Call us on 01688 400682

Geology Archive

Discover 8 Idyllic Isle of Mull Waterfalls

The Isle of Mull scenery has to be one of the island’s biggest attractions – mountains and glens, lochs and burns… this island packs a lot into its 338 square miles of space. Isle of Mull waterfalls are also in abundance and here we guide you to some of Mull’s most magical.

Aros Park, Tobermory

Aros Park is well worth a visit, with pathways through forest that offer fun for all the family. But the waterfalls here are spectacular too, surrounded by lush ferns, trees and vegetation. If you’ve been before, visit in autumn when the leaves are a blaze of copper and red. It’ll feel like an entirely different experience again.

Eas Fors waterfall

Perhaps the most well know of all the Isle of Mull waterfalls is Eas Fors. Located on the west coast of Mull, not far from the famed Isle of Mull scenery of Laggan Bay, these falls are easily accessible from the road.

Flowing over three tiers, Eas Fors really is spectacular and a firm favourite with visitors and islanders alike. You can head up or down from the road to see each tier more closely, but take care over the rugged terrain and stay well clear of the drops.

Eas Fors Waterfall

The best thing about sunshine after the rain? The Isle of Mull's waterfalls are in full flow! This one is Eas Fors which is located on the island's north west coast. You park near an old bridge and walk along the river down to the falls which land in the sea on the shore of Loch Tuath.www.isleofmullcottages.com

Posted by Isle of Mull Cottages on Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Ben More pools

These Isle of Mull waterfalls have a character of their own, making them well worth the hike to get there. On the north-west side of Ben More, the Ben More pools burble across the landscape, meandering down smaller but more frequent rocky cascades. The water is magically clear and the falls frothy and soft – an amazing contrast to the mountains behind.

Eas Mor woodland waterfalls

Isle of Mull waterfalls are many and varied, especially after a spell of heavy rain. The fall along the Eas Mor burn has a beautiful, secluded woodland setting. The burn weaves through mossy banks and oak trees, trickling over a number of falls and passing through narrow dark gorges.

It’s an altogether gentler, more serene experience, but no less lovely for that. Complete the experience by following the burn to the end, where you’ll reach the sandy Port Donain beach.

Carsaig

After a nail-biting drive with a plummeting drop to your right as you approach Carsaig, you’ll round a tight stone-walled bend, plunge into dappled shade and be grabbed by the sound of water rushing down beside a red telephone box!  This is Eas na Dabhaich, a cascading burn the source of which is Loch Fraing on the hills above.  This source keeps to falls flowing in all but the driest of weather.

Ben More hills

If you’re looking for hidden gems on thie island that most visitors have yet to discover, try the waterfalls that flow on the Loch na Keal side fo the Ben More hills.  Here at Derryguaig the water cascades dramatically down a rock face into an immaculate blue pool, flanked by stones and surrounded by deciduous trees. It could be paradise, and it certainly gives the beauty of Skye’s fairy pools a run for their money.

Ardmeanach Peninsular

Isle of Mull scenery ranges from rugged moorland to verdant woodland and rocky outcrops, and it’s the latter you’ll find when the burn Allt Airigh nan Caisteal flows into a waterfall.

You might recognise this of all Isle of Mull waterfalls because it found fame during a storm here. The winds were so strong that the water was blown back up the falls – the video of this happening went viral and was featured on news outlets worldwide!  As of 2018 our facebook video has been viewed 2.8 million times!

Waterfall… up.

The stormy winds on Mull today were turning the waterfalls upside down! This was looking toward Ardmeanach 'The Wilderness' on the island's west coast.www.isleofmullcottages.com

Posted by Isle of Mull Cottages on Monday, 1 February 2016

Rubha Dubh

On the South coast of Mull between Carsaig and Lochbuie you’ll find a beautiful fall at Rubha Dubh, where a channel of water slides down between two steep rockfaces.  Cascading between columnar basalt down to the boulder shore below where a small pool supports some unique plant life.  The best bit is you can walk behind this fall and look out to sea at to the waves crashing on the shore!

Which are your favourite Isle of Mull waterfalls and why?

A Guide To Visiting MacKinnon’s Cave on Mull

MacKinnon’s Cave is situated on the Isle of Mull’s west coast near Gribun.  The area is dominated by sheer cliffs and very broken country that affords a great view of several important geological time periods.  MacKinnon’s Cave is also said to be the longest sea cave in the Hebrides, at around 500 feet in length.  A torch is therefore essential to explore the cave, and as the mouth of the cave is tidal you must consult the tide times before setting off and plan your visit on a low tide.

MacKinnon's Cave shore at low tide

Top 5 Locations for Columnar Basalt!

