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Mull Wildlife Archive

50 Great Things to Do on the Isle of Mull

The Isle of Mull is one of the easiest islands to reach in the Hebrides, with regular ferries arriving on the island from Oban, Kilchoan and Lochaline on the Scottish mainland. It’s also one of the most exciting to explore, with mountain glens, shell-sand beaches and the vibrant town of Tobermory all to be enjoyed. We’re here to help get you started with 50 of the best things to do on the Isle of Mull. Off we go!

White tailed sea eagle flying over the loch on the Isle of Mull

Wildlife

  1. Encounter the white-tailed sea eagles
    Explore the coastline for a lucky glimpse as eagles visit their feeding grounds, or book a guided tour with a ranger at Mull Eagle Watch.
  2. Scan the shoreline for otters
    These often-elusive creatures could test your patience, but when it pays off, the chance to see otters in the wild is well worth the wait.
  3. Watch golden eagles soar over the hills
    The more mountainous parts of the island, like dramatic Glen More, are a good place to look.
  4. Look out for deer
    A regular sight, red deer outnumber people on the Isle of Mull by three to one! Fallow deer can also be found in a few parts of the island.
  5. Take a wildlife tour 
    A brilliant way to begin the week, giving you plenty of tips and places to visit during the rest of your holiday.
  6. Meet the puffins on the Treshnish Isles
    From April to July, land on Lunga to experience these ground-nesting birds close up. Boat trips depart from Tobermory and Ulva Ferry.
  7. Go whale watching off Mull’s north coast
    With the chance to see minke whales in the waters around Mull, this boat trip is a must. You could also spot basking sharks and harbour porpoise, too.
  8. Spot dolphins from a boat trip to Staffa
    It’s not uncommon for a playful pod of dolphins to accompany your boat as it sails towards Staffa and Fingal’s Cave.
  9. Look for the corncake on Iona
    There are around 40 pairs of nesting corncrake on the Isle of Iona, reached via passenger ferry from Fionnphort on Mull.
  10. Visit the aquarium
    Pay a visit to Tobermory’s catch-and-release aquarium located in the harbour building at the end of the colourful Main Street.

Dramatic cliffs and coastal walk on the Ardmeanach Peninsula, Isle of Mull

Walking

  1. Walk to Carsaig Arches
    One of the most ambitious walks on the island, cross challenging terrain to reach one of Mull’s greatest natural spectacles.
  2. Hike to MacCulloch’s Fossil Tree
    A brilliant walk through true wilderness with excellent sea views to accompany you. The Tiroran holiday cottages make an excellent base for this hike.
  3. Trek from coast to coast
    Start from the old fishing boats at Salen and traverse the narrowest part of the island to reach the coast of Loch na Keal at Killiechronan.
  4. Climb Ben More
    Take the popular path from Dhiseig or tackle the more challenging A’Chioch ridge ascent.
  5. Walk to the tidal isle of Erraid
    Low tide exposes a tidal sandbar you can cross to Erraid from Knockvologan beach. Be sure to check tide times for your return journey to ensure you’re not cut off!
  6. Explore the ruined village at Shiaba
    Starting from Scoor in south west Mull, navigate the island’s coastal hilltops to reach Shiaba, with superb views out to sea.
  7. Take a guided wildlife walk
    Taking things at a slower pace can make it easier to spot Mull’s more elusive wildlife, with experienced guides to help.
  8. Climb Dun da Gaoithe
    A dramatic mountain to climb with views that stretch over the sea to the mountains of mainland Scotland.
  9. Stretch your legs at Aros Park
    Follow the crashing course of the dramatic waterfalls, take a tranquil walk around the lochan or follow the coastal path back to Tobermory.
  10. Walk to a hidden beach
    Head off the beaten track and discover the Isle of Mull’s many remarkable beaches that you can’t see from the roadside.

