We’ve been on the Isle of Mull since Tuesday, but so far we’ve seen only the town of Tobermory and the parts of the island that can be seen from the ocean. This morning, we left our Airbnb for our next place (more on that to come), so it was time to see a bit of the island.
First stop (actually, the only stop} was Calgary Bay. We’ve heard this was the most beautiful beach on Mull, and one of the prettiest in all of Scotland, so it was worth a visit. And it was indeed gorgeous.
I also spotted a unique find, which took me a moment to identify. At first I couldn’t figure out what part of anatomy these bones belonged to, until I realized they were from a whale flipper. A ranger later confirmed that a pilot whale had washed up on shore and been buried on the beach, and that these bones had since been unearthed. It’s easy to see the similarities between cetacean flippers and our own mammalian hands.
Tonight was a big splurge intended as a climax to this epic trip: a night in a castle! Glengorm Castle sits atop a hill overlooking the ocean, with vast cattle lands all around it with lots of hiking opportunities, so our plan was to check in as early as possible and enjoy the castle grounds as much as time allowed. Google Maps GPS has served us well on this trip, so I plotted the route from Calgary Bay to the castle. That’s when Google Maps finally failed us.
With all of the single-track roads we’ve been driving on (including the one from Tobermory to Calgary Bay), we didn’t expect a four-lane highway. Still, we were surprised when Google directed us off pavement, onto a rocky dirt road. I paused to consult the map, and it seemed legit; there was a “road” on the map that led to the castle. So we forged ahead, despite the ambiguous signs that implied the road was private.
Things started to seem sketchy when we came upon huge piles of logs stacked on either side of the narrow dirt road. A bit further on, we had to pull to the side to let a couple of logging trucks pass us, coming from the opposite direction. Then Google switched things up on us, sending us in the opposite direction and suddenly adding a half hour to our journey. I looked closely at the map again and decided to opt for an offshoot dirt road, but that soon proved to be a mistake. Despite the extra time it would add to backtrack, we decided the prudent move was to retrace our steps and find another way.
But luck was still not with us. Working our way backward, we came upon the log piles again. This time, however, one of the logging trucks that had passed us was busy at work, loading up some logs—and blocking the entire narrow road (as you’ll see if you look closely at the end of this video clip}.
We had no choice but to turn back around and follow the dirt road as far as it would take us. Which took awhile. And caused no small amount of stress to me and Cassie (while Molly, blissfully unaware, watched TV in the back seat). Finally, after about 23 days (or so it seemed), we found pavement again. From there, GPS figured out the right route. Whew.
Lost in the middle of nowhere
So what started out as a brief side trip to the beach before our castle visit turned into quite the adventure. Which I suppose made the castle itself all the more rewarding. And rewarding it was.
Words will fail me if I try to describe the rooms, so I’m including some video clips:
The living room and staircase
The whisky library (including free run of the whiskies on the shelf)
The dining room
Casting aside spontaneity in favor of being sure we had a place to stay and something to do every day, I planned our whole trip in detail. I fully expected some things to not live up to expectations, but that hasn’t been the case—especially with Glengorm Castle. This place is amazing.
Because of the special circumstances and spectacular view, we let Molly stay up late to see the sunset (which, in these parts, at this time of year, doesn’t come until well after 10 PM).
I have to say, too, the whisky library was a pretty awesome place from which to blog….
Tomorrow, we wind things down by heading to Glasgow, where we’ll turn in the rental car and from which we’ll fly home on Sunday.