Welcome To My World of Pedals and Paddles

An account of my Sea Kayaking and Mountain Biking exploits

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Circumnavigation of Iona

Jubilee weekend and fine weather resulted in a quick trip to the west coast of Scotland and a visit to one of our favourite places - The Isle of Mull.

We caught the half past ten ferry from Oban on Friday evening and I crawled into my new tent about half one Saturday morning having left Bridgend at six am Friday. Not a bad effort I thought.

Saturday morning dawned with fine weather and noisy kids. Fidden campsite was packed. We had a relaxed breakfast and waited for the tide.

 There was quite a strong NE wind so the plan was to travel clockwise around Iona taking advantage of any shelter from the wind that we could find on the west side. We also hoped to get a push from the flood tide up the west side and then use the ebb tide to travel back down the sound of Iona to Fidden with the wind behind us.

We launched from the beach at Fidden and headed over to the south end of Iona

We rounded the southern end of the island without incident and passed close to the bay where St Columba is reputed to have landed in 563. There were a couple of small overfalls between the main land and some small islands which increased our speed to over six knots and briefly added to the excitement.

There was a swell running up the west side so we kept well out from the beach at The Bay at the Back of the Island. This was a shame because we wanted to go and have a closer look but we did not relish getting trashed in the surf.

At the north end of the island there are some beautiful white sandy beaches which you can see from miles away, this is where we decided to stop and have a brew.

It was an excellent place to stop and wait for the tide to turn.

After our brew stop we rounded the top of the island and headed into the Sound of Iona with the wind behind us and the tide just starting to turn.

The island is 1.6 Km wide and 5.6 Km long.The highest point is Dun i a small hill near to the north end of the island behind the monastery. It is 101m high and is the site of an Iron age fort. Apparently on clear day you can see Ireland from here.

The monastery was founded by St Columba after his enforced exile from Ireland. It is a very spiritual place and the burial site for 48 Kings from Scotland (Alba) 8 from Norway and 4 from Ireland.

We had a brief stop at the village of Baille Mor. This is where the ferry from Fionnphort docks and is where most of the visitors to the island first experience the atmosphere of the place.

After a little bit of ferry dodging we headed over to Fidden and a welcome tea.

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