Wifi on the Isle of Mull

Wifi on the Isle of Mull

A question we are often asked is regarding the availability of wifi on the Isle of Mull – and here at Treshnish!  We have all become increasingly dependent on the internet – for work, for pleasure, for keeping in touch with family and friends.   It is understandable therefore that, for many, it is a consideration when choosing holiday accommodation!

Treshnish Mull Cottages wifi sea views

We have Satellite!

Being 8 miles from Dervaig means we are too far from the telephone exchange to receive a broadband signal via the phone cable.  So Treshnish relies on satellite broadband which is costly and limited.  We consider ourselves lucky to have anything at all.  We can remember the painful process of trying to access the internet via dial up and going off to make a cup of tea whilst the internet page loaded!    So satellite is a great stop gap, whilst we wait for the Community Broadband Gigaplus Argyll connection to come through.  The biggest package we have been able to buy has a download limit.  We all have to be careful not to use too much – to avoid our internet access being ‘throttled’.

Internet connection in the cottages at Treshnish

We have plans to put internet into the four cottages at Treshnish – as soon as we can be connected to the Community Broadband project currently being rolled out across the island…hopefully by Easter 2018.

Haunn Mull Cottages blackhouses wifi

Community Broadband

Gigaplus Argyll is a government funded scheme to connect remote locations with fast broadband.  For locations like ours it will make a huge difference as we will be able to purchase several packages.  Our plan is to connect the 4 Treshnish Cottages so there is wifi in each cottage.  Unfortunately we will not be able to connect Haunn under the current Community Broadband Scheme.  There is no funding to pay for the mast to relay the signal a mile further and ’round the corner’ to Haunn.   However we will keep a wifi connection in the Phone Room for Haunn guests to use.

Treshnish Mull Cottages aurora wifi

The Phone Room

In the meantime we have a satellite Wifi connection in the Phone Room. Our guests are welcome to use this to check emails and weather forecasts.  Unfortunately this is not sufficient for downloading/uploading large files or streaming movies.

3G/4G Mobile signal

We do have good Vodafone and EE mobile signal here – thanks to another Scottish government funded scheme which enabled the community on the Isle of Coll to put up a mobile phone mast.   Guests from the USA told me the other day that they had easily streamed programmes on their phones in Shian Cottage.  I find I can do the same in the farmhouse!

Digital Detox

We go on holiday to the Outer Hebrides every summer. We stay in a simple cottage by the sea which has no mobile reception or internet connection.  It is a shock for the first few days (especially for the teenager) but it becomes a wonderful slowing down digital detox once we have adapted.   I hope guests coming to stay with us will feel the same – there is internet for the urgent things.  But actually it is quite nice to feel the quietness that comes from not being connected all the time. And there is always the beach….

2018 and 2019 bookings

2018 and 2019 bookings

We have just uploaded the prices and dates for 2018 and 2019 bookings in the Treshnish & Haunn Cottages.  Usually we do the dates one year at a time, but this year we have decided to do two years in one go so that, if you are like me and like to plan ahead, then you can do just that!

You can book for 2018 and/or make a provisional booking for 2019 (at 2018 prices) by going to the Make a Booking page here.

2017 bookings are going fast and we don’t have many spaces left now in the summer too, so if you haven’t booked yet and would like to… Please have a look here for vacancies for 2017.

Treshnish Mull cottages 2018 and 2019 bookings aurora Shian Cottage

No price increase for 2019 bookings

We have kept the prices for 2019 at the same level as 2018.  We are happy for guests to provisionally book for 2019 now – but confirm with payment of the non-refundable deposit in March 2018.  Please email us so we can explain how to do this!

2018 and 2019 bookings Treshnish Mull Cottages coastline

17.5% discount for 2 week bookings over Christmas and New Year 2017/2018

It feels odd, the weekend of the Spring Bank Holiday to be looking at photographs of Christmas. Returning guests have just made two week booking for Duill Cottage for Christmas which made me think of it!  We are offering a 17.5% discount when booking for 2 weeks including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Happy to be flexible with the arrival and departure dates.  Midwinter can be a wonderful time to be on the island, the days are shorter and it is snug and cosy in at the fireside of an evening. Even a chance of the Northern Lights! Please contact us for details of the discount.

2018 and 2019 bookings Treshnish Mull Cottages Christmas candles

Make a Booking

Please get in touch if you have any queries about how to make 2018 and 2019 bookings.  We will consider short breaks and longer stays in the low and winter season.

