MULL and IONA’s BEST BEACHES

Not the sun bathing variety but just beautiful stretches of white sand, often deserted and  which appeal to those who love a good stroll on a pristine beach, in a stunning setting.Mull has many of these (unlike Skye) and we seem to discover new ones every visit.Having an OS map(s) of Mull is a good help for some of these.There are more beaches on Mull we have yet to explore, but these are my favourites so far.

KNOCKVOLOGAN (15 min walk to start of beaches)

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This is in the Ross of Mull, that long southern finger of land that juts out all the way to Iona. A 10 minute single track drive from Fionnphort will bring you to the end of the road at an (untidy) farm with enough space – just – for a few cars.This is also the parking for the signposted rough and much longer walk to another beach, Traigh Gheal, much more of an undertaking.

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Go through the farm gate and then another until you arrive at the main farm house itself with some outbuildings. Follow the wide obvious stony track downhill for 5 minutes – it can be slippery – until you reach the start of the beach itself.

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The finest section – the third beach –  is another 5-10 mins further on, so take the left hand grassy sheep track which winds its way over low hummocky ground and which reveals other small bays until the main ‘tombola’ beach is arrived at.

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On a sunny day, this is the most perfect spot.There are no wide ranging views as such, just the beautiful , pink granite rocks which dot the emerald green hillocks and which so characterise this part of Mull. I LOVE those rocks – the colours! On our last trip, we were the subject of curious Grey Atlantic seals also.

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KILVICKEON ( 10 min walk)

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The drawback of this glorious stretch of white sand in the Ross?  A bone-shakingly rough road to Scoor which is manageable by any car but isn’t the most pleasant 15 mins you will spend driving.It has improved slightly but still isn’t the best. If you have a high clearance vehicle you won’t notice a thing.Plenty parking at the end and a signpost with a map showing the way.

It’s a 10 minute walk downhill along a wide farm track past sheep dotted pastures, to this lovely spot.

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There is a semi-tidal island which can be clambered up and fine views to Jura all around.Sea eagles are in the area too.

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TRAIGH NA MARGAIDH (30 mins sometimes soggy walking on mostly trackless ground)

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It’s best to have a map for this beach in the Ross of Mull. Park at the sign for Camus (near Bunessan). About ten minutes along the good track head off left towards a low hill and skirt this on the right, finding the best ground for walking and then keep in the general direction of the beach.You will pick up the odd sheep track especially just above the beach itself.It’s a mostly flattish walk.We also walked to this beach taking the main track to Camus and then heading left along another track but it was not better than basically finding your own way as described; it was incredibly boggy and overgrown and our own way back was much better.

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I was stunned when we found this creamy, pristine spot early this summer.Turquoise water, pink granite dotted – hillocky ground and even another beach to explore further round the headland.Most likely, you will have it all to yourself as it takes a bit of work to get here! Reward awaits!

 

ARDALANISH (10 min walk)

Follow the Uisken road then the signs for Ardalanish Weavers.Easy parking then a 10 minute walk down a good track to this long beach with, on a clear day, stunning views to the Paps of Jura (I love that view.) It’s quite hard, flattish sand, almost worn away and I think it is at its nicest at the far left hand end where some rocks decorate the shore a bit and you can find hidden spots.Best at lowish tide.

Ardalanish Beach and Jura

LANGAMULL(40 min walk)

Good parking at the Forestry car park beyond Calgary beach on the Dervaig road. A 40 minute walk will take you on a decent track to this series of white sand coves with turquoise water.Plenty coastline to explore too round to Port Ban and more white sands.We wild camped here one year and saw an otter in the evening and also watched 4 Orcas  – way, way out – moving slowly towards the Sound of Mull (it was flat calm so anything breaking the surface could be seen miles away.) Lovely area.

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CALGARY BAY

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This famous spot on North Mull gets very busy in summer and you won’t be alone but it’s worth a stroll along its white sands.We’ve seen Golden Eagles several times above the beach , cruising the thermals above the hills.It’s also well worth walking out to Calgary Point , a rough track to which starts at the car park at the north end of the bay. A bit muddy in places, as usual, but it gives some fine views back over the bay and the general landscape as well as increasingly impressive views out to the ocean and the ethereal Treshnish Isles.Watched a Sea Eagle out here too, very close up. Otter country also (as most of Mull is).

NORTH END, IONA (25 min walk)

 

Glorious. No other word for it if you get a blue sky day to see this beautiful landscape at its best.The white sands aren’t huge but it’s the overall setting – the wildflower strewn machair and dunes of the approach, the mesmerising view over to The Wilderness headland on Mull.

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The emerald and turquoise sea and the Treshnish Isles off shore.To me, this area is more like the Outer Hebrides, with its machair grasslands and for me, anywhere that looks like the Outer Isles always hits a spot.

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Treshnish Isles
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From the ferry, North End is around a 25 min easy walk along the road, past croft land and houses with lovely gardens and of course, the Abbey itself.In early summer, listen for the krek-krek call of the Corncrake, a very rare bird which still nests here.

It’s difficult to believe how busy things are around the village when you wander these pristine sands.There are several beaches to explore and usually very few people on them.Perfect place for a picnic on a lovely day.North End was a favourite painting spot of the Scottish Colourists – Peploe, Cadell and Hunter – who captured the colour and light of this corner of Scotland so beautifully.Not much has changed in the scenes they painted even today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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