Part 4: Bays and harbours
After our arrival at Calgary bay, we walked along the beach to a farm track on the opposite side, before cutting right to a public car-park and walking up the road to see the local artist’s studio and workshops, Calgary Art in Nature. We had a brief look in the store window before following signs for a woodland sculpture walk up through their garden and over the local hills.
We passed many interesting and colourful installations, from wood carvings to pottery to bronze castings, all integrated into the trees or the elaborate pathways created for ease of exploration. At the top we surprisingly arrived at a short light aircraft landing strip, ideal for microlights, before descending again past more sculptural oddities to reach the road.
Tiny little Calgary bay on this remote north-west corner of the Isle of Mull was also the seed for a much larger settlement. A gentleman named McLeod, an officer in the Canadian Mounties, had once stayed at Calgary Castle. On his return to Alberta he was tasked with the naming of a new fort and, with fond memories of his visit, he chose the name ‘Calgary’. From this fort, the modern city of Calgary was eventually born.
The next day we awoke to more rain, but by the time we had dressed for our planned walk the changeable clouds had evaporated and the sun lit up the beach. We headed up the farm track we discovered before, hugging the coastline on the north side of the bay on narrow sheep tracks all the way to the rocky headland. From here we walked across the end fields with superb elevated views out to Tiree, Coll and South Uist.
A bright sun and a glorious blue sky greeted us as we clambered around this green, bumpy headland. We climbed the steep mossy banks behind to reach the boggy high plateau above, skirting along the edge of the bay at a much higher elevation than before. We passed difficult, jaggy trees and curious sheep before dropping back down on another farm track and returned to the beach by the same route we originally took out.
We made it back just as the changeable weather turned again into a sodden deluge, so we passed the remainder of the afternoon snug in Benny as we watched the rain fall outside. We organised our next steps, deciding that it was off to the main town of Tobermory the following morning for us; no island visit is complete without at least a short visit to the obligatory whisky distillery.
We set off in the morning, with the rain back in full force, and slowly made our way along the narrow, single track roads back to Dervaig and through on to Tobermory where we parked up at the harbour with a delightful view over the water to the well-known colourful facades of the town’s main street.
The persistent drizzle, or dreich weather, continued unabated for our time in the town, so we had only a short wander to the opposite end. We returned the same way and heading indoors, into the Tobermory Distillery. The small shop and reception was a little disappointing for not having much to browse, and we didn’t feel quite up for a full tour, having been on many similar jaunts before. So we decided to move on and call our time on Mull to an end. We drove south to Craignure and sneaked on the next ferry back to Oban, having to wait for only a few short minutes before being allowed to board.
We drove east from Oban, following the same route on the A85 as before, passing Ben Lui, now buried deep in cloud. The weather was a far cry from what we had experienced when we climbed the peak just a week or so ago. We changed tact at Crianlarich and went south to Dunbarton, through Glasgow, and on to just south of Dumfries, to the quaint village of New Abbey to overnight.
We parked up at the old abbey and relaxed, after our long drive. We spent a very pleasant evening and early morning here, before heading off for the final five hours of driving back to our base in Lincolnshire. This marked the end of another lovely little tour in Benny, with the final preparations and packing for our main summer jaunt to the northern wilds of Norway now set to begin; we will be off in only a few short weeks.