Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mull it Over

May 2012

After the Airstream weekend in Dorset, I had a few weeks off. Where to go? Somewhere close by like Pembrokeshire or North Devon? You know, the kind of places where normal people would head to from Dorset?

Nope. I needed my Hebrides. So off we went on our long, long journey north.

In the meantime, one of my esteemed editors had decided that I'd be the best person to write a 'seaside special' about Tobermory in Mull, as I was THE Hebridean caravanner.

Slight problem with that. I'd never been to Mull, let alone Tobermory.

But now, I had an excuse.

I'm proud of the fact that I have never, ever written about somewhere I haven't been myself, so it was my pleasure to swing by Mull on the way to somewhere more remote.

Given my experience in Cornwall, I wasn't expecting great things from Tobermory. I imagined a rip-off joint epitomising everything I dislike about the UK Tourist Trap.

How utterly, utterly wrong I was. Tobermory, indeed the entire Isle of Mull, was an absolute delight. It was oodles better than I had dared to hope. Not as remote, quiet, or treeless as the Outer Hebrides, but a wonderful place all the same.

The trip started off in Craignure, Mull's principle ferry port, where I had my first ever veggie Haggis, neaps, and tatties courtesy of the friendly Craignure Inn. Yum!

As is often the case in the Hebrides, you end up seeing the same people over and over again. A lovely Scottish lady I'd met on the ferry in the doggy area crossed my path a couple more times during my stay in Craignure. Commenting on the wet and pretty miserable weather using local dialect she said: 'Aye, it's a bit dree!' Or maybe it's spelt draigh? But it's pronounced 'dree'. And it can only be dree in Scotland.

Sniffing about the Tourist Info centre in Craignure, I realised that my four days in Mull was never going to be enough, and I rebooked my ferry crossing so that I could stay a week. And I was straight on the phone to the Esteemed Editor: 'Never mind two pages! This place deserves a mega-spread!' Fortunately he trusted me enough to commission a larger feature on Mull there and then, and I'm pretty sure that nobody was disappointed with the results.

Tobermory is a delight. An absolute delight. I really, really, really liked it.

It was there I saw that the mobile cinema (in a lorry!) was visiting, and on the Friday would be showing a film I'd always wanted to see - Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. So I decided to go.

Beforehand I took a tour of the Tobermory distillery - it was OK, but nothing really to shout about. On it, I met a lovely German couple, Frank and Ciara. Frank was a fellow photographer with the latest version of my camera, so we enjoyed a nice chat.

The cinema experience in the truck was amazing. No trailers before the film but as everybody knew everybody else the auditorium was alive with the sound of animated chatter. I loved the film, and all through it the lady next to me whom I had never before met kept offering me wine gums. Have I mentioned how much I love the Hebrides?

As I left the mobile cinema on a high, I noticed what a beautiful evening it was. I grabbed my camera and tripod from the car, went to the corner of the harbour wall to do some night shots, and guess who was there? Yup, Frank, my new friend.

Anyone who has done night photography will know just how much hanging around is involved waiting for super-long exposures, so it was nice to chat and bounce ideas off each other as we waited for our shutters to close. A total coincidence, and the perfect end to a wonderful evening.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds lovely. Another on our list of must go places.