Top eco-friendly cottages in Scotland

The top eco-friendly cottages in Scotland

When you are looking for holiday accommodation do you look for the top eco-friendly cottages in Scotland?   We do – and to find them we look first at the Green Tourism Business Scheme website.

Treshnish eco-friendly cottages Mull Scotland hellebore

Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS)

We are really proud to have been members of the GTBS since 1999, and to have held a Gold Award since 2001.  We, along with all GTBS members, are rigorously audited every other year. This provides us with a useful benchmark for how we are performing.  It is also a chance to get expert advice from the GTBS inspector.   At our last visit we had advice about possible solutions for an alternative heat source for Toechtamhor.   When the GTBS first ran their Green Tourism Awards in 2011 we were delighted and very proud to win 2 Awards: A GoldStar and the Carbon Footprint Award.   Andrea Nicholas from GTBS said that made us one of the top 10 green tourism businesses in the UK.  The GTBS have over 600 members in Scotland so even a trip to Edinburgh yields a good number of choices. Mull and Iona have a high number of GTBS members too.

Treshnish Cottages Mull eco-friendly Scotland

Other places to look for eco-friendly cottages

We also use the Organic Places to Stay website run by Linda Moss, who started out almost at the same time as we did, and has a great selection of green places to stay around the world.  We are still advertising with her, and love being part of her eco-friendly community of accommodation providers.

Top eco-friendly cottages Scotland Treshnish Mull

What does eco-friendly mean?

According to Wikipedia the use of terms ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘environmentally-friendly’ refer to goods and services that claim a reduced, minimal impact – or no harm – to the environment.  I would add that for us, being eco-friendly means that we take care not to green-wash or make false claims.    It is too easy to claim to be greener than you are, so for me, being part of the GTBS means that holidaymakers choosing somewhere to stay have the strongest assurance that claims of eco-friendly, green credentials are true.

Tobermory Christmas Lights

Tobermory Christmas Lights

The switching of the Tobermory Christmas Lights takes places next Friday, 24th November.   Tobermory gets into the Christmas Spirit in a wonderfully friendly and low key way.  As any regular visitor to Mull will know Tobermory has some good independent shops along the sea front.  They do a special festive late opening for the switch on! Many offer special discounts and/or glasses of mulled wine…

The local community raise funds to pay for the lights (and the electricity bill). Members of the Fire Service, Coastguard and RNLI – and other volunteers – get together to put them up, and take them down again.  It is a true community affair.

Mull Treshnish cottages Tobermory Christmas lights

The Switch On

Crowds gather round the clock for the Switch on.  Listen to some carols sung by one of the choirs, and then gently disperse to do some early Christmas shopping. It is always a lovely friendly occasion – and visitors are welcome!

Tobermory Christmas Lights Mull Treshnish Cottages

Christmas Shopping on Mull

If you can’t make it over to Mull for the 24th, why not come over another weekend?  And do your Christmas shopping here on Mull!   Check our availability here!  Tobermory shops offer a good selection of gifts:  Island Crafts, Tobermory Chocolate, The Laundry, Tackle and Books, Seafare, Tobermory Fish Company, An Tobar, Mull Pottery and Island Blue. (I hope I haven’t forgotten any!)

Treshnish Mull cottages Fishing boats Tobermory Christmas lights

Midwinter on Mull

During the day there are cafes such as Tobermory Bakery and the Scullery to rest your weary shopping feet over a cuppa or a bowl of soup.  Up the hill is An Tobar – for good veggie food during the day – and art!  In the evening you will get good pub food from the MacDonald Arms, MacGochans and the Mishnish.  Unfortunately our local pub isn’t doing meals this winter, except possibly around Christmas and New Year.

Treshnish Mull cottages Tobermory Christmas lights boats

Am Birlinn Crafts Sale

There is a Christmas crafts sale at Am Birlinn, just along the road from here, from 24th – 26th November.

Tobermory Hogmanay

And if you are staying with us for New Year (we still have some spaces…) don’t forget the Fireworks on Hogmanay in Tobermory.  This is another lovely and family friendly island event. Again, the community raise funds for the fireworks.

