Sunday, 16 May 2010

Meeting Ourselves Coming Backwards

It is said that as history moves forward, our knowledge of it travels backwards. The past 10 days have been something of a whirlwind for Mull Magic and, in writing of our recent past, it really does feel like we have been meeting ourselves coming the other way!

Speinne Mor is the highest summit in North Mull. At 1,457 feet it is less than half the height of our island’s only Munro, Ben More (3,169 ft). Nonetheless, the 360 degree panorama that the ascent up to the cairn of this ‘half Munro’ affords is truly spectacular, with incomparable views as far as the eye and mind can see.

To the North, beyond the Isle of Mull’s principal town, Tobermory, lies the Ardnamurchan peninsula, where the Cuillin hills of Rum and Skye tower in the distance above the village of Kilchoan. Travelling clockwise, the eye is guided East along much of the length of the Sound of Mull, past the green and fertile island of Lismore, marking the entrance to Loch Linnhe. Beyond, the hills of the West Highlands dominate the skyline, stretching from the twin peaks of Ben Cruachan and culminating in the range of mountains that includes Britain’s biggest, Ben Nevis. Away to the South, the sandy beaches on the holy Isle of Iona glistened in the Spring sunshine - shame they did not do so on Thursday for our Corncrake Walk on the island. However, that’s another story!

The cairn on top of Speinne Mor is idiosyncratic, to say the least! Rather than the usual heap of stones, inserted in to the rock pile is none other than a broken mountain bike frame. This metalwork within the masonry commemorates the many gruelling hours that Tobermory mechanic, Steve MacInnes, put in over the years while training for major Cyclocross competitions. In all weather, Steve could be seen running up and down Speinne Mor with the bike frame on his back, in order to develop the necessary level of fitness required to compete at the highest level in his chosen sport.

Should anyone feel compelled to pack a few tools, handlebars and a couple of tyres in their rucksack, the descent down Mull’s mini-mountain would be interesting. Unfortunately, we had to carry lunches, soup, water, first aid kit, extra clothing etc. etc, so had to forego the bike ride home!

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