The Isle of Mull and its neighbouring islands are rightly famous for their geology. These islands have a richness and complexity in their geological make-up that is quite remarkable, and features the grand phenomenon of columnar basalt. When the Survey officers were carrying out the geological survey of Mull and surrounding islands, in the early part of the 20th century, they quickly realised how complex an area it was that they were studying.

The rocks of Mull have played an enormous part in the advancement of the science of Igneous Petrology. Earth Scientists from all over the world come to study the amazing geology of this place. But you do not need to be a scientist to appreciate one of the truly remarkable geological wonders – the rock known as Columnar Basalt, which is on display in several places in these islands.

Most people will be familiar with pictures of Fingals Cave on Staffa or the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. These are both excellent examples of this strange rock formation which almost does not look ‘natural’.  The mainly six-sided columns have a symmetry which is fascinating. So what is columnar basalt and where can it be seen on Mull?

Basalt is a type of lava that is very common throughout the world. Look at pictures of Hawaii and you will see lava pouring into the sea and forming great clouds of steam. That is basalt. The volcanoes in Iceland that caused such disruption to air traffic a few years ago were mainly basaltic. In fact Iceland today is very like how Mull would have looked 60 million years ago!

Not all basalt lava forms columns however – much of it is massive and uniform, lacking the pillar-like structure. There is a lot of variation in the basalt lava seen on Mull and the other islands. Some of it is very crumbly, a lot of it contains white crystals of a group of minerals called zeolites, and sometimes it can appear reddish in colour. The columnar form, which is easily the most visually spectacular, can be seen in lots of locations on Mull. Here are five areas for you to see some impressive examples of it during a visit.

1. Staffa

The Island of Staffa is the prime location for seeing basalt columns. No other location really matches it for grandeur. Whether seen from the boat or from the shore, it looks spectacular. The name Staffa comes from Norse and means “Pillar Island”. Very well named! Staffa is easy to access on foot but requires a boat trip to get to it. Find out more about how you can visit Staffa here.

Staffa Basalt

Basalt columns on Staffa

2. Ulva

Ulva is an island just to the west of Mull and is accessible from Ulva Ferry by a small, regular boat service. The columns are on the south coast of the island, approximately 45 minutes from the slipway. The walking is easy and the columns are well sign-posted.

Columnar Basalt is an incredible geological feature to behold and, if you visit the Isle of Mull, you can! Get the best sights with our guide...

Columnar basalt on Ulva

3. Macculloch’s Tree (The Fossil Tree)

The famous Fossil Tree lies at the very western extremity of the Ardmeanach peninsula. It involves a long walk over rough terrain and the descent of a ladder to reach the shore. The scenery is spectacular and basalt columns can be seen near the tree and on the shore leading up to it. This is wild country where the rewards for the effort are great scenery and spectacular coastal views. Beyond the headland of Rubha na h-Uamha (Point of the Cave, and well-named so), there is more columnar basalt to be seen. Great care is needed as it can only be easily accessed when the tide is out.

Columnar Basalt is an incredible geological feature to behold and, if you visit the Isle of Mull, you can! Get the best sights with our guide...

The Fossil Tree

4. Carsaig Arches

This is another difficult to reach location, with a lot of rough walking and a need for a steady gait and a good head for heights. The Arches are at Malcolm’s Point, west of Carsaig itself. One of them forms a sea-stack. The other is a cave. Both are spectacular.

Columnar Basalt is an incredible geological feature to behold and, if you visit the Isle of Mull, you can! Get the best sights with our guide...

Carsaig Arches

5. Ardtun

Ardtun, near Bunessan, is famous for another geological find – fossil leaves, dating back 60 million years. The leaves are found in between lava flows, some of which are beautifully columnar. This is dramatic coastal scenery with ravines, a sea stack, caves and other delights. Many of the columns are curved or even horizontal. The approach is over extremely boggy ground, straightforward to walk but very wet underfoot. Care is required at the gorge of Slochd nan Uruisg (the defile of the goblin) where the leaf beds and the basalt columns are best seen.

Columnar Basalt is an incredible geological feature to behold and, if you visit the Isle of Mull, you can! Get the best sights with our guide...

Columnar basalt at Ardtun

There is lots of further reading available on the subject, should you wish to find out more about Mull’s geology.  Mull in the Making by Ros Jones offers a great introduction.

Author: James Westland

All images copyright James Westland, 2016

 

If you’re intrigued by Mull’s magnificent landscapes, don’t miss our guide to visiting MacKinnon’s Cave.

 

If you’ve been to see the columnar basalt on Mull, what did you think?