Mull Treshnish Cottages New Year fireworks

An alternative day out on Mull

An alternative day out on Mull

There are plenty of things you can do to make an alternative day out on Mull.    I wrote in a previous blog about the best beaches around here, and I have written in the past about trips to Iona or the Treshnish Isles. This time however I am suggesting that you go hand in hand with the Mull and Iona Food Trail!  And see where it takes you.  There is a Food Trail map in the cottage on your arrival, which gives you the contact details for checking opening hours et cetera.

Heading to the south of the island take the wonderful drive along Loch Tuath and Loch na Keal.  Look out for Loch na Keal Meals which may be open at Killichronan.  They specialise in local produce, all home made.  Good White tailed eagle spotting area too. Pass the church at Gruline (where we got married!).  Along underneath the dramatic Gribun cliffs.  The beach at Gribun is a great place to search for cowrie shells.  Take a picnic of island produce from Dervaig Stores. Look out for the milestones erected in 1897!

Treshnish Mull cottages alternative day out Gribun

So many places

The Tiroran Hotel has opened a coffee shop in the steadings.  We have eaten at the hotel itself but we haven’t been yet so please let me know what it’s like!  In the summer season you can combine a visit there with the Mull Eagle Watch hide at Glen Seilisdeir (Contact the TIC in Craignure to book your visit in advance).

In Bunessan you can see if the Blackbird Bistro is open.  Visit the community run charity shop Castaways in Bunessan. It has a book shed round the back which is open even when the shop itself is shut!

Treshnish Mull cottages Castaways Alternative day out

Ardalanish Tweed

Look for the sign saying Ardalanish just outside Bunessan.  See how organic tweed is made, buy their own beef and lamb – and go to the beach!  In fact you can go to one beforehand and a different one afterwards, as Uisken Beach (a childhood favourite of mine) is only a mile away from Ardalanish Beach. This is Uisken photographed on a gorgeous November day.  I had the beach to myself!

Treshnish Mull cottages alternative day out Uisken

Ardtun Leaf beds

The little Ardtun road is pretty and looking for the fossilised leaf beds makes for an alternative rough unmarked walk.   You might even come across an Otter or two.. I contacted Mull Otter Group about these two babies as I was worried they allowed me to get so close – there was no sign of their mother.

Treshnish Mull cottages otters Alternative day out


There are several shops on the Ross of Mull supplying island produce. Try Pennyghael Stores, The Ferry Shop in Fionnphort and The Crofters Kitchen at Kintra. The Crofters Kitchen not only sell their own vegetables and salads but a selection of Fair-trade and whole foods too.   A detour to the Old Post Office at Lochbuie (open 365 days a year) would enable you to stock up on more local produce.  There are lovely walks down there too.

This milestone was not pink back in 1897. No one pertains to know who did painted it!

Treshnish Mull cottages alternative day out Pennyghael

Last stop

Make your last stop at Inverlussa Mussels located a few miles south of Craignure.  (so I can buy a bag of mussels to bring home!)  Mussels are an eco-friendly way of enjoying farmed fish without damaging the environment – like Isle of Mull Oysters grown near here.  Both oysters and mussels grow in ebbing and flowing waters. No supplementary feeding or chemicals required.  You cannot get better than that, in my opinion, and they are DELICIOUS!

Open or closed?

Our cottages are open all year round, but a lot of eating places close or partially close in the low season.  Check with each establishment to find out their opening hours.

Mull self catering cottages

Mull self catering cottages

Our unique Mull self catering cottages are open all year round.  It’s late October and the days are getting shorter – winter is on its way, bringing long evenings and unpredictable weather.   The phrase ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing’ is a perfect maxim for a winter visit to Mull and to our lovely cottages!  Come prepared for the worst!  Be pleasantly surprised!

We had a couple staying from Germany one winter a few years ago.  We had 7 days of beautiful still calm and sunny weather.   Whilst they had loved the cottage and being here at Treshnish, they were sorry that they had not seen any storms.  They asked when they could come back to experience really bad weather!

Treshnish Mull self catering cottages sea journey

Mull self catering cottages in winter

Over the years we have been steadily renovating and improving our characterful cottages.  Making sure they are cosy and comfortable all year round is of paramount importance.  Each cottage has masses of insulation, energy efficient double glazing and ample heating.

