Like the view from the summit of a 14er or the finish line of your first trail race, the best rewards are those that took some effort. Such was my recent trip to the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebrides. After picking up a car in Edinburgh, I drove (on the left side of the road) west on narrowing, winding roads through open countryside and beside long lochs.
A view from the drive through the Loch Lommond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland
Though the port town of Oban where I would catch my ferry to Mull is only 120 miles from Edinburgh, the trip became more of a journey than expected. Edward Abbey would have approved: "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." It was!
After a four hour drive - you can't not stop and take pictures! - I eventually arrived in Oban for the 45-minute ferry ride to Craignure.
Parting view of Oban from the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry.
November is not a busy time of year for the Isle of Mull. The height of the tourist season winds down by the end of October and many of the shops and restaurants were closed for the season. I however thoroughly enjoyed the quiet and solitude in what felt like a very distant part of the world.
The road on the southern most point of the island is only one-lane wide with pullout points for oncoming traffic.
A magical view of island Iona in the distance. To reach Iona, it's another short ferry ride from Fionnphort.
The Isle of Mull offers numerous hiking opportunities, spectacular views, and the chance to see some incredible wildlife like otters, white-tailed eagles, and whales. If you go - especially in the off-season - bring groceries and other supplies with you as many of the shops have shortened hours.