|Running on Ulva|
|Walking a trail on Ulva, showing snow on Ben More|
The following morning, still swathed in mist and drizzly rain, we packed and moved to the island of Ulva for a couple of nights, farther away from the high hills where we assumed there'd be less precipitation.
We were right, and enjoyed a sunny 4 mile walk from the ferry to our 'secret camp' by the south facing shore only feet away from the sea. As usual, the seals were there to greet us, a solitary heron stalked the seaweed covered rocks on the opposite shoreline while greylag geese bugled back and forth across the bay.
|At Whale Bay - before the snow|
Out of the sunshine it was bitterly cold, in sharp contrast to the unnaturally warm temperatures of the previous couple of weeks. Instead of shorts and t-shirts we were back to winter thermals under various other wind-stopping layers. On a 4 mile morning run we were amazed to see Ben More, just across the water, plastered with fresh snow.
On a subsequent walk to Whale Bay hunting for otters we too were caught in a brief but vicious little snow flurry. And if that wasn't enough it showered us with stinging hailstones. But patches of primroses, a trail strewn with early violets and a thrush singing from the ruins of an old croft cheered us on our way.
|Beasties sheltering from the wind at Fidden Farm|
After three days we moved to an official campsite at Fidden Farm opposite the sacred island of Iona and once again pitched our tent in a delectable grassy spot only yards from the sea. But apart from another short run and a few bumbly walks very little got done due to wild, wet and windy weather.
Unlike last Easter, the campsite was almost deserted, causing the lady owner to complain bitterly of the lost revenue. Lambing time had not yet begun so the lucky wee creatures were still tucked up in warm wombs. A herd of cows, along with their calves and a huge lumbering bull, spent an awful lot of time sheltering in the lee of the old farm cottage.
|Iona Abbey before the arrival of the pilgrims|
|Sunset from our wee tent|
|Early birthday for 'Yours truly'|
After the service we moved back onto Mull for an early getaway on the first ferry back to the mainland the following morning. That evening I was treated to a mouthwatering seafood meal and fruity wine at the Mediterranea restaurant in Salen which, I'm told, marked the start of my 80th birthday celebrations. My daughter, Sue, recently began her 60th birthday celebrations with cards and presents many days prior to the actual event. "I'm having a birthday week, it's brilliant" she said on Facebook. With a month to go I suppose the same can be said of mine.