bird watching isle mull
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Iona is thought to be the first Christian site in Scotland. As such, this tiny island (1 mile wide, 3.5 miles long), now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, is very popular with pilgrims and the thousands of tourists who come to visit the Abbey in the summer months. If you want to feel its magic, the best time to be on Iona is either early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the hundreds of day-trippers who pour off the ferry every day. If the area around the Abbey gets too busy for you, then find one of Iona's sandy beaches and relax. The south and western parts of the island are not so well visited, but well worth seeing. Iona has its own very special atmosphere and apart from having some beautiful beaches, it is also undoubtedly the best place in the area to see, or at least 'hear', the very rare Corncrake.
Mull, however, is really noted for its Raptors. Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Buzzard, Short Eared Owl, Kestrel and, of course, the two eagle species are expected to be seen by any wildlife enthusiast visiting the island. However, wherever you are, in the remoter parts of the world, you should consider going out with a local guide, because this will obviously maximise your chances of seeing the more unusual species in any area. Nothing can really replace local knowledge.
The Island is a massive island, having around three hundred miles of Coastline! Yet amazingly the entire island has a population of under three thousand people. When you see an Otter, Eagle or Dolphin, it will invariably be in a truly wild and beautiful setting.
The isles lie off Scotlands West coast, part of the Hebridean archipelago of almost 500 islands. With a population of just under 3000 on an island fifty miles from North to South, the island is one of the largest Hebridean islands, but like them all, sparsely populated. The main population centre is Tobermory, where nearly 1,000 people live and work.
The island is deservedly well known , it has superb walking, fishing and outdoor pursuits amid spectacular scenery. There is abundant wildlife on land, in the surrounding seas and in the air elements of a rare natural environment that bring many people to visit and to live.
The Islands Chamber of Commerce works to protect the interests of all the islands businesses and these businesses are very varied. Although the most influential business sector may be of course tourism, there are many other types and sizes of company on the island. It is home to a number of small (but ‘exporting’) food producers – organic beef and lamb is reared, cheese is made from island milk, handmade chocolates, shortbread, organic biscuits, preserves and much more is made here. Tobermory Distillery produces a fine single malt whisky, and there are many talented craftspeople making unique knitwear, pottery, tweeds and silverware. Salmon, trout, prawns, lobsters and other shellfish are popular delicacies and important resources.
Modern communications increasingly make the choice of business location not one of ‘where do I need to be to access my customers?’ but ‘where would I like to carry on my business?’.
From Oban, on the mainland, where many visitors arrive on their way to the islands, the seaward view is dominated by the rocky peaks and green slopes of the Mull mountains.
They are silent, lonely islands of rushing, tumbling burns, high peaks, dramatic views, waterfalls, wildlife, history and atmosphere.
According to your interests, the islands can be a wilderness awaiting discovery, a sporting paradise, a haven of peace and relaxation or simply a charming and beautiful centre for a Highland holiday away from the cares and pressures of modern life.