History & Geology

  1. Explore the Mull Museum in Tobermory
    From the island’s volcanic origins to its crofting roots, step back in time at the Mull Museum.
  2. Visit the Abbey on Iona
    A short passenger ferry crossing carries you from Fionnphort in south west Mull to the idyllic Isle of Iona.
  3. Explore the disused pink granite quarry at Fionnphort
    The pink granite rock is a distinctive feature on the Ross of Mull, with a lovely circular walk offering a glimpse at how the rock was once mined.
  4. Visit the Ross of Mull Historical Centre
    Discover the crofting traditions and challenging times of life on the Ross with exhibits, and pick up a guide book for the rest of your stay.
  5. Walk around the fossil beds at Ardtun
    A coastal walk with the chance to see columnar basalt and leaf fossils, revealing trees that once stood beside a prehistoric lake.
  6. Visit the Macquarie Mausoleum
    Take this gentle walk from Gruline to the Macquarie Mausoleum, which commemorates Sir Lachlan Macquarie who came from Ulva and became Governor of New South Wales.
  7. Walk to ruined castles at Aros and Lochbuie
    Visit the ruins on the headland at Aros, just north of Salen Bay, or follow the south coast from Lochbuie to discover Moy Castle.
  8. Visit the Iron Age fort at Aros
    While you’re in the area, head uphill to the top of Cnoc na Sroine to see the remains of the Iron Age fort.
  9. Climb up to crater loch
    Experience Mull’s volcanic past feet first with a climb to the top of the crater loch, Lochan S’Airde Beinn.
  10. Step back in time at Duart Castle
    Spot the impressive seat of Clan Maclean from the ferry into Craignure, then pay the castle a visit for a tour.

The Three Lochs virwpoint in Glen More, Isle of Mull, winter sunset

Outdoor & Adventure

  1. Go kayaking along the coast
    You can even launch your kayak from the cottage when you stay at Seaview or The Old Church.
  2. Wild swim in Calgary Bay
    Discover more wild swimming spots around the island with our guide.
  3. Visit Eas Fors waterfall
    This multi-tiered waterfall tumbles down the hillside and into the sea on the island’s west coast.
  4. Drive through the Glen More mountains
    Pull in at the Three Lochs viewpoint for an incredibly scenic picnic spot.
  5. Walk to the most north easterly point on Mull
    This less-travelled walk takes you to Ardmore Point.
  6. Visit MacKinnon’s Cave
    Remember to check the tide times and pack a torch – the cave is bigger than you think!
  7. Witness the Dakota memorial
    Walk deep into the heart of Glen Forsa and you’ll pass the memorial to the 1945 Dakota plane crash.
  8. Go mountain biking
    There’s no shortage of biking trails on the island, passing through woodland, mountain and coast.
  9. Play golf beside the sea
    There is not one but two golf courses on the Isle of Mull – a nine-hole course with views to Ardnamurchan in Tobermory, and a course in Craignure with sea views across to the Morvern hills.
  10. Go sea or river fishing
    Pick up a permit for river fishing from Tackle and Books and make your own catch of the day.
    Sweeping white sand and calm turquoise sea at Knockvologan beach on the Isle of Mull

Family

  1. Visit Rainydays soft play in Tobermory
    A great way to entertain the little ones if the weather is wild outside.
  2. Walk the Calgary Art in Nature trail
    Think of it like an artistic treasure hunt that leads down to the white sand beach.
  3. Visit the gardens at Lip na Cloiche
    Discover driftwood creations, wander through lush, jungle-like planting and enjoy the sea views from this magical garden.
  4. See a play at Mull Theatre
    Conveniently located just outside Tobermory, this makes a great addition to your holiday.
  5. Go pony trekking along the beach
    Ride through the waves and canter across the beach on surefooted Highland ponies.
  6. Make a splash in the pool
    The swimming pool at the Isle of Mull Hotel in Craignure is great for a swim whatever the weather.
  7. Experience the Tobermory Highland Games
    A day of bagpipes and competition, this traditional Highland fixture held each July is not one to be missed!
  8. Build sandcastles on Knockvologan beach
    One of the most beautiful beaches on the Isle of Mull with gorgeous sandy bays. This one is well worth a visit!
  9. Attend a country show at Salen or Bunessan
    See the Isle of Mull’s farmers and crofters turn out in their droves as their livestock compete in the show ring. Find out what’s on.
  10. Visit the shipwrecks at Salen
    One of the most iconic locations on Mull, don’t miss a visit to Salen’s old fishing boats as you venture up the east coast.