During the winter, visitor attractions such as Duart Castle, Mull Museum and Mull Aquarium close, however there are still plenty of wild historic places to explore.   There are ruined castles, standing stones, stone circles and art installations to discover.   Not to mention the potential of all the walks to be taken, beaches to be enjoyed and hills to climb!

Wildlife is still plentiful in the winter. There is a nature diary book in each cottage, written by Prasad who lives on the farm.  It has day by day entries of what he has recorded at Treshnish throughout one specific year.   So it’s a good guide as to what you might look out for.

The pubs stay open all year round so eating out is not a problem – watch out for the Tobermory Bakery and An Tobar as well.  Calgary Arts is open in November and December, for self service tea and coffee while you browse their art, and if you go to Lochbuie, its worth looking to see if the Old Post Office honesty shop is open too.

Treshnish Mull self catering cottages sun wall

The weather…

We have had a damp autumn – to say the least.  On the bright side, that means we have seen plenty of rainbows!  Looking ahead, I always think of November as being the month of rainbows and big skies, wonderful light for photography too.

Treshnish Mull self catering cottages views rainbow

Nothing better than an evening cosy indoors by the fire when the wind is howling outside.. or a wild walk on a windswept beach!  We have emergency windup torches in case of a power cut, though in reality we don’t have them very often!

Treshnish Mull self catering cottages wind in trees

Please get in touch if you have any queries about staying with us during the winter.  We can’t predict the weather but we can guarantee a warm welcome!

Mull Herdwicks

Mull Herdwicks

We headed off to Cockermouth at the weekend in order to increase the size of our flock of Mull Herdwicks.  Herdwicks are not native to our part of the world but we love them!  Regular guests may have already met the 9 Herdwick gimmers we bought at Dingwall last November.  They are ready to go to the tup this winter, so we needed to get one from somewhere!  Where better than Cockermouth?   The auction market there has an annual Herdwick Sale in October so this has been on our farming calendar since last November!  The sale takes place over two days.

Breeding sale on Friday, Ram sale on Saturday.

Treshnish Mull Herdwicks ewe hoggs

Herdwick females

Primarily we needed a tup (ram) but we would have room in our livestock trailer for 5 ewe hoggs.   So on Friday morning we got there in time for the Show.  We hoped this would give us more of an idea of what a ‘good’ Herdwick looked like!   (We really are novices!)  Watching the ones we earmarked, and watching the ones which won.    Then we could watch out for those ones going through the sale ring.   We spent most of the morning at the sale ring, watching as different lots went through and trying to make sense of why some fetched vastly more than others.  We ended up buying hoggs which were second in their class!

Treshnish Mull cottages sheep sales

Draft ewes

There were pens of other breeds for sale too, but the majority were Hardwick.  Big lots of ‘draft ewes’ – ewes who have had one or two crops of lambs on the fells.  They are sold on to farmers on the low ground.  On Mull, we sell off our oldest age group of ewes as ‘cast ewes’ but they are much older.  And not worth as much, as it is expected they will only rear one more crop of lambs.

Treshnish Mull Herdwicks Cockermouth

Our handsome Herdwick tup

This was a serious minefield.  We walked around choosing the ones we liked.   The farmer whose cottage we were staying in gave us a tip and we had a good look at the ones he suggested and chose one of them.  We then sat and watched it sell for thousands when our budget was a couple of hundred!   In the end Farmer and Daughter chose one as it was in the ring, and got it for less than our budget.  They were pleased and so was I!    Isn’t he handsome?  Our flock of Mull Herdwicks is now 16 in number!

Treshnish Mull Herdwicks new tup


Out of season stay

Out of season stay

If you are looking for a cosy comfortable place for an out of season stay, look no further!  We are open all year round, and can offer flexibility with arrival and departure dates in the winter months.

What to expect out of season

Whichever cottage you choose and whatever the weather you will be warm and cosy.  The Treshnish Cottages are all heated with wood-chip, and all (bar Shieling) have a wood-burning stove.  The Haunn Cottages have electric heating with adjustable thermostats and wood-burning stoves!  We have locally sourced bags of logs for sale at the farm as our stoves do not burn coal.

Treshnish Mull cottages winter fishing boat

The island in winter

The island in winter slows down. There is still plenty of wildlife to be seen, look at Prasad’s book in your cottage to give you an idea of what you might see.  You may have the beach all to yourself..

