Iona - at last!

Route: Iona Abbey, Dun I and the north end

Date walked: 21/06/2018

Time taken: 2.3 hours

Distance: 7.5km

A few years ago we attempted to reach Iona on the Waverley...but fog defeated us and we ended up sailing instead to Tobermory. Undaunted, we tried again the next year. This time the Waverley made it just off the coast of Iona but the sea was too rough to do the boat transfer. So it was a trip around Staffa and Fingals Cave instead. This time we decided to go the long way, staying in Oban crossing on the Calmac taking the first ferry of the day and driving down to Fionnphort to get the ferry there.

Ferry to Iona

At last we had reached Iona! The sea was so beautiful and clear. OH's target was Iona Abbey, I opted to skip the abbey and head straight on up to Dun I and from there round to the beach. So oldie dog Fly joined OH on an exploration of the Abbey while Moss and myself went walkies.


It is impossible to miss Dun I and we followed the road to a gate where there was a clear grassy track heading up. This split and it seems there are a few routes to get to the summit. We followed a path that stayed to the right, it was steep but easy enough and we were soon at the summit. There were other people there but they were soon on their way back down and we had the summit to ourselves. Considering it is only a small hill, the views were impressive Ben More on Mull looming in the distance, a target for another trip in the future, and beautiful blue seas and islands all around.

Moss on Dun I

Having spent a bit of time on the summit, with Moss having a lie down in a convenient summit-puddle to cool off, we decided it was time to head back down passing a small group of people on the way. It wasn't long before we were back on the road and continuing on towards the beach. A sheepdog working a group of calves was a bit of a distraction, we would see them again later on! Where the road bent to the left we headed straight on through a gate, and through another gate onto a grassy track that led round to the beach via another gate. Moss gained her freedom and raced down the beach to the sea. Time for some swimming!

Some swimming

The water was amazingly clear and we walked along the white sand Moss sometimes dropping the toy for me to throw in the water for her or simply playing by herself digging or rolling in the sand and kicking her toy all over the place. It is nice not having to constantly be throwing a toy and makes for a more relaxing walk.

My toy...

dig dig dig...

Where we reached the rocks we followed a path at the edge coming to a fence, which ended among the rocks and could just be walked round but Moss, being Moss, saw an obstacle in her path and simply jumped over it no hesitation. I've never seen her jump a wire fence but purely out of precaution when around fields of livestock she is on the lead even if there is a fence. I think I will be continuing with that! Here though the fence was only keeping her from the beach and the sea, no harm done and she raced towards the blue water for more swimming.


We walked along the second stretch of beach which was a bit better for swimming as it was a bit more sheltered and after reaching the next set of rocks we decided it was time to start heading back and rejoin Fly. There was more play on the beach on the way back until Moss decided to ditch her toy for a piece of kelp and have a go at sweeping the beach.

Spot the doggy!


At the gate it was back on the lead and through the field of sheep and this is where we encountered the sheepdog and calves again. They were being moved into the field next to the one we were walking across. It was pretty impressive watching the dog move the calves but we stayed well back out of the way just watching. Calves safely in their field, we continued on reaching the road and following it back passed Iona Abbey where we started keeping an eye out for Fly. We soon found them sitting on a bench watching the world go by, and there was some happy nose-touches when the two dogs were reunited. Time for a cuppa and we headed to a cafe which had some of the best shortbread I've had in a long time, I had to go back for another (the last!) piece. The gardens were partially shaded and there was loads of space around the benches for the dogs to decide whether to sit in the sun, the shade, or half and half.

Oldie Fly waiting for the ferry back to Mull

After a snack we headed along back to the harbour seeing the ferry heading across towards us. It was a short trip back across to Mull and getting there early looked like it was a good move as there was a fair crowd waiting to cross with the small island getting busier. With some time before our ferry back to Oban we followed the "scenic route" to Salen and from there up for a wander around Tobermory before returning to Craignuire. Iona reached at last it was mission complete!


Ferry back to Oban

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Comments: 2

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Ideal day out: Anything with an easy to follow route!

Munros: 38
Corbetts: 10
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 2
Sub 2000: 18

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Ascent: 312m
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Joined: Feb 12, 2015
Last visited: Jun 25, 2018
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