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September 30, 2018
Stay awhile in the Ross of Mull and Iona. Quite rightly, many people are attracted to visit the tiny unique isle of Iona which is found off the tip of the Ross of Mull. The area is fairly remote, and the journey passes through very beautiful scenery, so why not plan at least a 3-day stay or more and enjoy exploring this special corner of the Hebrides? So many of our guests comment that they wished they had booked a longer stay.
If you wish to stay on the island of Iona be aware that accommodation books up almost a year in advance, while the Ross of Mull offers a range of excellent accommodation and the village of Fionnphort is a mere 10-minute ferry ride from Iona.
To reach the Ross of Mull and Iona, travel either from Craignure through the “Glen Road” skirting the Ben More Mountain range or via the shores of Loch na Keal and Gribun if coming from the north west of Mull. Either route is a spectacular journey, with the north west route offering scenery which is just a little more rugged and impressive and with a better likelihood of spotting rare wildlife.
When staying on the Ross of Mull, you may find you want more than one trip to Iona. The Abbey is an obvious attraction and for such a small island Iona offers several walks of varying lengths and challenge. The silver-sand beaches with vistas of a turquoise or ultramarine sea are simply breath-taking, whatever the weather. Or take a hike to St Columba’s Bay, with the most beautiful pebble beaches or up Dun I, the highest point on Iona. From the top of Dun I there are superb views of Iona, Mull, the Treshnish Isles, Tiree, Coll, and on a really clear day, Rum, Eigg, Skye and even Ireland. The island is also perfect for cycling, especially with children, as there are no cars apart from those belonging to residents. Iona has excellent eateries and craft shops, but bear in mind the last ferry leaves around 6.30pm in the summer season.
Fionnphort Pier is a departure point for regular boat trips via local companies Staffa Tours and Staffa Trips to the Isle of Staffa with Fingal’s Cave, and to Lunga, a wildlife haven in the Treshnish Isles. The presence of very friendly puffins is a huge attraction, to be seen from late April to the first week in August and a stay for a few days allows the opportunity to choose the best weather window for the perfect crossing. . The Alternative Boat Hire, based in Iona, is also available for regular trips to Staffa and Lunga but also offers magical one-off charters to Ulva, Gometra, Inch Kenneth and other enchanting offshore isles and coastlines.
Meanwhile, the Ross of Mull itself has many amazing beaches, all with unique character and attraction, and all with stunning views out to sea and the outlying isles. So why not stay awhile and explore some of these beaches - Fionnphort, Torr mor, Kintra, Fidden, Knockvologan, Balfours Bay, Ardanalish, Uisken, Kilvicheoun, Camus, Market Bay, Scoor and Traigh Ghael. Some beaches are a gentle coastal stroll while others are for the more intrepid walker, requiring a strenuous hike through rough ground with no waymark,. Many walks include an abandoned township, an evocative reminder of the extreme hardships which faced past communities. From Achaban House, a trip to explore iconic locations in the south west of Mull such as Loch Buie, Carsaig Arches or even to climb Ben More munro is easily achievable in a day.
The Ross of Mull has a fascinating geology, environment, wildlife and heritage with a contemporary creative community and fabulous food produce. Local eateries have a great reputation, from the Keel Row Pub and Restaurant and the Ninth Wave fine dining, both in Fionnphort, to the Blackbird Bistro in nearby Bunessan.
Be very aware that if you do linger in the Ross of Mull, you may stay for weeks and never run out of things to do! (We do have genuine occurrences where this has happened to guests of various nationalities). We can provide all the details you could possibly want from walks and wildlife to boat trips and local produce for an unforgettable stay in the Ross of Mull.
All the guest accommodation on the Ross of Mull is high quality but if you are looking for a flexible stay in terms of dates and something informal where you have the option of a guest kitchen to use freely, this is what Achaban House offers, making a longer stay more affordable and very relaxed. Although we are obviously passionate about the Ross of Mull and Iona, we do accept that the rest of Mull is pretty special too! It is possible to do a complete tour of Mull in a day from Achaban House, but we do recommend a stay in the north of the island which has the main town of Tobermory and a completely different character from the south.