We had a mini break on Mull last week and a wonderful time was had by all, despite the fact that Noah built an ark after a lighter rainfall.
The dug was made to feel most welcome wherever he went. He reckons it’s because people recognised him from his recent appearance in the Historic Scotland magazine. We noticed he was busting some moves in the holiday snaps we took of him – so it seems his minor brush with celebrity has gone straight to his head.
We took our time on the way there, stopping at various sites for some photos and a wander in the lovely spring sunshine – sadly it wasn’t to last. We had lunch at the delightfully, dog friendly Capercaillie in Killin, an old favourite of ours. This is a red squirrel spotting hot spot, and they’re often seen dashing around Capercaillie’s woodland garden. You need the reflexes of a Ninja to photograph them though.
We spent a really enjoyable night at the Ben More Lodges, Crianlarich and were up early next morning for breakfast before our drive to Oban to catch the ferry to Mull. Casper was over the moon when he realised that this was an establishment that served a hearty dug breakfast too.
He was offered a choice and opted for sausage, figuring he’d hike off the extra calories when he got to Mull.
We arrived in a grey skied Oban with Mull looking worryingly misty in the distance.
Seeing CalMac ferries always makes me happy as it means we’re heading to a gorgeous Hebridean destination. For me Mull is the jewel in the Hebridean crown, I’ve always adored the place. It has everything – breathtaking and diverse scenery, marvellous wildlife, pretty villages and history in abundance.
Back on our favourite island we were keen to enjoy the beauty and tranquility immediately, so we decided to hike for a couple of hours before lunch. We headed to Langamull by Dervaig. The weather was looking increasingly ominous, so we donned our waterproofs and Casper his smart red hiking jacket and off we set. Soon the wind was blowing a hoolie and the rain was lashing down sideways.
If you were wondering what drookit meant from the title of this blog then let me explain. Drookit is a Scots word for soaking wet. It’s wonderfully expressive. If it’s new to you why don’t you casually throw it into conversation to impress your friends and family. To advance your Scots language skills further combine drookit with dreich (also in the title of this blog) as follows “Och what an awfy dreich day it’s been. I got fair drookit when that rain came lashing doon.”
We battled on through torrential rain and high wind – Mr G because I’d really bigged up Langamull beach which we were heading to, and me because I knew there was a ruined clearance village on our return journey. I’d omitted to mention this during my car salesman like beach pitch earlier.
You may be looking at the photos above and thinking I’ve over egged my description of the foul weather for dramatic effect. I haven’t though, what you’re seeing are the magical colours of the Hebrides. Even on a dreich day the waters are a gorgeous turquoise colour. Contrasted against white sands and the green of the machair it’s easy to forget your face is throbbing from a thorough sand, wind and rain blasting. No wonder the Scottish Colourists painted these islands. They cry out to be encapsulated in watercolour.
Despite the weather we all enjoyed the beautiful beach. As we began our trudge back towards the car I wondered how I was going to drop the bombshell that we weren’t quite done with our walk yet. There was still a clearance village to explore!
When we came to a signpost pointing towards Kildavie I brass necked it and announced that this was the return route. I casually hinted at some ruins in the vicinity but tried to sound disinterested. Then as if quite out of the blue, they were before us – Kildavie or Cill Da Bhide in Gaelic, a long abandoned settlement with the stone outline of several buildings still clearly visible. Archaeological work is ongoing but the site has already given up some clues as to what life was like for those who once lived there.
Mr G stood looking bored to tears. You may remember he doesn’t share my passion for ruinous piles of stone, yet most of his holidays and day trips consist of visits to see them.
Luckily for me my fib about this detour being the return route was indeed now true. Some recent tree felling had turned this into a cicular walk as opposed to an optional detour as part of the Langamull Beach walk. Phew!
Weighed down under a ton of wet waterproof the walk back to the car seemed to take an age but the Wee White Dug soldiered on bravely.
We opted to have lunch at the dug friendly Ballachroy Inn at nearby Dervaig. Established in 1608 it’s Mull’s oldest inn.
There was a moment of panic when the waitress announced they had two soups on, potato & cabbage or enough for one portion of carrot & coriander. Having subjected Mr G to rainy ruins and knowing he’d likely take the huff if I claimed the carrot & coriander as my own I fell on my sword and chose the cabbage & potato. We both went for haggis Bonbons to follow.
Casper settled by the nearest radiator to dry off and relax.
When our food arrived my soup was a swampy green colour. I took a taste and a feeling of smug superiority washed over me. I’d won the battle of the soups and chosen the most horrible sounding, best soup ever – it was awesome. Mr G tried it and agreed. His was good but mine was definitely awesome. We all loved the haggis bonbons. Casper realising the soup course was over was posing like a show pony at the side of the table for a taste of some haggis.
Somewhat drier, well fed and having finished a nice pot of hot coffee we set off towards pretty Tobermory, our base for the weekend.
We spent the evening relaxing with some food and fizz at The Park Lodge Hotel, another dug friendly Mull establishment. For anyone familiar with the children’s TV show Balamory you’d instantly recognise the bright yellow Park Lodge Hotel as Josie Jump’s house!
It seemed like this was going to be a good weekend for food as I had the best homemade bread and butter pudding I have ever eaten. Perfect comfort food to fill your boots on a cold and wet March weekend.
Casper snoozed under the table until a couple of petite, curly-haired blondes rocked up with their humans. It was love at first sight for him. His wee chest puffed up like a pigeon and his tail almost wagged clean off. He was smitten and it seems the adoration was mutual. Later he told us they’d fallen for his natty dress sense and had complimented his Harris Tweed bow tie.
About to enjoy a wee Baileys Irish Cream over ice to round off the night, I remembered too late that the boy has a thing for Baileys. Clearly giddy with love, he bold as brass took a hearty swigg from my glass before I could stop him. Mmmm, there’s nothing quite like sharing your delicious nightcap with a hairy-faced, slobbery terrier!
I’ll share more of this wonderful island with you in my next blog.
Until next time …….