Information about The Isle of Mull
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There is a map below with snippets of information on the different villages and points of interest around the island. For more information on each region, go to our Explore Mull page and for flora, fauna and other areas of interest check out our
More About Mull page.
Mull is a place of wild beauty with a full range of walking country and a stunning and varied 300 miles of coastline, deeply penetrated by sea lochs and inlets. This is a fantastic place to spend a holiday, with excellent walking, fishing and outdoor pursuits all set in spectacular scenery. There is abundant wildlife and many attractions to visit during your stay as well as lots of fantastic places to eat and events happening throughout the year.
There are sandy bays, towering cliffs, basalt columns and granite crags. It is Mull's geology which gives it its beautiful scenery and the island is indeed a 'mecca' for geologists from all over the world who come to see its rare rock types and uniquely preserved volcanic formations.
There are dramatic bays and beaches scattered along the coastline with exceptional beaches at Calgary and on the Ross of Mull. There are also plenty of boat trips to nearby islands such as Iona with its famous Abbey and Chapel; to The Treshnish Isles and Staffa with their excellent birdlife, including puffins and of course Staffa, with its impressive basalt columns. Mull has great acclaim as having the greatest biodiversity of any place of comparable size in Britain.
Even during a short visit it becomes obvious that Mull is a great place for wildlife. Red deer roam the hills, eagles soar over skylines, seals bask on exposed skerries and otter frequent many bays and inlets. With such a tremendous range of habitats, Mull offers excellent opportunities for birding and with the enchanting background of loch shores, beautiful woodlands, dramatic mountains and sheer cliffs, each wildlife encounter is enhanced by the stunning surrounds.
For such a small island, Mull is amazingly diverse in its plant life with more than 4000 different species. There are no less than 800 flowering plants and conifers, almost 250 different seaweeds, over 50 ferns, 500 mosses and liverworts, almost 700 lichens and just under 1800 funghi (so I'm told!). Just enough to keep the keen botanist on their toes.
Red deer are seen almost everywhere with fallow deer also in the woodlands around Loch na Keal and Loch Ba. The are even wild goats among the coastal cliffs. Mull and Ulva have adders and slow worms although neither of these are present on Iona. Around the coast you frequently see common and grey seals; dolphins too and whales are also often spotted - especially Minke whaltes, harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. On rare occasions, you may even be fortunate enough to spot killer whales and basking sharks.
Otters are far from uncommon and are certainly a favourite with visitors. They can be spotted around the rocky shores or playing in the water a little further out. They even frequent the harbour at Tobermory. Golden eagle and sea eagles are perhaps the island's most impressive birds of prey, but there are buzzards, hen harriers, kestrel, merlin, short eared owls, pegrine falcons and osprey too. On the lochs, great northern divers often apper in winter, along with Slavonian grebe, barnacle and white-fronted geese while the breeding season sees numbers of guillemot, puffin and gannet on and around the offshore islands.
The history of Mull is not particularly well documented. It is believed that Mull was first inhabited about 8000-10,000 years ago, following the last Ice Age. Hunter-gatherers lived in caves, such as the so-calleed Livingston's Cave on Ulva, and roamed freely across the island group. then came a time of great transition, when the nomadic people began to settle down and become farmrs, as they did throughout Britain and indeed, much of Europe.
These Neolitchic people, and the Bronze age people that followed them, were apparently responsible for many of the burial cairns that can be found on the islands. There presence is confirmed by an abundance of such cairns, beaker pottery and knife blades.
The Iron Age people who lived on Mull from around 2500-1500 years ago built forts, duns and crannogs, and a great many defensive settlements across the islands. Christianity is believed to have come to the islands in the 6th century, when Columba landed from Ireland on Iona and set up a monastery on the island.
In the 14th century, Mull became part of the Lordship of the Isles, but after its collapse, it was taken over by the Clan MacLean, who later sufffered due to their Royalist cause and for their Jacobite tendencies. Their dispossessed lands were awarded to the Dukes of Argyll and although they tried to encourage industry, financial problems eventually forced them to part with their Mull lands in the mid 19th century.
As with many of the Scottish islands, Mull suffered its share of upheaval and grief during the Highland Clearances.
Tobermory was built in 1788 by the British Fisheries Society, as a planned settlement. Over the centuries Mull's population reached 10,638 (in 1831), but the potato famine and then the Clearances rapidly reduced this number. By the 20th century a lot of the population had emigrated and there were more sheep on Mull than people. Today Mull and its neighbouring islands have a population of around 3000. Farming, fishing and forestry used to be the big economic mainstays of the island, but increasingly today, tourism is responsible for much of the island's economy.