The weather can be wild, so be prepared for all weathers. Wet, windy, sunny, calm, stormy…  It is rare for it to snow here, but very occasionally it does.

There are less cafes and eating places open – but we are happy to advise you on places that are!   You can check out the Mull and Iona Food Trail leaflet in the cottage too.

Both An Tobar, the art centre in Tobermory, and the Mull Theatre put on events throughout the year.   It is worth looking at their website in case there is anything of interest on when you plan to be here.

Treshnish Mull cottages rocky coast winter

Weekend breaks

Weekend or mid week breaks are popular now that the ferries are cheaper.  The late ferry on a Friday evening means you can leave Glasgow (for example) after work and catch the last boat from Oban. Wake up on Saturday morning with this wonderful view!

Treshnish Mull cottages sunset Calgary headland

Creative breaks

The smaller cottages are perfect for artists or writers looking for a place to get away and write or paint.  In the winter season from November through to early March we are happy to take longer bookings and can negotiate on the price.  Please contact us if you are looking for somewhere to stay and be creative.  We could have just the cottage – both Shian and Duill have ‘sitooteries’ (sunspaces) which could be used as a small studio.

Treshnish Mull cottages sheep waves cliffs


Meteor on camera!

Meteor on Camera

Wow, I never expected to catch a Meteor on camera when I set up my camera and tripod!   I had to check with the Facebook page Aurora Research Scotland as I hadn’t photographed a green bolt of light like this before.  They verified that it was indeed a meteor.  The green glow is caused by it having a lot of copper in it.  Someone on the Isle of Lewis photographed a meteor at roughly the same time which we think may be the same one..

Treshnish Cottages Mull dark skies meteor

Seeing the Aurora?

Please remember that the camera will capture much more than the eye sees.   It is rare, in this part of the world, to ‘see’ wonderful Aurora colours with the naked eye.   More common is to be able to catch them on camera.

Recent clear skies

As is typical when wanting to catch the Aurora, we often have cloudy sky!  I watch the Aurora Facebook pages fill with wonderful strong, seen with the naked eye, images from other parts of Scotland!   I look outside. It is still cloudy!

Every evening if there is a clear sky forecast, I will check the skies for the aurora.  I don’t mean that I just go outside and look – I set up my camera and tripod and take some test shots.    Two nights ago, we didn’t have a very strong aurora forecast but I caught the Airglow.  It is difficult to describe but if you look at the photograph below, you can just make out blotchy pale cloud in the layers of colour?  This is an Airglow.  It is more rare than an Aurora Borealis, so I am always excited to catch it on camera.   Again with the naked eye I can sense the light, but not see the cloud effect.

Treshnish Cottages Dark Skies Mull airglow meteor

What can you see with the naked eye?

This green streak of the Aurora Borealis looked bright to me, but I could not see the colours.   In relation to the horizon, and compared to the photograph below this one, the colours were not extending very high above the skyline.  This was not a strong aurora.  It is also worth bearing in mind that some people see more colour in an aurora than others. Annoyingly Somerset can see more of the colour than I can!

Treshnish Cottages dark skies Mull Aurora meteor

This Aurora (below) taken a week or so ago was very strong but thick cloud descended 5 minutes later and remained all night!!  You can see the colour is much higher above the skyline here. I could just make out greens in this glow.  The moon was up that night too, and that make it more difficult to see the colours, and to catch them on camera.

Mull dark skies Treshnish Cottages aurora meteor

Isle of Mull Oysters

Isle of Mull Oysters

Isle of Mull Oysters are locally grown in the clear tidal waters of Loch Cuin, near Croig.  Just a few miles from Treshnish!  You can try them for yourselves whilst on the island – they are delicious!  The Mull and Iona Food Trail Map will be in the cottage when you arrive. This will help you find places which sell or serve island produce.

isle of mull oysters tour rum

Oyster Tour

We were lucky enough to go on a tour round the oyster farm last weekend.  We walked from nearby Am Birlinn, down to the shore where the oysters are grown.    The landscape is ancient and unspoilt with hazel woodland, open grass pasture divided by crumbling stone dykes.