Mull days April

April draws to a close

Easter is weeks behind us now as Mull days April draw to a close.  Lambing is well on its way.  The blossom is out on the blackthorn.  We have had snow on the hills so it must be the end of April as this seems to happen every year!  The days are getting longer and this weekend is the May Bank Holiday!  Where did those Mull days in April go?!

Treshnish mull island cottages April postbox

Lambing

I joined Farmer the other evening when he went to check the ewes in the fields around the cottages. The Haunn field is where Farmer is keeping the ewes expecting twins.  More than half of them have lambed now and as the lambs grow up they become more and more playful.  It is lovely watching little gangs of lambs chasing each other across the field or playing king of the castle jumping off rocks, tails flying! For more lamb photographs please have a look at our other blog!

Treshnish Mull island cottages April twin lambs

Peace and quiet

East Cottage looked inviting in the evening light.  I am always reminded at this time of year, one of our first Easters here.  We had worked hard all winter to get things ready for the first guests of the season.  It was Easter Saturday.  The sun was shining, about this time of day.  We came down to meet all the guests.   At this time there was no electricity at Haunn, and it was important to make sure everyone understood how to use the gas lights and heaters.   It was so peaceful and quiet, and everyone was standing around outside their cottages chatting and admiring the view.   As we left to go home, a group of Snow Geese flew overhead as the children staying the cottages ran wild out in the open.  It reminded me how lucky we are to have all this space and beauty around us.

Treshnish Mull cottages island blackhouses april

Mull days April

Every year we have a visit from the SRUC Countryside Management Students from Ayrshire.    We walk round the in-by fields as Farmer explained the practise behind our High Nature Value Farming ethos.   It is always interesting to see what we are doing through other people’s eyes – and there is always something to learn too.   It was a beautiful afternoon and very nice to have an excuse to be outside for a walk.

Treshnish Mull island cottages tree sea view april

5 of the best Mull day trips

The best Mull day trips

There are many wonderful day trips to be taken on Mull, and I thought I would share 5 of (what I consider to be) the best Mull day trips with you here on our blog. This is the first of the five!

First trip to Mull?

If its your first stay on Mull, you may want to see it all and I hope these blogs will help you decide.  We often have guests here at Treshnish who have never been to Mull before and who spend every day out in the car exploring the island.  Others will not use the car for the whole time they are here.  Most enjoy a mixture of the two – some day trips using the car and the rest of their stay spent relaxing and exploring here on the farm.

Treshnish Mull cottages Ulva best Mull day trip

First Choice

My first choice of best Mull day trips would have to be a trip to Ulva.  The drive from Treshnish follows Loch Tuath down to Ulva Ferry. This is where you catch the little private ferry across to the Isle of Ulva.

Treshnish Cottages Best Mull day trips Ulva Boathouse sign

The Isle of Ulva

Once on the island there are lovely walks to take of varying lengths.  If you are feeling very energetic you can walk all the way up to Gometra and back, but make sure you are back in time for the last ferry!   You can walk across to Cragaig on the south side, a beautiful remote cottage by the sea, and a couple of tiny but usually extremely private beaches beyond.  Closer to the ferry is the woodland walk, and the track which takes you up to the church.   As we don’t normally have long on the island we really enjoy walking through the woodland and along the shore.

Treshnish cottages best Mull day trip Ulva shore walk

Eating on Ulva

No visit to Ulva would be complete without a stop in at the Boathouse.  In my opinion it is the best view of any eatery on the islands.   Sit on one of the benches outside, have lunch or tea and some of their home baking.  Soak up the view.   Across to Ben More, Mull’s Munro.. over the water back to Mull.. isn’t it a slice of heaven?

Treshnish Cottages best Mull day trip Ulva circuit walk

The best picnic

The best picnic

I think possibly this could be the best picnic so far this year, and I had quite a few last week on the Isle of Harris!  It is Sunday the 2nd of April.  Lambing hasn’t started yet. The sun is shining and we have friends staying so some time off is definitely in order. We all, young and old(er),  head down to the stony beach below the house.

Treshnish Mull Cottages cook best picnic

The energy efficient cook-up

Because it has been raining we take some kindling sticks with us rather than picking up dry (dead) twigs from the woodland.  We want to try out the Ezy Stove that Farmer was given for Christmas.  This is an energy efficient design, which is hoped will save forest timber and collecting and carrying time in India and Africa where traditionally cooking has been done with labour intensive fuel wood. Our verdict is that it is a really good stove.  We have a heavy duty frying pan and so didn’t need charcoal to heat up sufficiently or make a huge log fire, it literally only took a few sticks and some dry bracken to get it going.

