Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Mull Magic Abroad

Spring had barely arrived on the Isle of Mull when it was leapfrogged by Summer. At least that’s how it has seemed these past few days, as the mercury has soared towards an unseasonal 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout Argyll and the Islands. Not for the first time, the weather here on the island has been the envy of many elsewhere in the British Isles. Who says it always rains in this part of the world?

Taking full advantage of the area’s newly acquired continental climate, ‘Mull Magic’ slapped on the Factor 30 and headed off-island on a ‘busman’s holiday’ to the nearby Scottish mainland. The rugged coastline of Morvern is, in many ways, even more remote than the Isle of Mull and offers us the ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the thriving metropolis that is Tobermory!

The short sea crossing of the Sound of Mull gave us the chance to relax and soak up the outstanding views back to the island’s picturesque ‘capital’. The broad shoulders of Ben Hiant loomed large over Ardnamurchan, while Mull’s third highest summit, Ben Talaidh, appeared suitably atmospheric in the hazy morning glow.

Despite being separated by only a few nautical miles, the wildlife communities of the Isle of Mull and its mainland neighbours show several differences. The island boasts a large population of Red Deer, as well as two small herds of introduced Fallow Deer, but no Roe Deer. Early in our walk yesterday, we startled a pair of Roe bucks in a sunny glade and they sprinted off to find suitable cover in a fashion that would have left Usain Bolt standing!

‘Mull Magic’ has been concerned about the effect the snow and ice of last Winter will have on the island’s population of butterflies and moths. During our visit to the adjacent mainland, we were delighted to be entertained by several Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies that have recently shaken off the torpor of hibernation. Our fingers are crossed that this coming Summer on the Isle of Mull will be to the liking of these beautiful creatures.

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