Our guide was Nick Turnbull who with his fishing partner started growing oysters 25 years ago.  His son Gordon has taken over now, and they have stock of nearly 4 million oysters!  What a lovely spot it is, with wonderful views across to the other side of the sea loch, and northwards to the Isle of Rum.  The trestle tables are situated in the shallow waters of the sea loch.  Oyster farming has minimal visual impact on the environment.  It is only at low tide do the trestles stand out.

isle mull oysters tour tractor

Tractors and trestles

What a lot of hard physical labour goes in to rearing oysters!  We came away with huge admiration for those who farm oysters.  They work in all weathers, and standing in cold sea water humping bags of oysters around cannot be much fun.

Growing oysters starts with tiny 2mm seed oysters (Pacific oysters).  The oysters grow in bags. As the oysters grow they have to be graded and put into bags with different sized mesh, according to their size.   They lie on the trestles, so have to be picked up one by one and moved using the tractors and trailers.  In between the grading and sorting, the bags have to be turned so that the growing oyster does not grow into the plastic mesh. Each bag has four clips which have to be opened before the bag is turned over.  And then closed again once the bag is turned.  This keeps the bags from slipping off as the tides flow around them.

isle of mull oysters tour red tractor

Rows and rows

At low tide you can see rows and rows of trestles with the bags of oysters laid out on them.

It takes 3 to 4 years to grow them from 2mm to the size required by the supermarkets.  Native oysters are not grown commercially as they take too long – about 10 years.  Pacific oysters do not naturally breed in UK waters so there is no risk of contaminating the native oyster.


Isle mull oyster tour gordon turnbull

Friend of The Sea

Mull Oysters are sold to a co-operative on the mainland so you may well be buying them, without realising, in your local supermarket.  Isle of Mull Oysters are accredited as a sustainable seafood by an organisation called Friend of the Sea.  So you can enjoy eating them safe in the knowledge that they are being sustainably grown!

Buying oysters

If you want to enjoy these delicious oysters back in the cottage, rather than in a restaurant, you can usually buy them at  The Tobermory Fish Company at Baliscate just on the edge of Tobermory.

Mull in autumn

Mull in autumn

The Isle of Mull in autumn begins to slow down. It can be a lovely time of year to be here.  Once the schools go back at the beginning of September, the roads become quieter and the wild camping site at Calgary Beach visibly empties!   The weather can be fantastic – in every sense of the word…. sunny and bright, or wild and wet!   However our cottages are warm and cosy, perfect for relaxing when you get back after a bracing day out walking or exploring!

Mull in autumn Treshnish cottages headland light

Open or closed

We are open all year round but the main season on the island when you are more or less guaranteed that places will be open runs from the middle of March to the middle or end of October.  Most visitor attractions are open from Easter until the middle or end of October.  The Mull Museum in Tobermory stays open until the end of October.  Duart Castle is open until the 18th October 2017.  The island art centre, An Tobar, in upper Tobermory, stays open until the end of the year – as well as putting on exhibitions they have a great cafe serving delicious vegetarian food. 

Eating out

Most places will stay open until at least the middle of October.  Have a look at the Mull and Iona Food Trail for places that support local producers and use island produce.  Ballygown and Am Birlinn are the two closest restaurants to us recommended by many of our guests and ourselves!  Calgary Tearoom near the beach is open during the day for teas/coffees, lunches.

Boat trips

As you can imagine, boat trips are subject to the weather!  Turus Mara run trips to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles from Ulva Ferry, and offer a 10% discount if you are staying with us.  Contact them for advice about their autumn trips.  We had 2 lots of very happy guests go out to Staffa with Turus Mara yesterday. They had fantastic dolphin, porpoise sightings as well as seals – and White tailed eagles.  

Mull in autumn Treshnish cottages farm view

Mull Aquarium

The Mull Aquarium in Tobermory is open through the October holidays and is planning a host of events for kids and adults.  It is Europe’s first Catch and Release Aquarium, community owned and managed too. Have a look at their website for further information closer to the time.  I like the sound of the Cocktails film night for adults showing Jaws!  There is a great sounding Halloween event which will be on either the 27th or 28th, and lots of other kids activities during the school holidays including a Sleepover night! The final event will be when they release all the creatures back into the wild on the 29th October.

Mull in autumn Treshnish cottages rowan sunset

What wildlife might you see?