The best ingredients

To cook – we have shopped locally!  We have both gluten free and cheese and onion Island Pork sausages (from Mull Cheese). I bought home some black pudding from Stornoway but normally we would have Mull made black pudding too!

The best view?

This is pure bias – but I love the view below the Treshnish Cottages!  It seems like the best view to me.  Straight out to sea and the Isle of Coll on the horizon.  No need to get in the car and drive. It is a 10 or 15 minutes walk from the cottages depending in how much you dawdle on the way!

Treshnish Mull Cottages best picnic view

Afterwards we walk across the rocks as the tide is out, and look for frog and toad spawn in the rock pools.  It never fails to amaze us that year after year we find so much frog spawn in these brackish pools.   In some pools the tadpoles were just beginning to emerge – they were tiny!  Occasional primroses flowering in sheltered places, and lots of sunshine celandines peppering the grass.  Spring is hopefully on its way!

Treshnish Mull Cottages best picnic frogspawn

March on Mull

March on Mull

It is March the 1st today – and it seems to have ‘come in like a lamb’.  It was beautifully sunny most of the day and the sun was warm.  I found a first primrose in the field below the Treshnish Cottages, as we walked the dogs this afternoon.  We didn’t see the Orcas that Ewan from Nature Scotland saw not that far from here.   But hey ho, can’t win them all..

Treshnish Cottages Mull aurora garden view

Tonight, early evening, the skies came alive with the strongest Aurora Borealis I have photographed in a long time. I think it might almost be a year since we saw a display like this evening! For the first time this winter I decided to go over to Croig and see if I could catch some colour on the high tide.

Treshnish cottages Mull aurora raining

I hadn’t ever experienced aurora with rain before, but I got quite wet on my first attempt. The rain clouds soon moved off and the skies cleared again.

Treshnish cottages Mull Croig aurora boat

The house at the end of the pier has an outside light on each evening, and it lights up the fishermen’s sheds beautifully. There was not a breath of wind. Sometimes I hear Herons and Oystercatchers but tonight it was quiet.

Treshnish cottages Mull Aurora Croig creels

The temperature was around freezing.  Millions of stars.    The waters of Calgary Bay on the way home were almost luminous so I knew the Aurora was still displaying and I could see the glow.   When I got back to the house, I set the camera up outside.  Farmer and Daughter came out to have a look.  Suddenly we could see shafts of light ripping along the Isle of Coll, dancing before our eyes.  It was so beautiful and so exciting – in the true sense of the word, it was marvellous..  humbling and awesome.

Treshnish cottages Mull Aurora over Coll

What a splendid way for March on Mull to begin.   Please remember, tonight we could see the shafts of light and the green glow.  The camera (long exposure) picks up the pinks and reds, the colours we couldn’t see.

Short breaks until the end of April

April short breaks

Stop press – we are offering short breaks until the end of April!  We have always been happy to offer short breaks in the winter, but never really considered them into the main season.  However this year we seem have had an increasing number of enquiries from people requesting 3 or 4 nights. As a result we have decided to open up the space we have left in April to short breaks.  Currently the website will only let you book a week so email us via the Contact page and we can help make the booking for you.  We have spaces for April short breaks.  Please look at the availability chart on the Make a Booking page.

Treshnish self catering Mull Staffa basalt columns

April

April brings the Easter holidays for families and lambing for Mull farmers!  We are scanning our ewes tomorrow so that we know which ones are expecting twins or singles.  The twins will get some supplementary feeding to help them through the next 6 weeks or so.   The official start date is 11th April though there are always one or two early ones! The fields between the cottages and the sea become the nursery grounds as the number of lambs increase.  We are happy for you to walk through the fields, but please remember not with dogs.  The Scottish Outdoor Access Code prohibits taking dogs into fields with young stock.

Treshnish self catering Mull Herdiwck sheep close up

The cottages are mostly booked for Easter now but there is a short break in Toechtamhor available from Saturday 15th to Tuesday 18th April for anyone only available to come for 3 nights.  Its spacious grass garden is a good place for an Easter egg hunt too.  Here is a blog entry from Easter weekend 2014 – I hope we have the same sunshine this year!  And last April we took a day off before lambing started and went to Iona for the day – it was a wonderful day out!

