Turus Mara discount

Turus Mara are an experienced family run boat tour operator on Mull, specialising in taking visitors out to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles. (Some of their trips take in Iona as well.)  Turus Mara has been taking people out to the Treshnish Isles for over 40 years, and as Gaelic speaking Muileachs, they know a huge amount about the history of the islands, and are experienced in these waters.  Father and son, Iain and Colin, each skipper a boat and they coined the phrase ‘puffin therapy’.

Duill Mull Cottages Calgary Turus Mara

I think I am right in saying that Turus Mara are the longest running boat trip operator on the island – plenty of experience for certain! They run a variety of trips during the summer months, some which stop at Staffa as well as landing on Lunga, the summer home of many thousands of puffins.  Turus Mara have kindly offered a 10% discount to any of our guests staying here at Treshnish. Once you have booked we can send you a code to use on their website, should you decide to go to the islands with them.

Mull Cottages views Turus Mara

Turus Mara are the nearest boat tour operators to Treshnish, a half an hours drive from here. The Turus Mara boats, the Island Lass and the Hoy Lass, operate from Ulva Ferry which is a lovely place to leave from, as the route takes you along Loch Tuath on the north side of Ulva and Gometra, and back along the south side of Ulva looking towards Ben More and Loch na Keal. I love looking at the land from the sea, and this is a stunning bit of coastline to see from the water. It also gives you the chance if you time it right to go to the Boathouse on Ulva too!

West Mull cottages Turus Mara

I have been out to the islands several times with them and those trips remain in my memory as being perfectly magical. The last time I went was when Turus Mara took the children of Ulva Ferry and Dervaig primary schools, and their parents, out on a complimentary trip.  The weather was great and seeing the delight on the childrens’ faces was wonderful! We were lucky too, as it was calm enough to stop off on Staffa, and scramble up to the top of the cave to admire the geology and the views. All in all a magical day and one which the children (and us adults) still enjoy talking about!

I am sorry I don’t have any puffin therapy photographs for this blog.

Mull cottages sunset Turus Mara

Stay on Mull this Easter

Don’t stay at home – stay on Mull this Easter! We have some spaces left here at Treshnish for the Easter week (and a few weeks left during April too) and are offering a generous discount between now and the 28th April. Please have a look at the Pricing Booking page for details!

Treshnish Mull Easter beach fog

Easter Mull Calgary beach near Treshnish

These photographs were taken yesterday morning, the sun breaking through the fog on Calgary beach. It was quite blissful. The car park had a few camper vans parked up, and I could see from the footprints in the sands that I wasn’t the first one on the beach this morning. The tide was very very low, and there were wonderful patterns in the sand.

Treshnish Mull Calgary Easter sands

Treshnish Mull cottages Easter beach

The sea was mirror calm.  When I got home the gulls were waiting in the field for Farmer to appear with the snacker to feed the ewes carrying twins.  Talk about feeding the birds.  Common gulls usually nest on the lochan, and I look forward to hearing their noisy calling.  Hopefully they will be back soon.  I saw my first Wagtails this week – it was nice to see that they were back, and when Farmer and I were down at Haunn on Tuesday – me standing at the bottom of the ladder whilst Farmer scaled the heights to put a new chimney cowl on West Cottage chimney – we watched a White tailed eagle slowly saunter across the headland.  Shortly after he disappeared from sight we could hear the alarm calls of the gulls, who clearly didn’t seem to want him around.

Treshnish Mull Easter headland

Please do get in touch if you would like to stay on Mull this Easter and like the look of our cottages – and of our late availability discount! As I write Shieling, Shian and Duill are still available the week of 8th to 15th April.

Geocaching on Mull

Have you thought of doing some geocaching on Mull?  There is an established geocaching presence on Mull, including several caches at Treshnish – although Farmer and I are not really sure where they are, or what is in them!  There is a website which gives you all the information you need – how to get started geocaching on Mull!  We were asked prior to the geocaches being placed here, but not told where they were being put exactly.  We know from talking to our guests, particularly those with children, that geocaching is great fun and gets everyone out into the great outdoors!

Mull cottages geocaching Croig

This week has been a fantastic week for getting out and about. Crystal clear days of sunshine, with wonderful sunsets, and then fabulous clear dark skies at night.  Everyone feels better for the good weather.  Two lots of guests this week have been up Ben More, and the views must have been remarkable, as it has been so clear.  From here, we have been seeing the familiar shapes of Ben More on South Uist poking out over the top of Coll.

Mull cottages Ben More

I drove home from Salen this evening along Loch na Keal and Loch Tuath. Magical colour on Ben More, and the sea was so calm. It was difficult to believe it was still only March, and the clocks haven’t sprung forward yet.

