To Tobermory, & Scotland vs. England

27 02 2006

Had a decent breakfast this morning – not as good as York, but still decent. Then went for a walk around town. It was BEAUTIFUL out. Sunny and rather warm — +7-8 I would say. I walked up the hill to McCaigs Tower, a “family monument” built by a 19th century Oban banker to keep the local stonemasons employed during the winter. It was not completed (though it looks as it is) and work stopped upon his death. Over on Mull they call it McCaigs’ folly.

Oban Inside

At 10, as the ferry was leaving, the tourist board opened. Found out a number of things – no distilleries in the district are open weekends this time of year, no seals about, and the 10 o’clock ferry was the last one that would allow me to go to Iona for the day. But the noon ferry would take me to a bus that would take me to Tobermory. Iona, it is not, but still a good days journey.

Impressive lighthouse Mountains Some Castle

Off onto the ferry at noon, with beautiful sun splashing the decks, tempered only by a stiff eastern breeze. Soon enough, we were on the Isle of Mull. Quickly on the bus, up the road to Tobermory. Keith and Beth were telling me about the one-lane roads on Mull, where there are lay-abouts where you pass. Interesting to ride in a bus doing 60-70 Km/h on a one-way road with cars siding over to let us pass.

Tobermory is beautiful, with brightly coloured buildings surrounding a tight bay, with small boats hugging the pubic dock. Had a good fish lunch at a bakery, and a nice walk in and about the town for a few hours until the bus took us back to the ferry.

Tobermorry spireTobermorry Fishing Boats Tobermorry

As an aside, Keith was telling me before I left of one of the “oddities” of his visit to Iona. In the cafeteria at the Abbey, where the tourists ate their lunches, there was one of the finest selections of scotch behind the bar he had ever seen. EVERY pub and other public house I have been into in this part of the world has had an amazing selection of single malts. Indeed, where I had supper tonight had Oban 14 year on the speed pour!

So as we got on the bus back to the ferry, our bus driver starts a commentary on the PA system. I can’t understand half of what he is saying, but the half I can understand is pretty funny. The other half must be too as the rest of the bus is laughing at it. As we are about the depart another driver tries to hand our driver a headset mike, but he waves him off – he can drive with one hand he says.

One handed driving, a bus, a standard bus, on a winding one-lane road. I am glad I have a front row seat for this.

We drive along, the commentary non-stop, the transmission being abused as he is not shifting enough. The jake brake belching as we go down the hills. We miss cars by inches as they wait for us, our driving waving at all the locals, still holding the mike in his other hand. Surprisingly, I am not frightened.

Oban sunset Seagull

Back onto the ferry for a sunset cruse back to Oban. Cooler tonight than last, I try to find a pub that is NOT playing Scotland vs. England Rugby on the television. I find a bar with the sign in the door NO TEAM JERSEYS ALLOWED. Looks safe enough. Better than the pub across the street literally shaking from the songs being sung and stamped in it. Scotland won, and the bar manager sends all the non heavily tattooed staff up to the non smoking area upstairs. Safety I guess. My pie and beer done, I make my way back to my room, remembering the notice at Glasgow Queen Street station basically announcing “No alcohol allow on ANY train in Scotland on Saturday due to rugby match in Edinburgh”

They are still drunkenly partying out on the street as I write this.

To do some walks tomorrow then Edinburgh.

/Brian

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One response

1 03 2006
/D

Some great pictures! Looks like your having fun. Maybe send /M and /U postcards in Weyburn.

Enjoy!

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