Feeling inspired to visit the Isle of Mull? Book a holiday cottage and get your holiday plans underway!

Experience the Magic of Autumn on Mull

Visit Mull in autumn and you can feel change start to creep over the island. It begins on the fringes of September, with each day drawing just a few minutes shorter, and a scattering of bronzed leaves promising the copper carpet to follow.

But then the unmistakable bellows begin; the stags get stuck into their annual rut. Clearings fill with clashing antlers and the glens echo with roars – it’s an undeniable highlight of autumn on Mull.

As the rut gathers pace, so does the onward rush of the season. The air gains a crispness. The villages fill with the faint scent of log smoke rising from chimney pots. Life slows to an altogether gentler pace.

It’s a beautiful time to experience the island. There are many more bright days than you might expect, and some fantastic wildlife to see. Discover the magic of a visit to Mull in autumn.

Two common seals basking on rocks in the fading sunlight near the Isle of Mull

See the seal pups on the Treshnish Isles

Best known for their population of puffins in summer, the Treshnish Isles are also home to a loveable seal colony. These mammals pup in early September, so autumn offers an excellent time to take a boat trip out to see the pups for yourself.

Silhouette of a red deer stag roaring at sunset on the Isle of Mull

Experience the red deer rut

Book a holiday cottage close to a red deer habitat and you could find yourself waking up to a front row seat for the rut. Based on the island, we know Mull’s wild landscapes well. Give us a call and we can suggest great places to stay when you visit Mull in autumn.

Take a woodland walk around the loch at Aros Park when you visit Mull in autumn.

Walk in the woods

Tucked away on the edge of Tobermory, Aros Park is a hidden gem you’ll be thrilled to discover. A meandering network of paths lead you through deciduous and coniferous woodland, up and down waterfalls and around the glassy lochan. This pool of water reflects the autumn leaves from the boughs that bend over it beautifully. A must for any keen nature photographer if you visit Mull in autumn.

Ardalanish beach is a beauty formed with white shell sand and perfect blue waters. Machair blooms in the summer months from this beach in south west Mull.

Beach-comb along the bay

As the winds pick up, so do the waves, leaving Mull’s beaches decorated in sea-tossed treasures. Driftwood, shells and all manner of unusual finds are swept up onto the island’s shores, making for excellent beachcombing walks. Ardalanish Bay on the Ross of Mull is a particularly good place to start.

Warm up with a wee dram

Scotland is a land famed for its whisky and Tobermory is home to one of the country’s most charming distilleries, located a stone’s throw from the harbour. Take a behind-the-scenes tour and discover how the whisky is made, before tasting a dram or two.

For those who have a taste for gin, there’s also the Whitetail Distillery at Tiroran. Enjoy a gin and tonic in the café and discover a whole host of gin-related goodies to take home with you.

Feeling inspired to visit Mull in autumn? Take advantage of the more affordable autumn rates and book your holiday cottage today.

Mull Nature Expeditions – Discover, Record and Be Inspired

Skylarks dancing to the heavens. Meadow Pipits parachuting ground wards. Golden-ringed Dragonflies patrolling the burns. Hen Harriers quartering the hillside…

We all stood in amazement as Mull’s moorland teemed with life! My guests and I were immersing ourselves in spectacular upland ecology on a recent Mull Nature Expedition, undertaking a short leisurely walk to delve deeper into the habitat and experience some of the wilder parts of Mull.

Discover the huge variety of Isle of Mull nature you could see, from otters to dolphins, seals to sea eagles, and learn about their habitats.