Treshnish self catering Mull headland sea view

What’s on in April

At the moment the only events I know that are on during April are the Producers Markets. They are: Bunessan on Monday 3rd, Craignure on Sunday 16th, Tobermory on Sunday 17th and on the 23rd in Dervaig.  Details will be in April’s edition of Round & About!

Turus Mara trips to Staffa (above) and Lunga start in April too, as the Puffins return to breed. I know I will be booking a trip, and possibly one of their photographer’s trips too (where you get about 6 hours on the island). Don’t forget once you have booked to stay with us you are eligible for their 10% discount – ask us for details!

Treshnish self catering Mull Lunga Puffin open beak

My top 5 walks on Mull

My top 5 walks on Mull

I thought I would try and choose my top 5 walks on Mull. It is hard because there are so many wonderful places to explore, even just in the north west of Mull – let alone over the rest of the island.  None of the walks I have chosen are particularly long – the longest is probably no 1 which takes between 3 and 5 hours depending on how fast you walk and how long you linger. All of them make a good destination for a day out, and you can almost walk as much or as little as you want.

Each cottage has a guide to island walks on its bookshelves, and we have maps you can borrow too.

1. Treshnish Headland walk

I suppose it is obvious that the walk around the Treshnish headland would be my top choice!  It is where we live after all.  But I am not choosing it because of that but because it is a really beautiful walk. It is full of varied scenery, incredible views, with possibilities to spot otters and sea eagles, and what I really value in a walk, a sense of wildness.  There is history in the rugged landscape.  Look for the fort, the Dun, the chapel, the Whisky Cave and the carving beside a door way of one of the dwellings at Crackaig.

Treshnish Headland Mull top 5 walks sunset

2. Traigh na Cille

Another name for the Traigh na Cille walk is Kilninian or known locally as the Black Beach.  We have maps in the cottages and in the Phone Room for  you to borrow.  If you fancy a longer walk you could walk from here, its about 5 miles each way – otherwise drive to the bridge past Kilninian Schoolhouse and walk down from the little quarry.  Traigh na Cille has a wonderful view across to the Isle of Ulva. There is a shelf of rock which at low times reveals a maze of rock pools great for rock pooling – and lovely walks in both directions along the shore.

top 5 walks Mull Kilninian beach

3. Kilvickeon and Scoor

We have made a day trip in early April from here to walk and explore these beautiful beaches.  About a two hour journey through stunning scenery from here – but in my opinion, well worth it.  The path to Kilvickeon from the Scoor track passes near to the ruined church.   It was gloriously sunny and the local cows were grazing on the kelp that had washed up on the sands.

4. Port na Ban

This pretty beach is near Croig. Only a few miles from here.  You can park carefully, not to obscure access to the house there, beside the wall and walk along the track to the end.  There are two lovely beaches and one has a secret for you to discover.  Wonderful views to Rum, Eigg and Muck in the distance.  A perfect family walk and wonderful place to spend the day.

Treshnish Cottages Mull 5 tops walks

5. Inivea

Close to home, Inivea is a deserted township above the beautiful white sands and turquoise waters of Calgary Bay.  Walk along the track from the beach to the pier and then climb up the track to find the ruins of the settlement. There are wonderful views from there across the bay to the distinctive Treshnish Headland.

Top 5 walks Treshnish Mull Inivea Calgary

So these are my top 5 walks on Mull this week.   There are many more possibles, so I might have to rewrite the blog next week with another top 5.

Mull birds in winter

Mull birds in winter

I do enjoy watching Mull birds in winter – there is always something to see, and to watch.  However I am certainly not a professional birdwatcher, I am very much an amateur!   My birding knowledge is very limited and I never remember to carry either the right lens or the binoculars, so I spend a lot of time peering into the distance at tiny feathered creatures wondering… However, every now and then I get it right and I know what I see!  I have learned enough from Prasad to know that you don’t record guesses, that is just not done.

Today, an ordinary working Monday, I had a meeting to go to in Craignure. The ground was frozen with ice on the puddles and it was hailing. I set off and within minutes had encountered the young buzzard that we see a lot near the farmhouse.

Mull wildlife winter birds

Then the male hen harrier close to where I saw him three days ago.

Mull birds hen harrier

A heron at Calgary. Swans at Salen Bay and a flock of widgeon near the boats. By now the sun was shining and the day was stunning, the light on the snowy hills across the Sound of Mull was quite beautiful. On the way back from Craignure I saw a young otter running along the grass verge near the graveyard at Pennygown.

