough, the single most annoying man in the world managed to not only find his way onto our 5-person, 2-car train, but he also managed to sit in the seat directly across from us....Where he proceeded to listen to nothing but thumping techno-beats at maximum volume on his iPod for the next 3 hours.
Lighthouse seen on the ferry ride between Oban and Mull
  In an even greater stroke of luck for us, the 2nd most annoying man in the world was sitting in the seat directly behind us, and in an attempt to drown out pumping-techno-beats-man, he turned up the angry devil rock on his iPod to maximum volume, and listened to that for the next 3 hours.

But aside from the most annoying man in the world, the 2nd most annoying man in the world, and the 45-minute delay that the train managed to acquire en route, the ride up through the Highlands was quite amazing.  The scenery was just spectacular, and I had to keep pulling myself away from my textbooks to ogle the snowy mountains and giant, pristine lochs, and the baby sheepies, and yeah...

The train finally arrived in Oban at 12.00, which is literally when the Oban-Mull ferry was set to leave the harbour.
J-Crew shot. Heh.
  Luckily, we were out in the country where people are actually nice and considerate, so the ferry had waited for the train to arrive before they left.  :]  Also by luck, the Oban train station is literally next to the ferry dock.  So we crossed over the tracks, quickly bought our tickets, and bolted for the ferry doors, which quite literally closed right behind us as the ship pulled out.

The ferry itself was massive.  It was a vehicle transport ferry, so it had something crazy like 4 levels for passengers, a restaurant, a wine/coffee bar, an arcade, a 6-stall restroom, etc.  Being that it was freezing outside, everyone was hudled up on the indoor couches watching out the windows.  Naturally, Jena and I took this as our cue to escape humanity, and we went straight for the top outdoor deck of the ship, which was completely deserted.
Haha. This is when our coach driver taking us across Mull just decided to stop the bus in the middle of the one-lane road and hop out for a chat with the stockboy at the local Spar.
  It was amazing to have that much space to yourself, with the cool air just whipping all around you, and the scent of the ocean.

The ferry ride was an hour across from the mainland to the Isle of Mull, and we definitely enjoyed every second of it.  Even though I was begging for a warm coffee by the end of it, Jena insisted that we stay put and let our fingers go numb from cold.  I appreciated her fortitude in the end though, because the scenery surrounding us was just unbelievable.  It reminded me a lot of Connemara in Ireland, except surrounded by water.  And there were all these deliciously adorable ruined castles and lighthouses every so often.  It was just amazing.

The ferry docked in Craignure, Mull, and from there we jumped on the local bus (which also held up and waited for the ferry to come in) to take us across the island to Fionnphort.
  Here's who was on the bus with us: 3 old women, 1 old man, me & Jena.  :]  (I love travelling to obscure places in the off-season)  All four of them actually lived on Mull too, so we were officially the only tourists.  Hee.  That's kinda cool.

Mull is this amazingly mountainous island with nothing but a single-lane road running clear across it.  It is populated by nothing but a smattering of old people, sheep, and hairy coo's.  And the hour that it took to drive across it was the bumpiest, most spastic, most nauseauting coach ride of my life.

The best part of the coach ride though was clearly when the driver stopped to let one of the women off in this tiny village in the middle of the island somewhere, and just decided to hop off himself and have a little chat with the stock boy at the local Spar while the bus was left running in the middle of the single-lane road. 

When Chatty MacChatterson (Oooh, great Scottish name there!) finally got back behind the wheel, we were only a couple more minutes to Fionnphort....where we promptly hurried on to another ferry which was to take us across to Iona.  Luckily this one was only a 15 minute ride, and a much smaller boat.  Naturally, we still sat on the top deck in the wind (and I wonder why my face is so chaffed and red now)

Documama says:
Bless you for giving me a picture of a hairy coo because I never would have figured that one out by myself! Also, since I plan to go to Iona from Glasgow, the times for the ferry, buses, and trains are really helpful. :)

Posted on: Mar 30, 2008
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View from the ferry ride between O…
View from the ferry ride between …
Duart Castle, seen on the ferry ri…
Duart Castle, seen on the ferry r…
Lighthouse seen on the ferry ride …
Lighthouse seen on the ferry ride…
J-Crew shot.  Heh.
J-Crew shot. Heh.
Haha.  This is when our coach driv…
Haha. This is when our coach dri…
Isle of Mull
photo by: clairerich81