Heatwave on Mull!

We have been having a heatwave on Mull! It has been wonderful and although it is cooler today there is still no sign of rain. Please remember my last blog post was more about building snowmen than about a a heatwave on Mull. For whatever reasons I had not been out and about that much during the day with my camera so yesterday I took advantage of the cooling northerly breeze and went up to the trig point on Cruachan Treshnish. It is only 220 or so metres above sea levels but the views are wonderful, and when I got up there, I thought to myself that I don’t walk up there often enough.

Mull cottages sea views blue

To the north, there are wonderful views over Caliach Point towards Rum, Eigg, Muck and further north to Skye. It was beautiful up there, although it was more hazy than clear.

Mull cottages views blue sea

We are into the fifth week of lambing, and Farmer is beginning to relax – a little.  There are only 2 bottle fed lambs to feed, and all those who came in to the maternity pens in the cattle shed have gone back to the hill with their lambs.  He is out regularly checking the hill and along the coast, to make sure everything is alright, and will soon be beginning to plan the gathering for ‘marking’.  Walter has not got a mean bone in his body – look at him try to cuddle up to the pet lambs, who are called Gerald (on the left) and Gerry (on the right).

Mull farm cottages lambs bearded collie

The temperature is dropping, after the balmy heights reached on our thermometers earlier in the week, when Mull made it on to the news as Britain’s ‘hotspot’ – on Tuesday I think!   The amazing bog habitat on parts of the hill felt quite dry underfoot yesterday, as we have not had rain for about 2 weeks.

Last night we drove down Loch na Keal to drop some pots off at Lip n Cloiche garden.  What a beautiful evening.   The view across to Gribun was rosy and warm – the end of this heatwave perhaps, but looking forward to the next one!

Mull Gribun sunset views not far from Treshnish

Mull last minute bookings

Are you looking at Mull last minute bookings? For May? We might be able to help! Due to some cancellations, we have space in one or two cottages over the next few weeks. We have discounted the price on the weeks showing as available. Please contact us if you are thinking of a short break, as we may consider it, given that time is flying and the vacancies are very soon! It is quite unusual for us to have space at this time of year, and it would be lovely to fill them.

April snowman Mull cottages bookings

Last week I went off to take photographs on Shetland, and on Thursday afternoon, the 28th of April, whilst I was enjoying some sheltered sunshine on Fair Isle, watching fulmar soaring around the cliffs and listening to unseen skylarks singing their hearts out across the grassy heathery moorland, Farmer and Daughter were building a snowman in the 4 inches of snow that fell during the course of the day. Not the best weather for lambing, and it was an especially anxious day and night for him, until the snow had melted. Daughter is nearly 16, and has only built two snowmen at Treshnish in her life – we have had that little snow here!

Mull cottages Treshnish last minute bookings

Shetland was wonderful but it was fantastic to get home too. The polytunnel has been neglected recently as lambing has to take precedence over everything else at the moment! I spent an hour or so weeding around the over wintered spinach and discovered purple carrots under the Shepherd’s purse that had been planted last winter. The purple carrots are very unusual to look at, and slightly bland to taste – so now we have purple carrot soup.

Mull Treshnish cottages seedlings

Please get in touch if we can help with any queries about booking to stay with us. We will be glad to help.

2017 bookings

We have set the prices for 2017, and so bookings can now be made directly using our online booking system. The table above the Availability Calendar shows the prices for 2016, so to see the prices for 2017 weeks, you need to click on the week and cottage you want on the calendar itself and that will reveal the price for that cottage/week. Please get in touch if you have any further queries.

Cottages Mull evening sun 2017 bookings

Mull cottages April sunset Treshnish 2017 bookings

Lambing is well under way now, with what seems like dozens of twin lambs in the Haunn field – all manner of lamb racing and playing going on, followed by mad panicky dashes back to their mums, bleating at the tops of their voices. Lambing has its ups and downs. Lambs that don’t make it, ewes that don’t make it either and it is upsetting and soul-destroying for Farmer to find, despite his best efforts and 16 or 17 hour days, that he cannot be in the right place at the right time at the same time. He cannot be everywhere. Last night we found two separate lambs without mums, and had to bring them home as it was going to be very cold, and they wouldn’t have survived without their mothers – needing both their warmth and their milk.

Treshnish Isles cottages evening 2017 bookings

We do still have a couple of gaps before the middle of May, so please have a look if you think you would like to take a last minute break.

Treshnish Mull cottages evening light bookings 2017

Mull & Iona Transport Guide

The Mull and Iona Transport Guide has just been published, and you can look at it here.  It gives you information about the ferries to Mull, which bus services go where, where you can charge your electric car, how to hire a car if you should need to, how to arrange a taxi and even where to hire an electric bike.

It is possible to get to Treshnish by bus now – right to the road end. The Ulva Ferry Community Bus runs a scheduled service on a pre booked basis conveniently on a Friday and a Saturday so you can use the bus to connect Treshnish with Salen where you can pick up the Tobermory to Craignure bus service to and from the ferry.

