Day 3: Iona
Iona Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
March 30th, 2007 – by: alison_wndrlnd
It was a gorgeous sunny, clear morning though, and the air was crisp, and the wind was less intense, so we had a lovely stroll across the island heading towards town after checking out of the hostel.
As we were walking, we came across the gate and footpath to Dun I, Iona's highest point. We'd seen the path the day before and sort of considered walking up to it, but I think at the time we decided that we were both far too out of shape to be hiking hills. For some reason though, less than a day later, we suddenly felt energized and ambitious.
Ultimately, Dun I turned out to be a 120-meter-high pile of mud and sheep poo, and on the way back down it I took one wrong step and ended up stuck knee-high in mud. Seriously, it nearly suctioned my shoe off my foot too. :/ But when we did get to the top, the views out over the island were just breathtaking. Absolutely gorgeous. A local sheep-dog had also followed us up the mountain, and just as we were sitting down to take it all in he came bolting up over the side of the cliff and started jumping all over us with his muddy paws. He was sitting in my lap at one point.
Once we got back down from Dun I, I did my best to wipe off my leg and look presentable, and we continued our path into town to find some breakfast goods.
After grubbing up properly, we backtracked our way to the middle of the island and went into Iona Abbey. It was really beautiful and incredible, but I don't want to bore you with all the details of the history of it and whatnot. There's a few pics which should give you some idea of what it's like though. Amazingly well-preserved too. And the most amazing thing about the whole site was the complete lack of security....they literally just leave you to it to explore every nook and cranny on your own. You can even wander into this one room which is just filled with all these 8th century high crosses and ancient relics, and all they do is put a sign on the wall that says 'please don't do rubbings of the crosses'.
Not that we were complaining or anything....
After properly perusing the Abbey and it's gift shop, we walked back to town and hit up the Spar for some snacks and drinks to last us (what we thought was) our 2.5 hour trip back to Oban. Then it was a quick stop at the Post Office, which was quite literally this tiny 4'x4' shack...the 'postmaster' (???) was just sitting outside staring at the wall when we walked up. Took her a minute to realize we actually wanted to come in and purchase stamps and like.
Right, so once we got into Fionnphort, we realized our only error of the whole trip. Of all the whacky transport and connections we'd been having to make, the ONE thing we didn't check was the coach times from Fionnphort back to Craignure on Mull. :/ And of course, we had just missed the last one by a half-hour....which meant that we now had to wait for the next one....which was due to arrive in 3 HOURS!
Ok, let me describe Fionnphort to you: There's a ferry dock, and there's a Ferry Ticket Office, which also sells tea and sandwhiches, and there's a toilet that you can pay 20p to use.
So after buying a tea, taking photos of the sheep, and using the toilets, we had pretty much exhausted the options of the town, so we both settled down at a table with our school work and did research until 3.25pm.
When the coach did arrive, we boarded along with 5 other people, and the ride was equally as naseous as the first time. I had to force myself to sleep just to keep from throwing-up during most of it.
Got to Craignure just as the ferry back to Oban was boarding, so we jumped in the queue, got on the ship, and found a table by a window to relax at. Spent this trip indoors for a change, and it was fairly uneventful on the whole.
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