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Day 7: Iona

The weather was quite grey and cloudy again when we woke up this morning, so it was hard to tell how the day was going to turn out. Our plan was to visit another small island off the coast of Mull today - Iona. Iona is located only about a mile off the coast of Mull, but off a part of the coast which was quite far away from where we were staying. The ferry leaves from the small town of Fionnphort which was about 40 miles away, so we started the day with a scenic drive across Mull.

And it really was a scenic drive! We passed by mountains and waterfalls as we made our way down towards the very bottom of the island.


The weather did all sorts throughout the course of the journey, and at one point Tim caught sight of this beautiful rainbow in the distance :) 


We arrived in Fionnphort and parked the car.  Iona is largely a car-free island and so visitors aren't allowed to bring cars across on the ferry without a special permit. The car parking machine didn't take contactless, but luckily we were able to pay for parking via an app. 


Fionnphort was a pretty little place.


The weather had really brightened up now too :) 


We had just missed a ferry so we had a bit of a wait. The ferry between Mull and Iona is a proper ferry, not like the small boat we took to Ulva yesterday, so it theoretically runs to a timetable. During the middle of the day the timetable just says "runs frequently", so it was a bit hard to know exactly when it was going to turn up.


We bought tickets for the ferry from the ticket office in Fionnphort and I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap they were; it only cost us £7.20 for two people return. 


We boarded the ferry when it arrived and got a seat on the deck. We then proceeded to sit and wait for a very long time before it departed. It seemed to have been waiting for two things - the local postman and a coach full of tourists. Vast quantities of people got off the coach and onto the ferry, which was then rather full to say the least!


Once we got moving the crossing to Iona only took around 10 minutes.  First impressions were that it's a really beautiful place :) 


Most people come to Iona to visit the abbey and we had a great view of it from the harbour when we got off the boat.


The population of Iona is around 130 people and most of them live in Baile Mòr, which is where we'd arrived.  It really just seemed to consist of this row of houses along the sea front.


Assuming that most other tourists were heading north to the abbey, we had decided to do a walk on the southern side of the island.


Iona isn't a large island; it's around 1 mile wide and 4 miles long, which makes it smaller than Ulva.


Our walk started on the east coast of the island, taking us along by the sea for a while.


The sea was a wonderful shade of blue and we passed sandy beaches too.


The route we were following eventually turned inland and led us all the way across the island to the western coast.


The path we were following here was across a piece of land which doubles up as a golf course and grazing land for sheep :o 


There didn't really seem to be anyone playing golf today, so we were able to enjoy the views without worrying about being hit by a golf ball :D 


There were some fantastic views of the coast as the path led us higher, up a sandy bank.


We followed the track uphill for a while...


...and eventually came to a small loch.


The track led us around the side of the loch.


We then emerged onto a piece of moorland, covered in beautiful heather.


I really loved how purple it was :) 


From here the path led quite steeply downhill towards a beach.


This is the beach where St Columba is said to have landed when he arrived in Iona from Ireland in 563.


It was a rather rocky and pebbly beach!


The walk description had said it was a beautiful place to relax but walking across this many rocks was really quite difficult.


It wasn't a circular walk, so we decided to retrace our steps back towards the golf course.


By the time we got back to the ferry port, the weather had taken a bit of a turn for the worse and the sky was no longer so blue.


The sea was still a beautiful shade of turquoise though and we had some lovely views of the abbey as we waited for the boat to take us back to Mull.


The ferry soon arrived and we had a final view of Iona as it pulled away.


Then we just had to repeat the 40-mile journey back across Mull to our cottage. We'll be leaving Mull tomorrow morning to head back to the mainland. The weather might not have been perfect here, but it's definitely been an interesting place to visit and we've seen some really beautiful places :) 

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