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Sound of Mull
This is much more than a sheltered sea lane to adventures beyond the Isle of Mull and the mainland Morven shore. Cuckoos in the spring, white tailed sea eagles year round, CalMac ferries steaming up and down, snow on the hills in the early autumn, views of Ben More, and the prospect of Ardnamurchan point and the open sea as you turn the corner at Tobermory.
It is a safe place to be, even when the weather is bad elsewhere, with sheltered places like Lochaline and Tobermory, both with interest ashore. And there is always Loch Sunart as another place to escape bad weather. Look out for the historic MacLean fortress of Duart Castle guarding the South entrance to the Sound and Lady’s Rock. Perhaps the skipper will retell the story of how this lone outcrop got its name in days of clan rivalry and intrigue.
A possible stop in the Sound of Mull is Loch Aline. Frank Cowper, a pioneering yachtsman, said of Loch Aline in 1896: “This is really an ideal anchorage. With beautiful scenery, perfect safety, a good inn close by, and mail steamers every day except Sunday. Loch Aline is almost perfection”. There is a great walk with wild flowers and views, along the coast to Ardtornish Castle. There is a walk up the hill behind the village to Keil Church, which provides a lovely view across the gravestones up the Sound of Mull. A small building next to the church contains a wonderful collection of medieval Scottish grave slabs.
These are very well displayed with excellent information about them. It was to this area that the St Kildans were evacuated in 1930, providing their first sight of trees, let alone roads and motor cars. Tobermory, at the north of the Sound of Mull, is a bustling yet charming island community, one of the most attractive on the West Coast. We may stop here for fuel and provisioning and the shore amenities include very good quality showers and a laundry, as well as restaurants, shops and a distillery.
For first time visitors to these parts it is not to be missed. If the fleshpots seem less attractive to the crew than quiet anchorages near at hand we will often choose to overnight at one of these after re-provisioning the boat.