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Sketching on the Isle of Mull

These are sketches from the stunning Isle of Mull, on the west of Scotland. We are here for a week, walking and sketching. I’m using watercolours mostly, but also working with pencil and pen with washes.
J & I have driven up to Oban. As it was a long drive for us, we had broken the journey in Cumbria. Arriving in good time for the ferry, we’re​ able to go shopping for vittles​. I’m looking forward to showing J the places I’ve been to before and exploring new places on the island.

Featured sketch above:
Sketching pen with a watercolour wash ~ looking towards Malcolm’s Point on the Ross of Mull ~ A4

Materials Used

These sketches are in an A4 Arboreta heavy-weight 160g/m sketch pad. I’ve used a 6B pencil and awaterproof fineliner pen. Plus my small Winsor & Newton, watercolour field paint box and a couple of round brushes – sable no.6 & a no.1

Pencil sketch of Duarte Castle Guarding The Sound

Duart Castle

The weather at the moment is sunshine and showers. As we cross the sea, Duart Castle looks magnificent. Brooding on its headland, with the sunshine streaming through the clouds. A5 ~ A quick pencil sketch as we pass by on the ferry.

Watercolour and pen sketch of Ardmore Point and the Sound of Mull.
Watercolour with pen ~ A5
The tranquil (today) view towards Ardmore Point and Beinn nan Codhan. It feels great to be back here in the Hebrides.

Tobermory

The little studio flat that we are staying in is very pleasant and has everything we need.
After settling in, we head over to Tobermory to stretch our legs. We stroll out from the harbour town along the little path out to the lighthouse at Rubha nan Gall (translated as Bloody Bay!)
This is a lovely walk along the Sound of Mull to the beautiful setting of the lighthouse.

Watercolour sketch of the ketch 'Solais na Mara'
Watercolour sketch, A5, of the ketch ‘Solais na Mara’ moored in Tobermory harbour.
See also my post Ursula for an update on this boat.
Pencil sketch of Calve Island and the Sound of Mull.
This pencil sketch is looking out from the woods across Calve Island to the Morvern Peninsular behind ~ A5.
On our return to Tobermory, we walked out eastwards through the woods of Aros Park.
It’s been a day of sunshine & showers again today, but more dry than wet. So that’s good enough for me – when you’re​ on holiday in Scotland!

Carsaig to Malcolm’s Point

A sunny day, so we have decided to walk from Carsaig to Malcolm’s Point and the ‘Arches’. On the beautiful Ross of Mull. We stopped quickly at the shop for sun cream on the way. Not wanting to ruin the holiday by being burnt to a crisp.
It takes quite a long time to drive around to the ‘Ross’ and the little road down to Carsaig is rather adventurous. Being very steep and narrow and when at the bottom, there are not many places to park either. But when you get there what a cracking spot! I have walked here before and knew J would love it too. (See the featured sketch at the top of the post.)

The walking is hard going over the rocky beach and little path, but the scenery is on a grand and spectacular scale.
Pencil sketches of goats and crosses in the Nun's Cave.
Our lunchtime stop was at the ‘Nun’s Cave’. The cave is said to have been inhabited by Nuns which fled to it, during the Reformation, from the Iona Nunnery. The large cave has crosses carved onto its inner walls. It would have made a fine retreat.

Some wild goats with impressive horns were also on the path with us, though they quickly jumped away as we got closer.

We eventually reached the ‘Arches’, which are incredibly impressive. They are made of hexagonal Basalt Columns, formed by lava flows. Unfortunately, by now we were running short on time, so I couldn’t do a sketch of them. However, on the way back we saw two Golden Eagles flying alongside Aoineath Mor cliff, being bombed by ravens. They are magnificent as they glide along and looking indignant about the ravens!
What a grand day walking on the wild and rugged Ross of Mull’s coastline.

Dun Ara

Pencil sketch of Dun Ara
A4 (in length) pencil sketch of Dun Ara set in its lonely landscape.

A walk to Dun Ara today, which is near Glengorin Castle.
Dun Ara is a small ruined castle/watchtower, with a very small harbour set below its cliff walls. It has a little path which leads up to its summit, where you can make out the ruined walls. It’s another impressive setting. Apparently from here,​ you can see out to Barra in the Outer Hebrides archipelago, but it was too hazy today.

Iona

Watercolour sketch of a Cross at Iona Abbey.
Watercolour ~ A4

Today we drove right to the end of the Ross of Mull to catch the ferry across to Iona (with coach loads of other people!)
Iona seems to have been full of chapels and holy places. There is certainly a feeling of peace to the island. The new restoration work to the Abbey is very impressive. I particularly liked the cloisters.
We had a late lunch sat outside (a bit chilly, but dry) in the gardens. Whilst eating I was sketching one of the two large, carved, stone crosses outside the main doors of the Abbey.

Eilean Ban

Watercolour sketch of Loch na Lathaich from Bunessan.

Watercolour ~ A4
The island of Eilean Ban is on the left and in the distance is Eilean na Liathanaich Lighthouse, looking rather lonely. You couldn’t have a better spot for a refreshing brew and a sketch. After we went for a short stroll west along the island, but I felt we needed longer to explore properly. Have to come back sometime, just to walk around the island. On the drive back, we stopped at Bunessan for a cup of tea. Which we supped looking out at the tranquil Loch na Lathaich.

‘S Airde Beinn

Watercolour sketch of Loch Sunart and the Sound of Mull

Watercolour sketch ~ A4

‘S Airde Beinn is an inactive, former volcano above Tobermory. It’s also, a great walk with a little steep accent. Once at the summit you get great views across the Sound of Mull to Loch Sunart and beyond to the Outer Isles. The summit still looks like a volcano too. With a path around what would have been the craters edge, it now has a lochen in the crater.

Lastly

Duart Castle

Pen ~ A4

Our last day on the lovely Isle of Mull. Before catching the ferry back to the mainland we drove down to Duart Castle. The castle is in such a magnificent, commanding position, set on its rocky outcrop. Though inside, it seems smaller than you would expect. It’s made up of such massive walls that there is just not much space!
Well worth a visit.
With this sketch, I tried to capture its brooding look. Sat on its rocky plinth, guarding the Sound of Mull. I started the trip sketching Duart Castle and now I’m finishing with it too.

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