Friday, 22 June 2012

A voyage to the Treshnish Isles

Lunga is one of the Treshnish Islands, an uninhabited group off the west coast of Mull. They were not always uninhabited as they were once a stronghold of one of the clans who built a castle there and more recently a family farmed Lunga for many years as a summer sheiling. Now the population is seabirds and seals. We sailed from Fionnphort with a group of friends on Mark Jardine’s beautiful classic boat. Birthe Marie was built as a fishing boat in Denmark in 1933. Mark has done a great job restoring her as an eco-friendly charter boat. Though she has a powerful engine, the idea when wind allows, is to sail, using her ketch rig where the wind takes her and take in the scenery and wildlife. That is just what we did. I have to admit that the day we went out the sea was a flat calm and the wind about force one, so the engine had to be used until the wind picked up later in the day
Our first “port of call” was Lunga, landing on the rocks and climbing the cliff path to the Puffin burrows to photograph and enjoy the antics of these friendly members of the Auk family. They have little fear of humans so it is possible to get in close for photographs, in fact they are quite happy to pose and sometimes a second bird will sidle into the shot. It is said that they tolerate human presence because our being there stops the gulls from mobbing them and grabbing food as the puffins return to the cliffs from a fishing trip. Seemed to work whilst we were there! So we all lazed in the sun eating picnics and enjoying the fabulous scenery before returning to our boat to voyage on.

                                                       We skirted the west side of the island going quite close to Harp Rock, so called because of its shape, not its musical outpourings. These would have been drowned by the thousands of guillemots and shearwaters nesting on the sheer face of the rock. The wind picked and so we were able to sail the next leg to Staffa. Staffa needs no introduction as Felix Mendelssohn introduced the island to the world with his “Fingal’s Cave” Overture. For me it was an overdue return for I was last in the cave in 1987 when on a naval training exercise when I was allowed to take a small dinghy right into the cave. Little did I know then that I would live on Mull and return to Staffa! Time did not allow landing on the island so after looking at the spectacular rock formations we set sail for home with a fair wind on the quarter and the sun  warming our  backs. The end to a pleasant day at sea!


  1. I enjoyed the voyage and the photographs. How wonderful that part of the world is - and that is a beautiful boat.

  2. I come here from Pear Tree log attracted by the name of your blog. Love the Isle of Mull and the Outer Hebrides,visiting Scotland every year at least once or twice but have never been to the Treshnish isles so found today's post most interesting with lovely photos. Do pop over and see me some time.


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