A day in Iona

We had a visit from family last weekend, Joe’s mum, dad and brother drove up to see us. Unlike the past few weeks the weather was great, they must have brought the sunshine with them.

They were only here for four days but we managed to see a bit more of the island. I had Friday off work so we used the whole day to travel right down to the south of the island and visit Iona, a small island just a short ferry ride over from the mainland (The mainland being Mull, not the actual mainland Scotland).

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The scenery in the south of the island is wonderful, tall, rugged mountains and smooth wind-blown cliffs. None of that really compares to the beaches. Wide, white expanses of sand, you could almost be on a tropical island somewhere.

Once on Iona we had a short walk along the island to one of the beaches, past the ruins of a convent, and the monastery, through fields of sheep (biggest sheep I’ve ever seen), and down through the dunes to the sea, much to the delight of a rather hot Reuben.

The rock pools on Iona, although small, contained some fantastic species. I found two sea-gooseberries (a type of comb jellyfish) within five minutes of each other. That makes a total of 3 that I’ve found in my entire life. There were also lots of Gem anemones, a small anemone species with pink bodies and stripy tentacles, my second favourite after the beautiful red beadlet anemones.

As well rock pool creatures, there were a few Oyster catchers sat on the rocks, and we even saw a seal bobbing in the water, watching us play on the beach.

There’s something about a beach that always sends Reuben into manic play mode. He will start digging holes as soon as his paws touch the sand, and should there be any kelp lying around its best to move out of the way, it gets swung round in all directions. Mix these two things with water as well and we end up with a very happy, wet and sandy Reuben.

The drive home was great, I persuaded Joe’s mum to drive the scenic route, and considering the regular roads around Mull are mostly single track and quite bumpy, I’m surprised she agreed. The road was indeed narrower, much more windy, and had a lot of grass growing on it. It was worth it though, the views were amazing.

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Hopefully we can visit Iona again, there is definitely loads more rock pooling and exploring to be done there.

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