Explore Mull’s upland ecosystems

50% of Scotland’s landmass is an upland ecosystem and these habitats are heavily under recorded in terms of species abundance and trends. I am the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) North Argyll Regional Co-ordinator and Nature Scotland is working with the BTO to record all of our avifauna sightings during expeditions on the moors of Mull. On a recent tour, we managed to input data that included 12 male Meadow Pipits on territory, 8 Skylarks in song, 2 occupied Whinchat and Stonechat sites, 8 singing Wrens and 3 separate Hen Harriers.

The invertebrate life that underpins the diverse fauna is also recorded to help provide a greater understanding of the biodiversity on the island. Dragonfly and butterfly sightings along with their co-ordinates are logged manually out in the field. The information is then entered to the online database once I am back in the office. Guests have the option to get involved in the citizen science projects by helping to spot wildlife, write down sightings and take co-ordinate readings using a device provided.

After a lovely morning observing and exploring the moors we travelled to a nearby viewpoint to scan the habitat and have our packed lunch. Whilst enjoying our hot drinks, a distant Golden Eagle was seen in the spotting scope cresting a mountainous skyline. The emblematic species inhabits the wildest parts of the country from high altitude montane to inaccessible coastlines.

Discover the huge variety of Isle of Mull nature you could see, from otters to dolphins, seals to sea eagles, and learn about their habitats.

From sea to summit: diverse habitats on Mull

One of the most exciting things about Mull is the large mixture of landscapes and habitats to explore. There are over 60 wildlife habitats recognised in the UK and the fabric of Mull possesses over 30 of those! On our Nature Expeditions we aim to cover a mixture of habitats by vehicle and on foot throughout the tour.

After our lunch break we made for the coast to search for water-based wildlife. The Eurasian Otter is a real draw-card species and a very popular predator so we make sure to cover Otter habitat on every expedition. Another easy-going walk was undertaken to enable almost constant pauses to scan the surrounding shoreline for movement.

An adult White-tailed Eagle flew right overhead with Harbour Seals visibly hauled out on nearby skerries. Whilst the otters remained elusive this time, we instead encountered a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. They were working the coastline, surfacing in small groups and also showing sporadic breaching behaviour! We input any cetacean records into the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s ‘Whaletrack’ app.

Discover the huge variety of Isle of Mull nature you could see, from otters to dolphins, seals to sea eagles, and learn about their habitats.

Nature conservation and education

The fourth national seabird census is being undertaken during 2018/19. We have been given the task of co-ordinating all survey coverage efforts on the Isle of Mull. Some of these efforts will be taken on Nature Scotland expeditions during the next two breeding seasons. During our afternoon excursion along the coast we managed to complete some census counts on breeding Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Fulmar.

Education is at the heart of every Nature Scotland experience. I will aim to provide fascinating information on species ecology and anatomy, along with examples of how an ecosystem functions healthily when in a completed state. I will also raise any current conservation issues and threats to UK species. This helps to increase awareness and encourage direct involvement and engagement.

Discover the huge variety of Isle of Mull nature you could see, from otters to dolphins, seals to sea eagles, and learn about their habitats.

Words and Images: Ewan Miles

Ewan runs the Mull based, award-winning eco-tourism operator Nature Scotland (www.naturescotland.com) and offers a variety of tours and experiences that can help you unlock some of the wildlife highlights of the Isle of Mull.

Learn more about Mull’s wildlife ‘big five’ here.

Discover Wildlife on the Doorstep at These Holiday Cottages

In this blog post, you’ll follow the entire 300-mile island perimeter to discover the very best cottages for wildlife on Mull.

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Grasspoint Cottage, Grasspoint

Located in the south-east corner of Mull, not far from the ferry terminal at Craignure, Grasspoint Cottage has an idyllic location. Your chances of seeing marine wildlife greatly increase here, thanks to the sea wrapping around three sides of the old crofter’s cottage for two. Porpoises and dolphins are highlights on the water, while deer, eagles and otters are stars on shore.

Discover more holiday cottages a stone’s throw from the sea here.