Winter birds Mull cottages

Mull Birds

So I saw all those, plus hooded crows, gulls (no good at IDing them so I dont try), ravens, thrushes, robins – as I drove along. Without even trying to spot them! In each cottage we have Prasad’s wildlife diary from 2006, which is a great guide as to what wildlife you might see all through the year – at Treshnish and in the surrounding area of North Mull. The Mull Birds website is a good place as anyone who sees anything interesting lets Mull Birds know. Prasad’s blog is also good, and more local to Treshnish and North Mull.

Mull birds winter cottages

Top tips for Winter breaks on Mull

Winter breaks on Mull

We offer winter breaks on Mull from the beginning of November through to the middle of March. You can book anything from a short break of 2 or 3 nights to a longer stay of several weeks or a month!  (NB Christmas & New Year dates have to be booked for a week). If you are thinking of coming to stay in the winter please email us before using our online booking system, to see if we have any special offers on the go!  This blog is to help you think about what winter breaks on Mull might be like and what to expect of the island in winter.

winter breaks on mull rainbow

Quieter

Mull is undoubtedly quieter in the winter, but many of our dedicated winter guests like to come and stay then because they enjoy that quiet feeling. The shorter days mean longer evenings indoors in the warm. Come at Christmas and New Year to escape the more commercial celebrations on the mainland. Some visitors even choose to take a winter break on Mull in order to get the Christmas cards written in peace away.

winter breaks on mull winter skies

What to love about Mull in winter!

What do I love about Mull in winter? I think it is the feeling that everyone has a little more time to chat – the pace of life remains busy but is governed more by the weather and the shorter days, the roads are quiet and you can have Calgary Beach all to yourself! Here at Treshnish we get in to the winter feeding routine, the school bus run in the darker mornings, and catch up on the maintenance in the cottages.

There was an article published last winter which implied that the ‘lights were off’ on Mull in winter, that there was not much open, not many places to go and eat, not much to do. But personally I think that is fair enough. Shopkeepers, accommodation providers, restauranteurs and small businesses work extremely hard in the main season, and they do need to refuel/recharge their batteries, work on their properties or even take a holiday themselves. It seems important to me that visitors taking winter breaks on Mull or planning winter breaks on Mull remember that it is an island, it is winter, but it is open – albeit for ‘out of season’ business!

Out of Season can be a good thing!

winter breaks on mull winter feed

To me ‘out of season’ has an additional attraction and appeal all of its own. The weather in the winter means the wildlife boat trips don’t run, but one or two of the land based wildlife tours will take people out. The more exotic migrant visitors may not be around, but otters, eagles and deer are here all year round, and often easier to see in the winter than in the summer.

It is all about having the right attitude! Places like the Glengorm Coffee Shop and Calgary Tearoom will be closed in winter. Instead why not enjoy the local produce another way – buy your picnic ingredients from local shops and go to the beac! In the evening you can splash out at the Bellachroy in Dervaig or the MacDonald Arms in Tobermory (one of several pubs open all year round). Ballygown Restaurant towards Ulva Ferry opens sometimes in winter too.

The Mull Museum and Duart Castle are also closed in winter.  Instead you can research some of this history yourselves. Use the books in our Phone Room/Library and go out to explore other historic places and sites on the island by yourselves. On the farm are the ruined villages of Crackaig and Glac Guguaridh.  If you are like me, you might enjoy drawing ones own conclusions about some of the remoter less obvious sites anyway.

Expectations!

So, winter breaks on Mull, are all about expectation. Please don’t book a winter break expecting the island to be in full summer mode! Some of our regular winter guests never come and stay in the summer – they love the bare bones of Mull in the winter, and it always exceeds their expectations.

winter breaks on mull snow

Treshnish winter breaks on Mull offer a quiet, remote escape from the hurly burly of the mainland.  Flexible arrival days to suit you and the winter ferry timetable. Warm and comfortable cottages – most have a wood burner (Shieling is the exception).

Enjoy the ‘sitooterie’

Shian, Duill and Studio all have a ‘sitooterie’ (unheated sunroom) designed to allow you to enjoy the outdoors under shelter – out of the wind and rain if it is stormy.  You can sit and watch for a Golden eagle to ‘hang’ in the northerly thermals in front of the cottage, as they are known to do – or watch out for the male Hen harrier as he flies past to his favourite hunting ground.

winter breaks on Mull sunset

PS Winter is fantastic for photography too…