Mull

The Mull interior near Dervaig

The memory of the Isle of Mull is like a warm handprint upon my mind where eagles soared in the skies and otters scampered along the endless jagged coastline, where dolphin pods arced above waters that splashed upon geological wonders thrusting from the sea, where narrow roads pulled me through vast glens echoing with the primordial hammer strokes of creation. Mull is a thriving wilderness that propositions the visitor with communion. Will you stop and allow this outside world to help you look inward?

Out on the lonely roads and in the wild places or hunched over a pint amidst the pub’s clamor there is a sense of being connected to something greater here on Mull, and in all my travels it is a special feeling I hold in reverence. Read more...

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The falling sun pulls a sheet of light across Tobermory Bay in that scant moment between day and night. The parti-colored houses standing in a horseshoe around the dark water leap into saturated brilliance, the pink and red buoys and bright fishing trawlers drink in the twilight’s bronze dram. From the sea between Calve Island and the Morvern Peninsula, the Muileachs haul in the day’s catch, and the smell of fried haddock and boiled prawns tangles with woodsmoke and sodden earth in air that has, for once, gone still as a sphinx listening to the conspicuous absence of our “progress.”

Each moment of wan sunlight sends the world ever farther away, and the melancholy traveler’s soul struggles in its wake. For those who have lost their way, traveling is…
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The Hills of Perthshire

I get loads of questions every month from readers seeking my input on their itineraries and asking for recommendations for how they should spend their time in Scotland. I’m honored and happy to help, and it’s a task I take seriously. For many people, it will be their only trip to Scotland, the one they scrimped and saved to make a reality, the one they might’ve dreamed about for years.

I realized after my first consultation that I couldn’t just serve up my top five Scottish destinations to every inquirer. It wasn’t targeted, so it wasn’t very helpful. And when I pondered the situation, it didn’t feel right.

Looking at my notes… Read more...

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A thousand breaths fill the air above the threefold loch. The watery triptych aborts my drive, pulls on all the metal in my bones like a vast and irresistible magnet. I crouch in the moor scrub along the edge of the vacant road and watch those breaths pour into my throat with each inhalation. There is a faint ringing in my ears – a phenomenon I’ve experienced across Scotland at places like this – that only now strikes me as someone–or something–calling. Clouds scrape over the hills and ripple the water with their incorporeal bellies. There are unseen forces at play, but I can hear them, feel them.

My mind reaches. There are three roots on the Norse World Tree, Yggdrasil, where Odin endured a threefold death.
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Across the peacock sea where the waves lunge into the heavens like waterfowl slung toward the cirraform clouds, our skiff, the Hoy Lass, skims over the glass deeps west of the Isle of Mull, among the Treshnish Isles. The seas have risen, have cut off these tiny isles from one another, like sailors buried in sand to their necks, watching the tide roll in, though they hold hands beneath the surface. Our captain captures a floating pier, some prop from the movie Waterworld, and delivers us to the uninhabitated isle of Lunga. The names of all these islands are the jetsam of distant Vikings. The wind rocks our bridge to Lunga and I wonder what lagan awaits me.

I pick my way across sharp, volcanic rock toward the sound of mewling seal pups…
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