As regular guests will know we have bikes at Treshnish which we are happy for you to borrow.  They are nothing fancy, but you are welcome to borrow one.   We have a pair of folding bikes which you can put in your car and take to Iona for example.

Supper with the Puffins

As part of the Mull and Iona Food Trail celebration of #islandproduce, ‘The Movable Feasts’, Turus Mara and Am Birlinn Restaurant are hosting a ‘Supper with the Puffins’ on Lunga and we just happen to have had a cancellation for East Cottage from the 7th to 14th of May 2016! Turus Mara have hosted picnics with the puffins before on Lunga, and they sound amazing.

May vacancies Treshnish Mull cottages

What could be more fun that puffin therapy and an amazing seafood supper on Lunga? If you are interesting in booking our cottage please email us, and if you are interested in booking Supper with the Puffins, please contact Am Birlinn directly.

Treshnish Mull cottages May vacancies

Early May can be a lovely time of year on Mull. By then most of our ewes should have lambed and the fields around the Haunn cottages should be full of lambs. It is fun to watch them chasing each other and playing a lambs version of King of the Castle on the rocky hillocks. We should start seeing the first Early Purple Orchids in the field close to Haunn, along the cliff edge.

Mull Treshnish seaweed vacancies May

There are wonderful places to explore and with the longer days a trip to the Ross of Mull is very rewarding particularly if you drive home via Gribun. For other ‘Movable Feasts’ information look at the Mull & Iona Food Trail website.

May Mull Treshnish cottages vacancies

The first lambs

Our first lambs appeared in the Haunn field on Monday morning when Farmer went to feed the ewes. They are always a delight to see! The mother is one of the older Blackface ewes and she is a keen and attentive mother. At scanning time we were able to separate off the ewes expecting twins as well as the oldest ewes and keep them in the in-by fields (the fields in beside, near the farmhouse), as opposed to being out on the hill with the rest of the ewes expecting single lambs. The other ewes in the fields are the Cheviot and Zwartble ewes who live all year round in the fields.

Mull Treshnish cottages first lambs

One of the guests staying at Haunn witnessed a White tailed eagle taking a perfectly healthy twin lamb from the Haunn field on Friday. He was very shocked as he hadn’t realised this happens. Neither Farmer or myself have ever seen this happen ourselves, and usually attribute attacks on our lambs to predating birds such as Black-backed gulls, Hooded crows and Ravens. We have always been reluctant to blame the Sea eagle as we have not seen it happen. So the news that someone staying here has seen it is not what we want to hear.

Treshnish Mull cottages honeysuckle sunshine

Farmer is up and out each morning as soon as it is light and checks the fields for the first time before breakfast. He feeds the ewes who need supplementary food. He will bring any ewes in who look like they need his assistance. The cattle shed has transformed into the maternity ward. He walks round the hill which takes several hours, and after a late lunch he will check the fields again. In the early and late evening he is out again around the fields. Tonight he came upon a gimmer, a first time mother, who needed his help. Unfortunately he couldn’t save her lamb.

Treshnish Mull cottages turkey sunset

We are waiting anxiously to see if Mrs Turkey lays any more eggs. For all his posturing, they spend a lot of time not together, and being turkey novices we are not sure what is really going on.

Treshnish Mull aurora cottage green

Another cloudy Aurora the other night, but still worth getting the camera out. The difference between what the naked eye can see and what the camera picks up is quite considerable, but it feels like magic to me. You never know what the camera will show.

Day trip to Iona

I was delighted when Farmer suggested we took a day trip to Iona today, it is the school holidays after all, and the last chance to have a family day out before lambing starts. We put the bicycles on the back of the car, and headed off about 9.45am. The forecast was for the cloud to clear away to sunshine. We dropped Coco with a friend near Torloisk and drove down Loch Tuath to Gruline. We decided to go via Craignure on the way down and come back on the ‘scenic route’ via Gribun. This meant we could stop at Arlene’s in Craignure for a coffee on our way through, and we were just ahead of a ferry from Oban docking, so were in front of the traffic rather than behind it.

day out Iona Mull cottages Treshnish

Some people tend to think that it is too long a drive to go for a day trip to Iona from Treshnish, and yes, it does take 2 hours to drive which ever way you go and come back, but the scenery is so beautiful each way, that it is all part of the day out.

Iona day out Mull Treshnish cottages

It was still pretty cold when we arrived in Fionnphort but by the time we had got off the ferry onto Iona, the sun was out and it felt warmer. We cycled up to the Heritage Cafe, next to the lovely Iona Museum, to have some lunch and met a couple who come and stay at Treshnish every year but this week were enjoying a holiday on Iona. We didn’t sit outside but you could have done, as there are tables to sit at, and a water bowl for dogs.