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Tigh na Mara, Croggan

Tucked away on the shore of Loch Spelve, Croggan is a haven for wildlife. Wait patiently and you may even be rewarded with a view of an otter crunching up a crab for lunch! There are lovely rural walks from the doorstep of Tigh na Mara, which sleeps two, as well as a quiet beach a scenic walk away at Portfield.

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Craig Ben Lodge, Lochbuie

Presiding over the quiet shores of Loch Uisg, a freshwater loch between lochs Spelve and Buie, Craig Ben Lodge is ideal for group getaways, sleeping 10 people. The walled garden is a tranquil spot from which to watch the local wild and birdlife.

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Torr na Locha, Ardtun

Moving round to the Ross of Mull in the south west, Torr na Locha, which sleeps eight, has a stunning location by Loch Scridain. This house is another must-stay for marine wildlife on Mull. The chance to spot dolphins while enjoying an afternoon in the garden is not one to be missed!

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Macquarie House, Gruline

Set just inland of the island’s west coast by the side of the water on Loch Ba, Macquarie House is a tranquil hideaway loved by guests and wildlife on Mull alike!

In the spring, a sea of bluebells decorate the lawn, while the deciduous woodland also returns to leaf. The varied habitats and proximity to Loch na Keal make this an excellent wildlife-watching base for groups of up to 10.

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Snipe Cottage, Torloisk

Further north up Mull’s west coast, you’ll find Snipe Cottage. This contemporary house benefits from huge windows, which reveal excellent views over Loch Tuath. Beaches, mountains and lochs are all within easy reach of this house, giving guests ample opportunity to spot the ‘big five’ wildlife on Mull.

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Witch’s Cottage, Croig

In the north-west corner of the island lies Witch’s Cottage, which sleeps four. Croig is a charming spot, with a small harbour and some beautiful beaches to explore. The surrounding woodland and coast makes Witch’s Cottage a great location for watching wildlife on Mull. Scan the skies for soaring eagles or shelter by the rocky shore to wait for otters.

Discover some of Mull’s most magical remote holiday cottages here.

 

If you're planning a birdwatching or nature-inspired trip, find out about our best cottages for wildlife on Mull, with wild views from the window!

Daisy Cottage, Fishnish

Sleeping six, Daisy Cottage is perfect for a family holiday. It’s also perfect for making the most of the wildlife on Mull, with an observatory, microscope and binoculars provided. White-tailed eagles are regular visitors to the area. The garden and pond also attracts varied wildlife, with cameras set up on site to help you spot it.

 

Find out more about Mull’s resident wildlife and the tours available.

Isle of Mull Wildlife Highlights of 2017

The varied and spectacular Isle of Mull wildlife is one of the island’s biggest attractions. Here are some of the most unique Mull wildlife moments spotted in 2017.

The King of our Seas

On Mull we’re fortunate to be able to observe kings of the airwaves on a regular basis: Golden and White-Tailed Eagles. But Mull being an island, it is surrounded by the largest habitat on planet Earth, the ocean. On a rare occasion you may even get to see marine royalty and the ocean’s top predator patrolling the big blue… Orca.

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.

A Visit During Autumn On Mull

Autumn on Mull can be spectacular, from its starry, dark skies to the changing colours of the landscape and the wildlife waiting to be discovered...

Author looking over Loch na Keal near Kellan Mill Lodge

I was a latecomer to Mull. Shamefully late in fact. Having moved to Scotland in 2003 and consciously making the decision at that point to explore every corner of my adopted home, it was 12 long years before I set foot on the island. It wasn’t until my second visit that I experienced autumn on Mull.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

My first obstacle was an earnest but naïve fixation on climbing munros (Scotland’s 282 hills over 3000ft) and ONLY munros. I did so with single-minded determination for the first few years. In so doing I completely overlooked the walking potential of rugged ‘lesser’ hills on the islands or the unique atmosphere and challenges of their wild, convoluted coastlines… two things Mull has in spades. But when that fixation happily abated, a second and unexpected obstacle took its place.

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