Skye, Mull and Iona ~ a Spiritual return to centre

Crossing the heart of Skye we realised we were at the centre of our Scottish Isles Journey, but it was also a turning point emotionally. Only another week of travelling and we would be heading home to Bedfordshire, after nine months absence on Scottish shores. We had truly been ‘living the dream.’ We were upgraded to a delightful flat above our intended B & B with views on all sides ~ The Highlands and loch, the sea and coastline and the Quiraing hills towering at the back of us. Our aim on Skye was to walk as much as possible.

DSCN1081 In fact we hiked up hills, strolled along coastal paths, scrambling on DSCN1086rugged shoreline and enjoying the air and the scenery. It was a return to wholeness ~ a centring of our very beings.

DSCN1083 The sombre weather did nothing to dampen our experience, although our final drive across the Cuillins was disappointingly wet ~ in contrast to our following day in Tobermory, Mull, when we ate fish and chips by the harbour in the evening sunshine.

DSCN1134The quickest way from Skye to Mull is to take the ferry to the mainland from Armadale to Mallaig, (joining the circles of our train trip to Mallaig in March here) and to wind the way around the headland to an insignificant ferry port ~ in fact only a small neon sign announcing the next ferry reassured us that we were waiting at the correct location. The ferry was so small (a temporary event we were told) that my husband had to back out on the other side and do a three point turn on the peer head ~ not for the faint-hearted!

Our drive across Mull the next day was a kind of pilgrimage and, having visited Iona three times back in the 8o’s and 90’s, I was particularly excited to return.

The Seaview B & B at Fionnphort was a perfect welcome to take photos of Iona and the abbey and to wander along the coastal path before eating supper at the local pub. I was so excited to board the ferry the next morning and fortunately the sun was shining on us.


What can I say about the abbey experience? Now owned by Scottish Heritage, expect to visit this spiritual home of Christianity as if you are visiting a castle or stately home. In the end I ignored the headphones which hung redundant around my neck and, giving the many numbered plaques a wide birth too, I attempted to breathe in the heart of the place, pausing occasionally to light a candle or just to sit and let my mind drift wherever it willed. Fortunate that we had caught the first ferry, this was just about possible.

Before we left my husband wanted to find the tomb stones of the Kings and Chieftains which should have been in the wee graveyard, if his memory was correct. Disappointed we headed back to the village but, avoiding a sudden rain shower, we sheltered in the little museum, which was both informative and dry!

We remarked on our poor memory and the tomb stones.

‘Ah,’ the lady said. ‘Many folks ask me that. They are now in the abbey museum or on the walls of the cloisters.’ Seeing our puzzled faces she added, ‘to protect them from the weather I should think.’

On leaving Iona I was aware that nothing in life remains the same. Everything moves on with the times and so should I. I’m not sure that I was ready or even prepared for going home, but soon I would find out ~ nevertheless I would certainly hold dear many precious memories of our Scottish experience.




About Diana Jackson

Author of 'The Healing Paths of Fife', Historical Romantic fiction ~ The Riduna Series set in 19th and early 20th Century a murder mystery ~ 'Murder, Now and Then' and two memoir. What links my books ~ history! Riduna on Twitter and on Facebook too!
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5 Responses to Skye, Mull and Iona ~ a Spiritual return to centre

  1. Pat says:

    Beautiful excursions, Diana. I’m happy to read about them. It felt like I was right there with you viewing the seacoasts and breathing in the cool, crisp air. Scotland, home of my ancestors, looks to be a beautiful place that I hope to visit one day. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. There are so many beautiful places in Scotland Pat. Do you know which area your ancestors came from?

    • Pat says:

      Yes, Diana, Aberdeen and Glascow. My Dad’s parents. My grandfather was a marine engineer and worked in the engine room on ships. As the story goes, on his travels he contracted malaria and wasn’t permitted back in Scotland so went to the states.

      On my grandmother’s side she had a grandfather that was a Scotch Naturalist and had a book written about him. The book is over a hundred years old and I have it (also on PDF) and wrote a story about it on my site. If you’re interested in reading my post, here’s the link: It’s called “Telling Stories – Holding Onto Memories”.

      I have made a connection with a distant cousin in Australia who has done quite a bit of genealogy research on my paternal side of the family (name: Collingwood) for which I’m grateful. BTW — it was interesting in your latest post where one of your photos had a place bearing the same name “Collingwood”. Curious, if there was any connection.

      Thanks for asking. As you can see, I get pretty excited when talking about them and your part of the world. Creates a lot of imaginary possibilities and images for me.

  3. Oh Pat. I love the twists and turns of family history too and will certainly read and review it on this blog, Your comment about Collingwood caught my attention. Not familiar to me. Which photo was that? Thanks for popping by my friend and if you ever get over here I hope we meet up (or visa versa maybe:-)

    • Pat says:

      Hi Diana — there are, indeed, many twists and turns, for sure, in family history. It makes life interesting. You know I may have misspoken about seeing ‘Collingwood’ on one of your photos. I looked through them again and didn’t see it this time — hmmm.

      I’m always happy to pop over, Diana. I enjoy your stories and photos of Scotland — makes me a little homesick in some way. That would be fun to hook up — if I get a chance to get over there. I’d love it and the same for over here if you come.

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