Day 2: Iona

Iona Travel Blog

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View from Iona looking back at Isle of Mull.
Ok, here's the rundown on Iona: It's an island that is approximately 1 mile x 3 miles wide.  It has a population of 125, and is like a hardcore Christian community.  Or something.  Iona is a religious island because it is where Saint Columba came to from Ireland back in the day (Wednesday, 563 A.D.), and from where he began to spread Christianity to Scotland.  Jena will probably dispute this next bit, but parts of the Book of Kells are also thought to have originated from Iona.  Anyway, it's a pretty famous place in the nerdy history world.

But anyway, there's quite literally nothing on the island save for people's homes, the Abbey, a crumbling nunnery, and billions of sheep.  There is a single road which runs clear across the island width-wise, and luckily for us, our hostel was located at the very, very, very, very end of said road.
  (Literally, the directions to the place were 'Walk down the road.  We are the last house on the left'.)

Somehow we managed to miss this ONLY road, however, and proceeded down some extended driveway, on which apparently are the homes for everyone on Iona who doesn't own a sheep.  But once we did get back on track, it wasn't bad.  It was about a 25 minute walk from the ferry dock to the hostel over the cutest country farm-land/seaside/hills ever.  Oh, and just so you can prepare yourself for the rest of this entry, there were lots and lots and lots and lots of adorable, scrumptious, cuddly, smunchy, baby sheepies everywhere!!  *makes girly noise*

For our accomodation, we were staying in this adorable little farm house which was just run by this one family.
North Shore of Iona
  We had to walk down the path to their home to get to it, through their giant farm gates, and then we had to follow this muddy hill around the house to the back, where we found this cute little green house that sat overlooking the ocean and was surrounded by rolling green fields and black sheepies grazing underneath every bedroom window.  

As we were walking up to the place, John, the owner, saw us from over by the barn and told us to just go on in and make ourselves a cup of tea, and that he'd be there in a mo'.  So we did.  And it was cute.  You can't even wear your shoes in the house or anything, so we left them in the foyer.  John apparently forgot about us though, so we put our shoes back on, went out to explore, and decided to just come back a bit later.

That's when we saw a gate that opened up on to some more farmland, and a sign pointing towards the North Shore.  So we followed it and spent the next hour playing on the beach.  :]  Apparently seals are just supposed to like hang out there or something, but we didn't see any.

Right, so THEN...we're walking back from the beach to go check into the hostel, and we decided to stop for a bit to enjoy one of Scotland's many benches.  So we're sat there sheep-watching and it's cute and kinda silly, and THEN, out of nowehere, this one bitch of a sheep from across the field looks up at us with this glare of death.  We both noticed her too, because she just got very still and stopped chewing and was just staring at us for a really long time!  And just when it was starting to become creepy and I was suggesting we leave, the sheep just BOLTED and started running right at us with her evil eyes looking all wild and.
Baby Sheepies!
..erm ...evil!  and her nostrils flaring!  And I most definitely freaked out so much that I was practically crawling into Jena's lap.

And then, just as suddenly, she just stopped right in front of us.  And continued to be eerily still and just stare at us....and holy hell was it disconcerting.  Seriously, this sheep was frontin' like it was nobody's bizness.  That lasted for several minutes, mostly because we were too scared to move and potentially set her off on a rampage again.  Even when the sheep did finally relent and start to walk away, she kept turning back around and glaring at us out of the corner of her eye.

I still don't know what to make of anything that happened then, but it will most definitely give me nightmares for months to come.
On the completely pitch-black walk back to our hostel after a night out at Iona's only pub.

So it was back to the hostel, where we took of our shoes and waited for someone to come check us in...again.  Eventually a very nice girl named Eve came and got us and showed us our room and around the house.  Our room was wee, but it was toasty and warm, so we plopped our stuff down and set about reading the bizarre poetry that was stapled to our bedroom walls, the most intriguing of which was a poem about an otter being '90% water, 10% God'.

That scared us a little bit, so we went and got our shoes and left the hostel for a walk into town to find some dinner.

Unfortunately, as it was after 4.00, the Spar (the only store on the entire island) was closed.  So it was most definitely to be a sit down meal for us.  We had a choice between the island's two dining establishments.  BUT as one didn't open until 7.00 and the other opened at 6.00, we chose the 6.00 one.  BUT, as it was only 5.00 at the time, we sat on a bench to boat-watch and wait it out.  We also took sketchy CIA photos of people in boats far out in the Sound.  

At 6.00pm on the dot, we hopped up and walked on over to the Martyr's Bay Restaurant/Cafe/Diner/Pub/Bar/Lounge/Discoteque.  Really the place is only one building, but it's somewhat multi-purpose.  It was kinda sad for us to realize that even though they didn't serve food until 6.00pm, the pub had been serving booze the entire time we'd been freezing our butts off out on the bench of boat-watching.  :(  But as it was indeed now 6.00pm, we grabbed menus, plonked down on the bench in front of a giant bay window, and proceeded to order everything we possibly could (clearly we had not eaten anything since our yogurt at breakfast).  And after we ate, we drank.  And after we drank, we had nightcaps.  Clearly we just could not find the energy to leave the warmth of the Restaurant/Cafe/Diner/Pub/Bar/Lounge/Discoteque (which was serving as a Pub at the moment), and so our tab suffered for it.  Plus, the pub was probably the most happening, lively place on all of Iona. (And trust me, that's saying something.)

After that funnery, it was a half-hour walk back to the hostel across the pitch-black, un-lit island.  Walking through the muddy field behind the house and through the sheep to our hostel was probably the most frightening bit of said journey, but we made it alive, removed ourselves from our shoes, and proceeded to have bed-sack wars until we passed out from exhaustion.
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View from Iona looking back at Isl…
View from Iona looking back at Is…
North Shore of Iona
North Shore of Iona
Baby Sheepies!
Baby Sheepies!
On the completely pitch-black walk…
On the completely pitch-black wal…
Iona Hostels review
This is probably the only hostel on Iona, and probably the least expensive place to stay on the island. It's great as far as hostels go though. It's… read entire review
photo by: WorldXplorer