South and West of the Isle of Mull

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After the end of the Clyde Cruising Club cruise, we were again on our own (actually four of us) which resulted in less partying etc.

We had a good run to Tinker's Hole, on the SW corner of Mull, and spent a day or so hiking, with no cars, pubs or street lights in sight.

Although open to the Atlantic swell, there are so may rocks in the somewhat tricky entrance the it is calm inside.

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We hiked over to David Balfour's bay, named after the hero in Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" 

RLS had spent several months in the immediate area while his father was in charge of building an offshore lighthouse, and based his novel on the exact local and regional geography.
A few miles North of Tinker's Hole took us to the strange island of Staffa, much of which is formed with large crystals of lava. 

Fingal's cave is on the right of the photograph, with another cave in the centre.

These hexagonal crystals are visible in many of the surrounding islands.

Composer  Felix Mendelssohn visited  the cave in 1829 and is reputed to have been inspired by the weird echoes in the cave to write his Hebrides Overture

We visited the cave too, but did not write any music. 

It is quite easy to land on the island in reasonable weather, and climb into the cave, as Pam has here.  In the past, we have taken the dinghy right in to the back of the cave, but the sea was not calm enough this time. 
We stopped off at the almost uninhabited islands of Ulva and Gometra.

It is clear that there was an unusually active farming community there 200 years ago, but life was tough, to most of the hardy inhabitants emigrated, while the stay-at-homes were mostly evicted in the notorious Highland Clearances. 

This house, empty since about 1820, shows that they were good with stone.
There are several good walking trails on Ulva, but only a few people, including one schoolkid.
  We spent another night in Tinker's Hole when heading East, and were visited by these wild goats. 

There are relatively few large wild animals in Scotland, except for deer, so this was quite a surprise. 

They wandered along the cliff about 50 metres for our boat, treating us with disdain.
  Like so many Scottish anchorages. Puilladobhrain is well placed for hiking.

This shot is over the Firth of Lorne, with our anchorage a little to the right of centre. 
  Back in Oban we stopped to catch up on some work, and enjoyed the excellent weather, which immediately followed the day the kids went back to school.

Milvina is the relatively small boat in the lower right.

The twin peaks of Ben Cruachan are showing up clearly, reminding me of climbing them 50 years ago.

Well reprovisioned, and well fed, we headed North, with the intention of going up inside Skye and on further North.
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