Hebridean Adventure Part 2
After a quick lunch stop at a castle on Karrera and playing 'dodge the Calmac ferry', it was time to take the short journey over to Mull to meet up with my old diving buddy Darren Morley who had been living there for some years.
He had been doing all sorts of triathlons and sportives and I knew he would be up for a decent bike ride.
I met up with Darren at the local Salen Spar shop where I came across the local moggy, who was very chatty and fiercely guards the community defibrillator!
After a pleasant evening camp, we set off around northern Mull for a decent 44 mile ride. There were some evil hills with hair pin bends that scuppered me but luckily they were only short. The clag was down but Darren took the time to point out all the islands I would have seen on a better day!
We stopped in Tobermory to load up on whiskey and goodies, me thinking that all the hills were done.
How wrong I was! Shocked at the next one I was faced with, Darren kindly took all my whiskey swag and rode it up the hill.
It was to be his undoing as, some while later, a large lorry ran us off the road. Darren was fine but with two bottles of single malt and a bottle of gin on his back, he lost his balance and found himself upside down in a bramble bush! I sort of fished him out and we made our way back to Salen.
No sooner had we got back and Darren was away to rescue a lady from a campsite. He is part of the local mountain rescue on Mull and regularly gets called to drag hapless tourists up beaches, off mountains and out of campsites to the waiting ambulance.
Meanwhile, I set off on the single track road for over an hour to Fidden Farm, right at the other, western end of Mull. This was mean to be a kayaking mecca. I turned up in grey mizzle but parked right at the edge of the white, sandy beach with turquoise, calm waters. It was idyllic.
The next morning I literally rolled out of my sleeping bag and into my kayak for a gentle mooch just south west of Fidden Farm. There were seals and birds a plenty and lovely white sandy beaches on desolate islands for snack stops.
After a couple of nights here, I headed back to the mainland as I couldn’t get a ferry direct from Mull to Barra, my next stop.
On the advice of my good friend Dave Ryall, I found a nice little overnight top right on the shore of Loch Etive. The weather was ok, so I couldn’t resist a little paddle up the loch which was like glass; not a ripple. Then I heard a big splash behind me. I was being tracked by a couple of seals who no doubt hang out there in the hope of an easy meal from the fish farm in the loch.
After an evening of tinned camping food and some wine, I settled in for the night ready for the ferry crossing the next day to Barra.
About the Author
Christine Grosart is a Paramedic, working offshore mainly on diving vessels.
She started beach cleans around 2011 and has gone on to be a trustee, secretary, instructor and underwater photographer for the charity Ghost Fishing UK.
She wrote the first training course for scuba divers to remove lost ghost nets, in the world.
In 2009 she visited the far reaches of Wookey Hole cave and still holds the British female cave diving depth record.
In 2020 she became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for her work with Ghost Fishing UK as well as her cave diving exploration. In the same year she was included in the BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour Power List.