Iona day out Treshnish Cottages Mull

After lunch – homemade carrot and coriander soup and toasties for some – back on our bikes, we made our way up to the north end, past fields of sheep, some with lambs, some without. There were lots of people walking and one or two cars, but it is such a peaceful place. The wind was interesting to cycle in, but the views were as always, just magical. I love the way the light changes, minute by minute.

Iona day out Abbey Treshnish Cottages

There were fields of lambs – they lamb earlier than we do. Farmer did a lot of looking over the fence, at the Iona sheep – the grass is so rich and fertile here, there are larger breeds of sheep – like the Texel and Suffolk crosses that we don’t see up our way.

Iona Day out Treshnish Mull sunshine

Iona seems to have lots of great places to pick up a coffee too – you can go and sit, at the Heritage Cafe and the Columba and Argyll hotels, and enjoy one, but you can take away from a couple of places with good coffee machines! The Iona Craft Shop (now in its 51st year of trading) was probably the one that made the best coffee as far as Farmer was concerned, but I really enjoyed the one I had from The Low Door which is opposite the St. Columba Hotel – and they have a great selection of organic and whole foods too.

Treshnish Iona day out Mull cottages Gribun

The drive home, refreshed from our day, was beautiful – the light intense and clear. Gribun is spectacular whatever the weather, and you need to keep your wits about you when driving under the cliffs!

Iona Day out Gribun Treshnish Mull cottages

The views looking back over to Gribun before we reached Ulva Ferry were lovely, and then we were driving homeward into the evening sun.

cottages Iona day out Mull Treshnish

What an excellent day on Iona. So good, I will be going again on Monday… for a meeting in the evening.

Sleeping otter

I haven’t ever seen a sleeping otter but yesterday at Langamull, Prasad did, and he got some great photographs and video footage of it. As many of you will know Prasad lives here on the farm, and records the wildlife he sees on his blog – Treshnishbirdlog.co.uk. One place he goes back to again and again is Langamull, and yesterday he took advantage of the beautiful weather (in sharp contrast to today’s!) to go for another walk there.

For those of you who don’t know, Langamull is a beautiful beach about 4 miles from Treshnish. It is a wonderful place to spend some or all of the day, as not so many people go there, and you can find you have the beach entirely to yourselves – and the otters perhaps!

Anand Prasad sleeping otter Mull
Photograph by Anand Prasad

This beautiful dog Otter came ashore about 10 feet away from where Prasad was standing. Prasad watched him for quite some time, preening and grooming, before he curled up and went to sleep, in the sun, in a sheltered bit of last year’s bracken. An hour later when Prasad walked along the same bit of ground, he looked over and the Otter was still there, still fast asleep. What a wonderful sight it must have been.

Sleeping Otter Mull Anand Prasad
Photograph by Anand Prasad

Prasad has put some video of the sleeping otter up on his blog, so please do have a look!

Mull sunset near Treshnish cottages

While Prasad was watching a sleeping Otter, I was over the other side of the hill from Treshnish, enjoying the sunset light on Ben More from Loch Tuath, and looking at the sculptural shapes of some of the elderly Atlantic oak trees along the road between Burg and Torloisk. It was a beautiful evening to end the month of March, and looking back, for us March was a kind month this year, some really beautiful weather and not too many gales.

Mull otter coastline wildlife mountain

Mull Summer timetable

The Calmac Mull summer timetable started on Good Friday and now we have hourly ferries from Oban to Craignure and back again!  Regular visitors will find they are a lot cheaper too. They start earlier in the morning and run until after 7pm.  This is a huge improvement for those who need to go to the mainland for work, and makes it possible for islanders to commute and do a full day’s work in Oban.  Until October anyway.  What happens then is still undecided, but the lower fares will stay in place.

Mull cottages Easter summer timetable jpg

We have had lots of guests in for Easter, and the weather was kind enough to allow a bit of sunshine for the Easter egg hunt in our garden.  I am glad the teenagers didn’t feel too grown up to partake!

Mull cottages Summer timetable

I took advantage of the Mull summer timetable yesterday as I had to go to Perth, and wanted to come back in one day.  I booked the 9.30 ferry going over, and the 19.30 ( think) coming back, which meant I could give myself lots of time.  I cannot remember the last time I drove on the mainland on a bank holiday – there was so much traffic, but thankfully we didn’t get held up, and twice experienced camper vans pulling over to let the traffic building up behind them go past.   It was a beautiful day and lovely to be reminded of just what a beautiful country we live in.

Mull summer timetable cottages Kilmaluaig

Farmer was busy while I was away, putting the last ewes through the fank, in preparation for lambing. Some farms on the island have lambs already but our ewes aren’t due for another week or so.  Each lot is in its allotted field, and the hill ewes are back on the hill again. The turkeys seem to be settling in, they don’t wander far from the farmhouse and the hen house.  Spring appears to be in the air.. so we await news of nests and eggs before long!

Mull summer timetable cottages

Don’t forget to look at our Pricing Booking page for the last spaces in April which have £100 off..

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