Mull cottages sunset Gribun

Treshnish Mull cottages geocaching

Last minute offers

Good morning, it’s Monday morning and why not get in touch to see if we have any last minute offers!

Treshnish Mull last minute offers

It was gloriously sunny down at Calgary this morning when I took Daughter to the school bus. It was 8am, and blissfully still, too warm for my winter coat (always a good sign!). The quiet was broken by the shrill call of Oystercatchers alarmed by us walking towards them. I wish they knew they didn’t need to fly off as we intend them no harm! They take off and land further up the beach, and as we get closer they do the same again. Finally when ‘cornered’ to close to the end of the beach, they fly out over the sea and back to the other end.

Mull Treshnish last minute offers

last minute offers Calgary Mull

We saw our first primroses yesterday and tractor wheel puddles full of frogspawn. So it really does feel that spring is on its way. Farmer has been giving our in-by Cheviot and Zwartble ewes a pre-lambing check up and they are back out in the fields now.

PS it is now evening and we have been treated to the first really technicolour sunset of the year – we have had good sunsets already but they haven’t been quite as colourful!

Mull cottage offers Calgary

Treshnish Mull cottage offers

Please get in touch if you would like to see if we have any last minute offers at the moment..

Scottish Rural Awards

We were astonished (but very delighted/embarrassed in equal measure) to be nominated for the Scottish Rural Awards in the Agriculture section.  We don’t know who did it, but assume it was one of our guests as they nominated us Treshnish & Haunn Cottages rather than Treshnish Farm.   Anyway whoever it was, thank you very much!   We were contacted by the Scottish Field who host the Awards, and asked if we could submit some information about what we do on the farm – which I did, and some time later, we were invited to attend the Awards Dinner.

Scottish Rural Awards Treshnish Mull agriculture

This is being held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh at the end of the month, but it is just when we need to be putting the ewes through the fank for their last check over before lambing and it is really not a good time to be away from the farm.  I suppose there is a slight irony in that! I am sure it will be a grand evening, and I am a little sorry that we will miss out on the razzmatazz and Fred MacCauley too!

Scottish Rural Awards Mull Treshnish Farm

On the farm the birds are behaving as if spring is in the air.  Some of our guests were treated to a fantastic display from the resident Golden Eagles over near Crackaig, which sounded wonderful – there are 3 definite pairs of Greylag hovering around the fields in front of the house and by the farm buildings. In the sunshine today the sparrows were chattering wildly, and there was a Hare in the garden again – which is always lovely to see. Farmer is feeding a lot of sheep, as the ewes approach lambing it is important to make sure they are in good condition. The field by the house has the Blackface ewes carrying twins, and they all look well, enjoying the good weather.

Scottish Rural Awards Mull aurora Croig

Good weather by day has given us some fantastic clear skies at night – last night I went to Croig, one of my favourite aurora locations!

Scottish Rural Awards Croig Mull aurora

And when I got home, I caught an Iridium flare from the house.

Scottish Rural Awards Mull Treshnish iridium

March is a busy time for the cottages this year – not only are we finishing off the winter work, but we have lots of cottage bookings too.  There are still a couple of spaces left at Easter and during April so please get in touch if you would like to book.

March sunshine

We had plenty of March sunshine today – accompanying and, at times, warming a cold wind.  Brilliant-white white horses on a deep blue sea and scudding clouds across the bluest of skies.

March has set off for us at a speedy pace, with lots going on – and lots of guests too, which is lovely – but makes the winter maintenance list a little trickier to manage!

Treshnish Mull cottages Walter

Farmer had a night away in Tyndrum doing a course which enables him to use a ‘weed wiper’ to control bracken – ‘grandfather rights’ are ceasing so all farmers have to have a license!  He took his test on Tuesday morning after the day course, so he only had to stay one night away.

March sunshine Treshnish cottages Mull

Guests arrived for West Cottage this afternoon, and I went down to say hello, just as the day of sunshine was coming to an end.  It was bitterly cold in the wind, but beautifully cosy in the cottage.   Farmer helped me get it ready this morning, and it looked lovely with March sunshine streaming in the kitchen window.

March sunshine Haunn holiday cottages

Our guests were sitting enjoying a cup of tea and an Island Bakery biscuit when I went in, the fire was on, and the setting sun was coming in the other windows!  I felt very envious of them, knowing they had a holiday ahead of them and days to relax and unwind – and the cottage was so warm and welcoming, even though I say it myself!