Our cottages sit on the low ground of the farm.  In late September and early October you will hear Red deer stags roaring from the hill, as it is the rutting season when stags fight over the hinds in great plays of power and manliness.   We had a magical walk whilst checking the sheep a couple of Octobers ago. We were up above East, Middle and West and came across this group of deer.   Quite dramatic, to say the least!

For an idea of what else you might encounter here at Treshnish have a look at Prasad’s Treshnish Wildlife Diary.  He has been recording wildlife here since 2006.

Wildlife tours

The nearest wildlife tour operator to us is Nature Scotland, based near Calgary.  Ewan Miles who runs the company is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic – and has an imaginative selection of tours including a trip to Ardnamurchan… and a Stargazing trip giving you a chance to look at the stars and photograph an Aurora Borealis if the conditions are right.  Have a look at their website for details.

Mull in autumn Haunn Cottages sea views


September is fully booked now but we have space in October.  Please have a look at our Make a Booking page, and please get in touch if you have any queries!

Iona day trip

Iona Day Trip

A busy Sunday in August may not feel like the ideal day to choose for an Iona day trip, but actually we went yesterday and it was great!  We went to visit cousins who were spending the weekend there.  I recommend to all our guests that they go to Iona if they haven’t already been.  It is a long drive, but the scenery is unrivalled and to my mind, the effort well rewarded!

Iona Abbey grey sky Treshnish Cottages Mull day trip Iona

Getting there

I always suggest that guests drive via Dervaig, Aros Bridge and Salen to Craignure and down to Fionnphort through Glen More.   Depending on the traffic, it can take about 2 hours to get there.  Look at the ferry timetable so you can aim for a particular boat.  The road through the glen from Ardura to Pennyghael is starkly beautiful – look out for the Three Lochs, there is a place to stop there and take in the view.


At Pennyghael, the little Post Office offers teas and coffees and local produce.  Not many post offices have a view that lovely, across Loch Scridain to Ben More.


You catch the passenger ferry from Fionnphort.  There is free parking available.  You turn left once you arrive in the village, it is signposted to Knockvologan/Fidden.  You can buy seafood salads and sandwiches at the Creel Seafood Bar.  There is also a cafe in the waiting room, and the Keel Row pub.  The Ferry Shop sells local produce too, and books, crafts et cetera.

Treshnish Cottages Mull day trip Iona Fionnphort

The Ferry

The crossing takes 10 minutes.  Foot passengers only.  The colour of the water surprises me every time I cross, the turquoise is almost Caribbean.  At the moment the Abbey is scaffold free!  The views in all directions are wonderful!

Treshnish Cottages Mull day trip Iona Gardens


It is a wonderful feeling being a pedestrian.   The only vehicles belong to residents.   Walking is a pleasure in each direction.  Up to the Abbey and on to the North end, or in the opposite direction to the Back of the Ocean or Columba’s Bay.    There are plenty of places to eat on Iona in the main season. The Iona Craft Shop and the Low Door do really good take away coffees in Vegware compostable cups if you haven’t got your own Keep Cup. The Argyll and the St. Columba do lunches and afternoon tea.  The Heritage Museum has a cafe attached too.

Treshnish Cottages Mull day trip Iona Argyll Hotel

Walking to the Abbey

Walk up through the Nunnery and along to the Abbey past the prolific and colourful kitchen gardens belonging to the Argyll and St Columba Hotels.  Stop on your way at the Heritage Museum, and learn about life on the island.  It is a fantastic small museum, one of my favourites.  On the way back you can come through the fields and along the little street of houses along past the Argyll Hotel. It is bordered with pretty gardens leading to the white sandy shoreline.  The eye is drawn to the turquoise sea again and again.

The last boat

Don’t miss the last boat!

Treshnish Cottages Mull day trip Iona ferry

Mull and Iona Food Trail

All the places I have linked to are on the Mull and Iona Food Trail.  There are several other Food Trail listings in the Ross of Mull and Iona who produce and supply local produce so please have a look at their website or pick up a Food Trail Map!

Getting Home

Driving home I recommend taking the left turning at the head of Loch Scridain and going home via the spectacular Gribun cliffs and Ulva Ferry.  The late afternoon, early evening light from Balmeanoch looking over to Inch Kenneth, Ulva and the Treshnish Isles is magical, and if you are much later you might catch the sun setting over the water too. It is about 15 miles shorter than the Craignure route and takes about the same length of time.