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1st August, 2016

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Forecast foul weather resulted in an itinerary change, so after leaving Seydisfjordur we headed south for the Outer Hebrides and made a ‘drive by’! The islands of St. Kilda are no longer permanently inhabited and yet they are some of the most beautiful to be seen, great tall cliffs and volcanic plugs reaching out from the depths. The only witness to our passing was a million Gannets as I asked everyone on deck to stay silent and just listen to their noisy ‘chatter’as we passed the 172 meter tall Stac Lee, the rocky sides of which were stained white with their guano.

The Bay of Tobermory is an excellent sheltered anchorage and, using stern and bow anchors, Saga Sapphire became the largest yacht in the yacht harbour, well at least for eight hours. Our tenders ran back and forward over the short distance to the shore pontoon, conveniently placed close enough for the distillery and the charming coloured buildings for which the town is perhaps best known from the children’s programme Balamory.

Mrs R and I had the last two places on the coach travelling along the narrow road the length of the Sound of Mull in order to visit that most Scottish of Castles, the 13th century Duart Castle, and the ancestral home of the Maclean Clan. While our group commenced their tour we nipped off for a cup of coffee and were most pleased to meet, by chance, the Clan Chief, Sir Lachlan Maclean. I promised to blow the ships whistle as we passed down the Mull later in the day. The Castle is a little gem, restored in 1914 after being bought as a complete ruin by Sir Fitzroy Maclean. Apart from the excellent views from the battlements along the Mull and over towards Ben Nevis, visitors can also see inside, the Great Hall, the State Bedroom, kitchen, pantry, and dungeons which became the last resting place for a few captured sailors from the Spanish Armada that were sheltering in the Mull from bad weather out at sea.

Returning to Tobermory, the main harbour street was very busy, not only with our passengers, but those that had arrived for a day trip on the ferry from Oban. It was a complete change from our Iceland calls and very much appreciated by our passengers. Leaving shortly after four, we passed down the Mull, blowing the horn as promised and, much to our delight we could see the flags of Scotland being waved energetically by the family standing out on the castle lawn. Marvellous.

Captain Philip Rentell

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.