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One of Scotland's most historic and venerated sites, lona Abbey is a celebrated Christian centre and the burial place of early Scottish kings. The Abbey and Nunnery grounds house one of the most comprehensive collections of Christian carved stones in Scotland, ranging in age from 600AD to the 1600s. In AD 563 C and his twelve disciples landed at Port na Curaich (Harbour of the Coracle) to build a monastery and establish a school of learning, having travelled in a hide-covered craft from Ireland. They introduced a faith which was to spread far beyond these islands and indeed Scotland itself.
Iona, only 3 miles (4.8 km) from north to south and 1½ miles (2.4 km) east to west is steeped in history For centuries people have been visiting Iona. This picture (below) from an early 20th century postcard shows a party landing on the slipway. Modern visitors use the ferry run by Caledonian MacBrayne which leaves from Fionnphort. Note that cars are not permitted on Iona.
Tobermory was built as a fishing port in the late 18th century and is now the main village on the island. It is a picture-postcard of a place with the brightly painted buildings along the pier and the high wooded hills surrounding the bay. The village has a good variety of shops, hotels, and other hostelries as well as being the administrative centre for the island. The harbour is always busy with fishing boats, yachts and the ferry to and from Kilchoan during the summer months.
There is reputed to be the wreck of a Spanish galleon somewhere in the mud at the bottom of the bay. The ship was part of the defeated Armada of 1588 and was fleeing the English fleet when she anchored in Tobermory to take on provisions. Following a dispute over payment the ship caught fire which caused the gunpowder to explode. She was supposed to have been carrying millions of gold coins when she went to the bottom but no-one has ever managed to find any sign of the ship or the treasure.
The Island is the second largest of the Hebrides, lying just off the west coast of Scotland more or less half-way up. It is an island of peninsulas which give it a long and varied coastline offering the visitor endless days of exploration and discovery. The economy is a healthy mix of farming, fishing, and tourism giving the visitor with a view of genuine island life while providing lots of interesting recreations.The mountains which stretch across the middle of the island rise to over 900m and are well-loved by hill walkers such is the variety of routes and views to be enjoyed. The isles of Mull and Iona lie off the west coast of Scotland. With a population of just under 3000 on an island fifty miles from North to South, the Mull 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 Isle of Mull is deservedly well known as a holiday island, with 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.
Mull is a wildly beautiful place. Accessible by ferry from Oban, Lochaline, or Kilchoan, there is plenty for visitors to see and do. Mull boasts attractive villages and mountains, and there are beaches and castles to visit for those wanting a more relaxing time.
The ferry from Oban arrives at Craignure and from here visitors can take the short trip on the Mull Railway to Torosay Castle. Here there are ornamental gardens and, inside, some wonderful 19th Century furniture and carpets.