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Wildlife Archive

5 of the Best Ways to Spend Rainy Days on Mull

5 of the best ways to spend rainy days on Mull

Whether you’ve visited Scotland and its many islands before or not, news of the nation’s frequent spells of wet weather travels fast. But while it’s also no stranger to sunshine, the Isle of Mull is an island borne of exactly such weather systems. The waterfalls, rivers and verdant, green landscapes are in part carved out and created by rainy days on Mull, so the wet conditions could even be something worth celebrating.

If you’d like to make the most of your visit, whatever the weather, then try these five ideas for damper days. With something for everyone, from families to crafters to wildlife enthusiasts, your day will be anything but a wash out.

1. Uncover Mull’s history

While rainy days on Mull might not be the best for exploring the grounds, Duart Castle still makes an excellent wet weather activity. History buffs should make their first stop the Maclean clan exhibition to discover the clan and castle’s past and secrets. Armed with new knowledge, exploring the Great Hall and impressive rooms of Duart Castle will be all the more impressive.

2. Taste the island’s spirits

Tobermory Distillery is the only distillery on the island, producing two different single malt whiskies – the Tobermory and the Ledaig. If you’re a whisky connoisseur, a visit will be one of your favourite ways to spend rainy days on Mull. But don’t just take our word for it! Enjoy a tour of the distillery and taste a dram or two for yourself… When you’re finished, brave a dash through the rain along Tobermory’s colourful main street. You’ll soon step into a cosy pub, bakery or café for a warming treat of a different kind.

3. Learn the traditional art of willow weaving

On a willow croft in Ardtun, close to Bunessan in the southwest of the island, you’ll find Mull Willow. With a choice of half or full-day courses, you can learn to weave everything from a basket to a bird box. You’ll begin to master this traditional craft from the cosy comfort of the workshop. Inside, a wood-burning stove keeps crafters toasty.

Team a half-day course with a visit to Ardalanish Weavers. They are conveniently located just a few minutes’ drive down the road. Here, you’ll see how wool from the island’s own flocks is spun and woven into luxurious and ultra-warm blankets. Have a look around the mill and shop, then pick up a warming cup of coffee before heading back to your holiday cottage after a crafter’s perfect day out.

4. Get close to nature with a wildlife tour

Inclement weather might mean some species stay under cover, but Mull’s island status means that many of its wild residents are at home in the water. Keep your eyes peeled for waders and otters in the shallows and deer seeking shelter in forested thickets. You can see many from the dry comfort of the minibus with the help of a pair of binoculars.

It’s not even unheard of to see a white-tailed sea eagle perched on rainy days on Mull. If you’re lucky enough to get a sighting, your guide will get the best views possible with their scope.

 

5. Redefine what it means to stay in

There are few places in the British Isles that offer such untouched, wild and breath-taking scenery within such easy reach. In our hand-picked portfolio of charming holiday cottages on Mull, you’ll find plenty that boast large windows with far-reaching views, a log burner to keep you warm and even characterful tin roofs that provide a gently pattering soundtrack to rainy days on Mull.

Guests therefore have the luxury of any wet weather day spent at their cottage not being a waste at all. Where in the world could you enjoy a duvet day, board games with the family and hearty, homemade food with such dramatic views? You might even be lucky enough to see one of the many waterfalls cascading off the rocks nearby…

Find the cottage with the perfect view for you here.

 

Winter Wildlife You Could See On The Isle of Mull

A winter wildlife wonderland on the Isle of Mull    

With Dave Sexton RSPB Mull Officer

There can’t be many places on the planet that are better to visit to view wildlife in the depths of winter than they are in high summer, but Mull might just be one of them. Don’t get me wrong. Summer, spring and autumn are all lovely and the wildlife is here throughout the year. But a winter’s day on Mull can be magical.

Loch na keal on the Isle of Mull, winter wildlife

With shorter days, the island’s wildlife has to pack a lot in and the longer evenings mean more time for you to pull the chair up by the fire in your Isle of Mull Cottage. Pour yourself a dram of Tobermory malt and open a good book to plan your next day spotting the winter wildlife that is here.

Mull and Iona birdwatching after a day of winter wildlife spotting on Mull

Reading “Birdwatching on Mull and Iona” while relaxing at your cottage

White-Tailed and Golden Eagles

Winter is so good because all the young eagles that fledged last autumn are now confident on the wing and will be joining up with other young eagles. White-tailed eagle immatures and sub-adults in particular are very sociable. They will often cruise around together in small, loose groups. It’s not unusual to see 4 or 5 young sea eagles out on an off-shore skerry at this time of year, but bigger gatherings of 10 or more have been reported.

Young golden eagles will often join these youngsters, especially at roost time. Meanwhile the adult eagles will be busy visiting old eyries, preparing for next spring and re-establishing their territorial boundaries through dramatic displays and calling.

Eagle on Mull skerry - incredible winter wildlife awaits

Otters

Otters seem easier to see in the winter months. With fewer cars and people about they appear more ‘relaxed’. Mull’s big sea lochs of Loch Scridain and Loch na Keal are prime hunting grounds for them. As ever, keep your distance. Sit hidden somewhere downwind and wait patiently along a lonely stretch of coast and sooner or later, an otter will appear.  You can watch us getting a great otter sighting on a winter’s day in our seasonal review:

Red Deer and Fallow Deer

The red deer are now long past the rut and have settled into their winter routine. They’re often down off the hills. With them being lower in the glens, they are easier to find. Stags will have forgotten the testosterone charged battles of the autumn and ‘buddy up’ with each other in small herds. The hinds and this year’s calves will do the same.

It’s a harsh existence for winter wildlife, the deer included, but the most testing time of late winter is yet to come. Meanwhile the island’s fallow deer herds at Loch Buie and Gruline are also often glimpsed from the roadside or as they skip across the road in front of you. Deer are often near the roads at night especially, so beware.

Harbour Seals and Grey Seals

Offshore, harbour and grey seals are all around Mull’s 300 miles of coastline. Pupping for the greys on the Treshnish Isles is over now, so they can pop up anywhere. Salen Bay is still your best bet to spot the harbour seals.

Salen Bay on Mull, a winter wildlife haven for harbour seals

Geese

Winter thrushes have largely moved through, stripping out berries as they go, but many remain. Winter wildlife also heralds new arrivals, with rare Greenland white-fronted geese on the Ross of Mull and barnacle geese on Inch Kenneth. It’s always worth a scan of the native, resident greylag geese flocks in case a rare vagrant has joined them.

Person with telescope on Mull, looking out for winter wildlife

So whatever the weather this winter, Mull has it all. From spectacular wildlife and scenery to wonderful places to stay cosy and warm on the days that look less inviting to venture out… my advice? Go out anyway. The weather will change and the winter wildlife is all there, just waiting to be discovered. Enjoy!

Browse the rest of our website for more information about things to do, and places to stay on the Isle of Mull www.isleofmullcottages.com