Kidnapped by Mull

Looking out of the Isle of Mull hotel’s restaurant window during breakfast towards a stunning orange sun rising over a still Sound of Mull, and with a haunting Gaelic ballard playing in the background, it is nearly enough to make you weep.  

Of course, weeping is what David Balfour, the main character in Kidnapped, did when he thought he couldn’t get off Mull.  But in coming to his senses and later crossing the Sound and then Loch Linnie, he escaped back to the mainland.  

I love Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Kidnapped and I thought of this book while looking out over of the Sound on this beautiful morning and thought that retracing a book character’s journey or visiting the locations of a favourite film, is big tourism.  

Scotland’s wonderful landscapes provide the backdrop of many classic novels. From the breathless chase across the moors of Dumfries and Galloway in John Buchan’s Thirty-Nine Steps; to the Glenfinnan viaduct at the top of Loch Shiel, on the Great Highland Railway made famous by the Harry Potter books.  The viaduct is a now a popular sightseeing destination. And so too colourful Tobermory, due to ‘Balamory’ the children’s TV series that was filmed on the sea front.

We drive to Tobermory and have fish and chips a la fresco from the Fisherman’s Pier van down by the harbour, and we are looked over by a large seagull. 

We have been advised that a great place to take dogs for them to stretch their legs is the beach at Calgary Bay to the west of Tobermory. So we drive via Dervaig, a lovely village. When we arrive at Calgary we have the beach to ourselves.  It is a stunning spot.

We don’t take the road back to Tobermory but turn left to take the rugged coast road past Isle of Ulva; but not until I have taken a photograph of three derelict hulls of fishing boats lying together on the beach nearby.

Our trip is soon over, and we head back to Craignure to catch the ferry back to Oban.  Accommodation at Powdermills Bed and Breakfast in Argyll allows for day trips to Mull.

If Cal Mac Ferries had been running in David Balfour’s day travel between the islands would have been a lot easier for him, but retracing his steps today via a Cal Mac ferry, is I think, just as romantic. I really don’t want to come off Mull, in fact I am Kidnapped by the place.