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 Wee White 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 that he was posing like a turkey in the photos we snapped 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 to take photos and wander in the lovely spring sunshine – sadly it wasn’t to last.
We had lunch at the super, dog friendly Capercaillie in Killin – an old favourite of ours. It’s a red squirrel hot spot too, and they can often be seen dashing around Capercaillie’s woodland garden. You need the reflexes of a Ninja to photograph them though as they’re nippy wee devils.
We were up at the crack of dawn the next morning for an early breakfast, before our drive to Oban to catch the ferry to Mull. Casper was delighted when he discovered that this was an establishment that served a hearty dug breakfast too.
He was given a choice and opted for sausage, figuring he’d hike off the extra calories when he got to Mull.
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. As we headed to Langamull by Dervaig the weather was looking increasingly ominous. 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’re wondering what drookit meant from the title of this blog, let me explain. Drookit is a wonderfully, expressive Scots word for soaking wet. If it’s new to you why not 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 “What an awfy dreich day it’s been the day. I got 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 (our walk destination), and me because I knew there was a ruined clearance village on our return journey. I’d conveniently 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 grasses of the machair, it’s easy to forget that your face is throbbing from a 40mph sand, wind and rain blasting. No wonder the Scottish Colourists painted these beautiful islands – they cry out to be encapsulated in watercolour.
Despite the weather we all enjoyed the beautiful Hebridean 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 our return route back to the car (as far as I knew this was a bare faced lie but I was willing to risk it for a ruin). As we walked I casually hinted at some ruins in the vicinity but tried to sound disinterested and vague. 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 quite 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 soaking wet waterproofs, our trudge back to the car seemed to take an age but the Wee White Dug soldiered on stoically.
We decided 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 take the huff if I claimed the carrot & coriander I chose the cabbage & potato. We both picked 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 tentatively tasted it and a feeling of smug superiority washed over me. I’d won the battle of the soups and chosen the most vile 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 now like a show pony at the side of the table for a taste of some haggis – he was in luck.
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. Jumping Josie was nowhere to be seen, so I can only assume she’d been driven indoors by the torrential rain!
It seemed like this was going to be a great weekend for food as I had the best homemade bread and butter pudding I have ever eaten that night. 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 …….