Skye to Mull

The Cuillin at its best

Early morning at Carbost with the Cuillins as a sublime backdrop

Today was was a long sail; ten hours, with a lunch stop in Loch Scavaig,looking into the heart of the Cuillin.

Skye’s Black Cuillin from Loch Scarvaig
The Black Cuillin is composed of the igneous rock known as Gabbro, which has magnetic properties that render a compass useless

It was the third time I’d been to this part of Skye. Once with mum and dad on a family holiday when I was in my early teens, then with Gwenda before we were married. On both occasions we had taken the small boat out of Elgol to Loch Coruisk and were awe struck with the power and sublime beauty of the Cuillin.

It was the same this time and there was enough of the tops showing through ever changing clouds to once again experience the full allure of these magnificent mountains.

Heading out of Loch Scavaig to the Small Isles

Small Isles

Eigg, Britain’s most eco friendly island

After lunch we sailed south past Rum then hugged the east side of Eigg, another one of the now many islands that were calling to us. Muck was on our port side as we headed down towards Ardnamurchan Point and into the Sound of Mull. A glorious summer Great-northern Diver gracefully tacked passed us and a White-tailed Eagle was spotted over Bloody Bay, (north of Tobbermory) where a pair have bred for the last few years. A Peregrine dashed by heading towards the mainland and once again small parties of Kittiwakes and Terns wended their flighty way across our bow.

Cleadale cliffs on Eigg, the white band is evidence of a larva flow. Chemical compositions in this band of mugearite rock encourages a different colonisation of lichen which results in the rock appearing lighter.
‘An Sgurr’ at 393 metres (1,289 ft) is the highest point on Eigg

It was gone 7.30pm when we moored up on the pontoons at Tobbermory, the Kylebhan looking solid and now very homely against the super yachts that lay along side. A short sail down the sound in the morning was all we had left, although Gwenda and I had another month in our VW van to look forward to. We hadn’t accomplished our dream but we’d seen things and places we would never have had the chance to experience. It had simply been brilliant!

The crisp clean lines of the Kittiwake
The Kittiwake is now on the British red list
Peregrines can reach 200mph on a dive
A non breeding Great-northern Diver. Some stay off the northern coasts in summer, but it is mainly a winter visitor to our shores

We were Actually working

Imogen with her ingenius drawing contraption. On more than one occasion we asked what ice cream she had for us!
Steve responding to the trip through music
Mike working on his vast sky and islands series
The expectation of what might turn up kept me occupied for hours

We had all been ‘working’ on this trip. Imogen had been sketching throughout and had a brilliant home made device that allowed her to freely sketch whilst walking or travelling through the landscape. With a turn of a wheel cogs began to roll the paper through, thereby creating a linear series of sketches that acknowledged time. Steve was filming throughout and making recordings on his Zoom H1, the same recorder I was using to record a diary at the end of each day. He was also recording new responses to the land and seascape on his guitar. Mike was using his iPhone camera and composing images with vast skies and posting them whenever signal allowed. He was also absorbing every moment and recording the flowers we had seen on our brief walks on the islands.

Super yachts and the Kylebhan moored up at Tobbermory
Late evening at Tobbermory

We will all reconvene in the autumn to see what we produced on the trip and how we have subsequently responded to our time around the islands. In many ways a trip like this is never over, it holds in the memory so vividly and feeds your very being long after you have debarked for the last time.

Filed under: Scotland 2018Tagged with: , , ,


  1. Great post Tim, love that sketching contraption

  2. Cheers Andy

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *
Name *
Email *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.