Mull is an ancient and beautiful place, born in the fires of a long extinct volcanic eruption. Some of its rocks date back nearly three thousand million years. Its towering mountains and majestic sea cliffs were ravaged and shaped by the glaziers that once covered this island.
Here you can walk free and enjoy all that wild nature has to offer from the soaring eagles, hen harriers and merlin to the magnificent red stags and the mountain hare.
The seas team with life, and the warm waters around the island are a haven for yachts and charter boats alike all viewing the wonders of the basking shark, the giant turtles and of course the minke whales and seals. Otters play and fish along the shores of the inlets and bays.
Humans have been on Mull since the end of the last Ice Age. The first Muileachs left their mark upon the land in Standing Stones and Circles. The Vikings too found this lovely isle, settling along its jagged coastline in the fertile patches and river mouths. If you stand upon the towering precipices of the Burg looking out towards 'Staffa' and 'Fingals Cave', you could almost imagine the Long Ships nosing into Loch Scridain.
The Lords of the Isles (the McDonalds, MacDougalls, MacLeans and now the Campbells) found a stronghold here so if you want to follow in their footsteps to tramp the hills, fish in the lochs, study the abundant wildlife be it eagles, seals, otters or deer or just stroll through the long abandoned villages, over hills and down dales with a picnic in your pocket. Mull awaits you.
Lying off the Southern coast of Mull a short 5 minute ferry ride from Fionnphort, is the Island of Iona, which is recognized as the birthplace of Christianity.
In 563 AD St. Columba (an Irish Monk) and his 12 followers arrived in Iona and built the first Celtic church and a monastery. Scotland at that time was still predominantly a pagan community. With St. Columba's effort he soon turned Iona into a Missionary centre and a place of learning. Iona became the place of choice for Scottish Kings to be buried, a few Irish and Norwegian Kings also chose to be buried here.
Iona also has beautiful beaches and a golf course, and of course lots of wildlife.
It is worth spending a day on Iona which is only a short drive from Bunessan (5 miles)
Geography: The name Bun-Easain, translates at the 'Foot of the little waterfall' refers to the waterfall on Allt Ruadh, Red Burn which runs behind the Argyll Arms. The village sits on the shores of Loch na Lathaich, Loch of the soft clay, a sea loch with a single entrance to the north. An Garbh-aird, The Rough Promontory lies to the west. Torr a Bhacain , Hill of the little bank to the south and the Ardtun peninsula to the north. Loch Caol, Narrow loch extends from Loch na Lathaich to the west.
History: In 1782 a severe frost and early snow ruined the corn and potatoes and resulting from the harsh winter John Campbell 5th Duke of Argyll and Landowner of the Ross of Mull decided that setting up fishing villages would be a good way to alleviate the poverty of the people. Bunessan was once such village and it was set up to support approximately 30 crofter-fishermen. Unfortunately, good intentions aside, this was not a successful venture due to the distance from the fishing grounds and markets. In 1804 the Church of Scotland built a new church for the community and Bunessan became the main commercial centre for the Ross of Mull. By 1845 the village had a large population and 5 shops.
In 1845 many boats were trading with the villages of Mull, however the food often arrived spoiled. In 1875 The Dunara Castle was built to carry goods and passengers from Glasgow to The West Highlands. The Dunara Castle would leave Bunessan on a Tuesday and return the following Friday before continuing its journey to the outer isles.
In the 1900's the McQuarrie family were General Merchants on the Ross of Mull, they had a store in Bunessan which sold 'everything' and they also ran a sailing smack called the 'Bella' which travelled around the ports on Mull selling goods. The Bella used to unload at the small granite pier that you can see in the bay.
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