Scottish Islands Adventure - Day 4
To: Tinker's Hole - Ross of Mull
Distance: 15 nm
Weather: Sunny at first, rain later
I could hardly contain my excitement as we climbed into the rib and headed ashore to see these fun birds. Lunga itself looked stunning with a carpet of wildflowers in blues and yellows. Walking up the cliff from the beach brings you to the area of puffin burrows, all was quite and still. I worried that in coming before the tourists arrived we had also come to the island before the puffins were awake. But then a stripy red, triangular beak poked out quizzically from a burrow, quickly followed by the rest of a puffin! Puffins then appeared all around, popping out from their burrows to great the world. It was such a treat to be some close to them, watching them moving comically about their business.
Despite for me the puffins being the main attraction, Lunga is not short of other bird life. The sky was thick with Razorbills, fulmar, shags, guillemots and black headed gulls flying in and out of the cliffs. Hidden in the bracken in land we heard, snipe, corncrake and night jars calling.
It was time to drag myself away from the puffins as we had another objective in our sights to get to before the masses arrived, Fingal’s Cave. This basalt cavern is located on the south side of Staffa island, a short distance from Lunga. As we approached we could see the tour boats on our AIS vessel monitoring screen also heading for the cave. The race was on! We arrived first and swiftly go the rib over the side. Eric jumped in and was able to experience the magic of being inside Fingal’s Cave alone. Eric and the rib were brought back on board and we headed towards Iona Sound to look for an anchorage to shelter from the building wind and rain.
The Sound of Erraid looked like a good place with it’s pretty sandy beach but it was filled with a sea kayak convention and the anchor refused to hold so we decided to try out ‘Tinker’s Hole’. Despite the entrance looking quite tricky, weaving between visible and submerged rocks, the pilot book referred to it as west Scotland’s most popular anchorage. Once again with the help of the high resolution detail on the Antares charts we steeled ourselves in to the small but very well protected pool. It was slightly surreal to look out of the boat and see rocks towering up on all sides just a few meters away. Some soup and a change into dry clothes made this snug anchorage feel even cosier. The rain showed no signs of getting any drier so we decided if we were going to be wet we might as well be properly wet and donned wetsuits and fins for a snorkel in the clear water.
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