March sunshine Treshnish holiday cottages

Having had wonderful sunshine all day, we were treated to some lovely late afternoon light. The ewes in the Haunn field were calmly spread out grazing. We have deliberately left the gates into the garden round East Middle and West open at the moment, hoping they will graze down the long grass on the bank outside West Cottage.

Treshnish Mull cottages March sunshine

February on Mull

During February Mull has enjoyed a good spell of weather, although we have strong wind and rain again today, the 29th!  I can still ‘feel’ the pleasure of being outside and enjoying the warmth of the sun and the brightness of the sunlight whilst it lasted.

Mull Treshnish cottages February sunshine

Having scanned all the ewes last week, Farmer now knows what each ewe is expecting (or not) so he can feed them the right amount of supplementary food that they need. He has a very useful implement called a Snacker which goes behind either the quad bike or the buggy. He fills the hopper with enough food for each animal, and as he drives along the food is neatly deposited in evenly spaced piles. The ewes run behind it, squabbling over the food until they realise there is enough for every one!

Treshnish Mull holiday cottages February

There were half a dozen or so Fieldfare (?) fluttering and landing and lifting off again, across the Haunn field as we headed down to feed the Cheviots followed by the usual gang of Hooded Crows who like to supplement their own diet alongside the ewes. There were a few winter walkers out too, enjoying a February Mull winter break, doing the Headland walk, and I felt quite envious of them as it was such a beautiful morning, with not a breath of wind.

February Treshnish Mull holiday cottages

The recent clear dry days have meant some wonderful clear night skies too, with a very bright moon. No real strong aurora though, but the brightness of the moon and the clarity in the stars more than makes up for it.

Treshnish Mull self catering February moonlight

Scanning the ewes

Farmer has been busy preparing for scanning the ewes. This takes a fair bit of preparation, watching the weather forecasts, choosing the time slot to get the extra help in, and then when people and weather come together with their dogs, making sure they get the cleanest gather possible so that none of the ewes are left out on the hill. Farmer spends a lot of time moving different lots around so that they will be in the right place on the day. The whole scanning operation is quick – everything poised waiting…the button only pressed when the scanner actually arrives..

Treshnish Mull self catering scanning

This afternoon the scanner appeared, only a few minutes later than planned. His scanning crate is unloaded from his pickup and put into a slot in our fank (sheep handling facility). The ewes are brought into the pens in their different groups and gently pushed up into the race. One by one they have the monitor placed on their belly, and the scanner calls out ‘twin’ or ’empty’ – the ones that aren’t called are the singles. It takes about 2 hours to scan 536 ewes. We get a record of the numbers and our percentages.

Treshnish Mull holiday cottages ewes scanning

A quick cup of tea and he is on to the next farm or croft to start the whole thing over again. Scanning is part of the farming calendar along with the shearing where we depend on contractors coming into help. We are part of a network of farms and crofts across Scotland that the scanner visits every year. He is the link in the chain, telling the news, passing on and sharing information and stories as he goes – a sense of connection with the farms he has visited before ours – not just from Scotland but from far further afield. Our scanner is quite international and in the last year he told me, he had scanned 60,000 ewes in Scotland and the UK; 210,000 in New Zealand and 19,000 in Mexico! That is a lot of sheep!

Calgary Mull Treshnish Farm scanning

Over the next few days Farmer will go back through the ewes and make sure that the older ewes and those carrying twins get the supplementary feed they need because they are older and additional feed for carrying two lambs. The ‘eild’ (empty) ones will go back to the hill marked with a colour that Farmer will be able to see from afar, so he will know that they are not going to lamb.

Calgary Mull Treshnish scanning rainbow

Of course you never count your chickens before they are hatched, but it gives us a baseline to understand better what happens in the lambing fields and on the hill in April and May. There are lots more photographs of the scanning on the Haunnblackhouse blog.

Tailor of Inverness

We managed to get away for a night at the weekend to see the Tailor of Inverness.  This one man (and a musician) play, written and performed by Matthew Zajac, tells the story of his father, born in eastern Poland, from the outbreak of war, his journey to Scotland and his settling in Inverness.  Those of you who know me will know that I am half Polish, and that my father had a similar though very different story. I had missed seeing the Tailor of Inverness when it came to Mull a few years ago, to the Mull Theatre, so I was really keen to see it when I heard it was touring again.

Tailor of Inverness Walter

The night before we went away, the stars were incredibly bright and there was not a breath of wind. It was cold, and almost crunchy underfoot. The turkeys had gone to roost – not in their comfortable dry shed with roosting perch, but on the roof of the farmhouse extension. There was no way we could get them down. I stood outside under the stars marvelling at how bright they were. Earlier in the evening we had seen the ISS pass – it moved so quickly.

