This year we had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful Isle of Mull, off the west coast of mainland Scotland. We’ve got two children who were five and three at the time. Our eldest uses a walking frame and wheelchair, so we knew going to a rugged island was a bit of a risk but it definitely paid off. In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why I think you should pack your waterproofs and venture north on your next holiday:
First off, the drive to Oban was pretty epic. You’re not going to get many more picturesque road trips! Next up, taking the ferry was pretty exciting for the kids. The journey was about an hour, the children loved exploring the ferry and getting out on the (pretty windy!) deck and the view was spectacular. CalMac were great with disabled access. Arlene’s Coffee Shop in Craignure is also just near the ferry terminal and perfect for refuelling.
Calgary Art in Nature is an art trail through a woodland. It’s free to use if you’re staying in one of the cottages (we stayed in Lime Tree and it was perfect for our family of four) and a small donation if not. You could easily spend an hour or two exploring, and the zip wire and willow tunnels were great fun and went down very well with the children. The trail takes you down to Calgary Bay and whilst I definitely wouldn’t describe it as accessible, we managed parts of it with the wheelchair. There is also an art gallery and fantastic cafe serving meals and cakes.
As you would expect, there are tonnes of beaches to explore. They feel so wild and untouched and are the perfect tonic to the stresses of everyday life. Our favourite was Calgary Bay with its silver sand and turquoise sea. It was a magical place to be, even in the wind and rain. It’s got a small car park and path down to the beach, which meant it was accessible for us.
Mull Aquarium in Tobermory is a small aquarium that packs a big punch. We all loved the touch pool session, it was a real highlight. We held starfish, sea urchins and got squirted by grumpy scallops! Once you’ve bought your ticket, you can come and go as you like throughout the day. The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in Tobermory is also worth a look in and they have lots of information on whale and dolphin sightings around Mull.
We did the Ecocruz boat trip with Sealife Surveys and saw seals, Artic Terns, Shags, Mull Lighthouse, a waterfall and a white tailed sea eagle but unfortunately no harbour porpoises. It was about 90 minutes long which was perfect for a five and three-year-old. There are plenty of longer trips for whales and puffins with different providers though and they can be booked at the tourist information centre which is in the main Tobermory car park (Ledaig) near the aquarium.
Isle of Mull ice cream - a former toilet block painted bright pink in the centre of Tobermory, it’s impossible to miss. Probably the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten!
Visit Isle of Mull cheese near Tobermory for a self-guided tour around the farm to watch cheese being made followed by lunch in the gorgeous Glass Barn. The menu is small and (unsurprisingly!) cheese-heavy, but seriously yummy.
A highlight of our trip and something our youngest still mentions was a pony trek with Killiechronan Pony Trekking. We did the half hour trek which took us up a hill and back along the beach of Loch an Keal with Ben More (Mull’s only Munro) in the distance. The setting was incredible and the staff were so friendly. They are also a Riding for the Disabled Association centre and were fantastic with our daughter.
Isle of Ulva is a small community owned island off the west coast of Mull. Call the passenger “ferry” over using the wooden board, have lunch at The Boathouse and explore the island. We just about managed it with the wheelchair but I expect we’d struggle in the future.
Aros Park near Tobermory is just one of the Forestry and Land Scotland owned sites with trails and playgrounds to explore. The website is great as it gives you a good idea of how easy/hard the trails are at each site.
And if that’s not enough for you, you could also visit Duart Castle, The Old Byre in Dervaig, An Tobar in Tobermory, the Isle of Iona or walk on Ben More. We were just having too much fun to fit them in!
Written by Sarah Braide
Sarah is mum to a pair of all-consuming (albeit pretty cute) children. She lives on the edge of the Manchester suburbs, where she dreams of the sea and the countryside, whilst handcuffed to a city job