Friday, 13 July 2012

The Wonders Of Mull

Been a tad busy over the past few weeks, completely moved out of halls, settled back home, with the occasional drive to work for the weekly torture shifts! But last week seen me and a group of friends drive up the west coast of Scotland on route to the Isle of Mull. The drive was long, as I started my journey from Northumberland to Penrith to pick up a few people for the trip and then to Carlisle to meet up the a few more people, and off we went. a few hops, skips, jumps and two ferries later we landed on Mull. What a beauty it was. Crystal clear waters, lush green grass, hills, valleys, waterfalls, it was like being in the setting for the next Jurassic Park film, less the dinosaurs of course. We drove to were our camp site was going to be for the next week, a beauty of a spot, located on the edge of Loch Na Keal. Amazing views though out. The waters a playground for otters, seals and porpoise, and the skies thermals creating a fantastic atmosphere for White Tailed Eagles and Golden Eagles. After we set up our tents and organised our selves we had a small walk around the site, the light was still on our side. Views of a White Tailed eagle could be seen with the female steadily seated in one of the conifers, bold as brass. The views behind us seen a small group of Fallow Deer grazing in fields. Amazed by what I had seen in less than 30 mins, it was sure to be a mind blowing trip.

The night had flown by, and we were all up ready to take a boat trip to the Treshnish Islands just to the west of Mull. On route to the trip we encountered a number of Otters within the loch shore swimming from rock to rock, a spectacle to see.
 The first island to land on was Staffa, as the boat ferried around the island, views of the infamous Finglas Cave could be seen. As we landed we climbed the steep steps up to the fresh green grassy land, walking around what seemed lifeless at first, until we headed over to the north east side where the cliffs were harboured with Fulmars and Guillemots, and the occasional Shag flying by.

After our short stay we headed back to the boat ready to take the journey to what I'm sure what is what everyone was waiting for, Lunga "a green jewel in peacock sea", the breeding ground for many puffins, gulliemots, and razorbills.

If you could add another wonder to the world then I would defiantly nominate the Isle of Mull for the entry. It has everything you could need. The endless amount of terrain, marine, marshland, woodland, moorland, with everyone playing habitat to an array of wildlife.

On one of the days at Mull we booked a trip with Sealife Surveys Whale Watching, and i have to say it is one of the best trips i have been on. Seven hours of pure bliss! I would recommend this trip to anyone, the amount of sighting of marine wildlife is outstanding. Basking sharks, Harbour Porpoise, Common Dolphins and Minke Whale. Whilst on the boat i encountered what i will say will be one of the most memorable sightings of my life, what seemed like a scene from Jaws except with no razor sharp teeth and massive amount of plankton, a basking shark swam direct for the boat, under and to the other side, obviously not bothered by the vessel.

And not long after a pod of Common Dolphins gave a good sighting.

And the biggest highlight of the day, a Minke Whale gave the biggest show of all, merging to the surface of the water, unfortunately no pictures of this close encounter as believe it or not, the lens i had on my camera was had a range to big to capture the massive creature, however I did manage to capture the Minke moments before.

Another trip be embarked on was the Eagle trip, which allowed us to get up close and personal with a number of White Tailed Eagles. Another amazing experience. This place was beginning to feel like paradise. WHat else could you want to capture an unreal amount of wildlife.

After our trips we explored more of the island to be continuously blown away by sightings. Short Eared  Owls hunting on on field, and glances to the next a Hen Harrier could be seen doing the same. Unbelievable.
From driving through the single track roads sightings of Red Deer were also spotted. After stopping the car, and agreeing to "try and snipe" over to them myself and Ciara, managed to get relatively close and refrained from disturbing them.

The wildlife around the Island is not the only thing Mull boats, there a plenty of opportunities for any amount of landscapes.

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