Tailor of Inverness Lochaline

We dropped Coco in the morning at her ‘second home’, and headed for Lochaline. It was wonderfully sunny and clear. We had coffee with friends on the way, picked up something to eat on the move from Fort William, and were in Inverness by 2.30pm. Top of the shopping list was bathroom paint for East Cottage! We were staying in the Premier Inn right on the river Ness. We found somewhere to eat (it was Valentines Weekend so the two places we wanted to go to were already booked, even for 5.30pm) along the river, on our way to the Eden Court Theatre. It is always lovely to walk along the river in the dark – trees are lit with pretty sparkling white lights and the bridges lit with different colours.

Tailor of Inverness Treshnish

The Tailor of Inverness was worth waiting for. Matthew Zajac really carries the story so well, with so much energy. I would see it again tomorrow, as I know I would get even more out of it. It brought back memories for me of my childhood, hearing that accent – Scottish-Polish, the same words missed out of sentences, the same mispronunciations, hearing similar stories – feeling some of the sentiment, some of the anger, some of the humour, and some of the sadness.

I recommend it, if it is touring anywhere near you – go!

As we came out of the theatre we could see snowflakes falling – transforming our view into something rather magical, and we walked back to the hotel room with snow at our feet. An early start in the morning and an easy drive with very little traffic meant we caught the 10am ferry from Lochaline back to Mull. We had been off Mull for 24 hours exactly! It was beautiful seeing the mountain tops covered in snow, coloured pink by the warming sun. A wonderful day, and we got home to a lovely afternoon, and the turkeys tried to roost on the upper bit of the roof tonight, and Daughter nearly left home at the thought of it. Thankfully she safely flew to ground again and we were able to persuade them to go to roost in their shelter.

Shian Cottage review

We received this lovely Shian Cottage review last night, from guests who departed yesterday morning. They told me they were going to write something about their stay, and I said I would put it on the website. Their visit coincided with the arrival of Storm Gertrude, which they sat out in Oban waiting for ferries. They managed to finally arrive 48 hours later before Storm Henry made his appearance! We were able to extend their stay by 2 nights to make up for the time they had lost in Oban, as we had no one coming in to Shian until the following weekend. Storm Imogen arrived on Sunday but gave us a beautifully calm Monday morning, which they were able to experience before they left!

Shian Cottage review Mull winter

“We got home safely after a lovely sunny drive down from Oban. We just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the thoroughly enjoyable break that both M and I enjoyed so much.

Despite the issues with the weather which delayed our arrival, all thoughts of that were literally “blown away” when we arrived at Shian cottage. It was really nice to meet both you and Somerset when we arrived, and to say that everything in the cottage and surroundings was just what we were looking for would be an understatement, we must also thank you for allowing us to extend our stay to make sure we did not lose out on arriving late due to the ferry cancellations.

The weather did play a big part on our sojourns on the Monday, the walk out to Haunn cottages and beyond out towards the cliff edge was extremely interesting in what felt like a force 10 gale, along with the accompanying snow, hail and rain, and as you know there is not much in the way of cover so it was a case of grin and bare it which we did. What I would say though, is that the return trip to Shian was done in much less time with the wind at the back of us. However, we did manage a return trip out to Haunn and we got right down onto the beach and the sea arch, and then back up the shorter route through the valley which brought us back up near West cottage.

The weather did play it’s part in ensuring that every day was different and interesting in it’s own way. It also gave us the chance to catch up with old friends on the Island which was also very pleasing.

Mull Shian Cottage review winter

It was with a heavy heart that we left today, but it would be remise of us not to write this and say how jealous we are of that wee slice of heaven you have at Treshnish. I accept that working the farm can be taxing as well as running a successful business with the cottages, but you certainly deserve all the credits and awards that you have gained through the use of green energy and carbon neutral savings.

The welcome tied in with the lovely items like eggs, biscuits, honey, Island soap, logs and kindling that were in the cottage again made our arrival and stay very pleasurable. M also enjoyed ensuring that nothing was wasted by feeding any leftover bread to the hens (who looked as though they enjoyed every scrap). We were delighted to see that you operate a comprehensive recycling policy and we were happy to make sure that everything was either recycled, or if it could be, burned in the lovely wood burner in the cottage.

Winter Mull Shian Cottage review

Anyway, suffice it to say we will be back, and in fact we will endeavour to make it a twice a year pilgrimage when we’re not touring in our motorhome if we can.

We will be actively following how things are going through your blog which will let us see all the fantastic photos that you take. It will be just like being there.

Anyway, all the best for now, and wee look forward to our return and our next stay in Shian cottage”.

Mull Shian Cottage review

W and M – it was a pleasure having you to stay, and we look forward to your return!