Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Where The Sun Shines On The Cloudiest Of Days

Our guests to the island in recent weeks have been amazed at how well the weather has behaved itself. The temperature may have taken a dip, but Mull has basked in wall-to-wall sunshine of late, helping to keep a smile on everyone’s faces and their early tans topped up.

Some people have the ill-informed notion that the West Highlands and Islands are among the wettest places in the British Isles. Many will be astonished to learn that Tobermory has barely seen a drop of rain since before Christmas. Should Mull enjoy the warm Spring and hot Summer that many hope for, it may not be too long before the island suffers a water shortage and calls for a hose-pipe ban. The Isle of Mull really is the one location where the sun shines even on the cloudiest of days!

Ben More (3,169 ft) is the only Munro on the Isle of Mull and the highest mountain in the Hebrides outside of the Isle of Skye. As a result of it’s island status, Mull’s ‘Matterhorn’ is often the last of Scotland’s 283 Munros to be bagged by hillwalkers. The views from the top, north to the peaks of Rum and Skye, southwards to the Paps of Jura, have been particularly clear and impressive recently, as very little cloud has flirted with the summit. However, anyone walking along the scree slopes of Mull’s magnetic mountain yesterday would have encountered the rare phenomenon of a passing shower, temporarily obliterating any view from the island’s loftiest perch.

A high percentage of the diet of Mull’s earliest settlers would have been plant based. Gorse is a rather prickly shrub that grows throughout the island. It is a profusion of vibrant, yellow flowers, which are deliciously coconut-scented. As well as providing woody stems that could be used as fuel, the sweet flowers may have been used to flavour the drinks of the island’s first inhabitants. Visitors, however, shouldn’t expect to see such a liquid being proffered from the optics of any of the island’s bars or hotels today!

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