Tobermory: Isle of Mull

OK.  So I said I wouldn’t write today but I lied. There is so much that happens in a day- even if you are on a train, ferry, or bus as I was today.  I traveled from Glasgow to Oban by train today where I took the ferry across to the Isle of Mull.  The train ride was absolutely lovely and I recommend it to bus any day.  The scenery was full of old ruins, sheep being herded across stone bridges and hairy coos eating in the fields.  I stared out the window the whole time and in my dreamy state, four hours went by in a blink. After a ride on a hot, humid bus along narrow, bumpy roads, I got here to Tobermory a bit queasy but in good spirits.  It was muggy as I stepped off the bus in my short-sleeved shirt.  The gods of Mull must have heard me because at that moment, they decided to bless me with opening up the sky and soaking me through in a rain bath.  It was over in 30 seconds- as quick as it began!  It was refreshing after sitting on the bus for that long.  Five minutes later, I needed my sunglasses on.  Catching the drift of what I mean by “changeable” weather?

Tobermory is a relatively new town by European standards.  It was created in 1750 and was originally a fishing village and still is but tourism is pretty big here partially because a popular TV show is filmed here.  Nay bother with getting lost; it is impossible.  All the buildings are colour coded.  When I walked by the pub fully loaded with my huge backpack on my back and my small one on my front, the men smoking out in front smiled at me.  I smiled back and one said, “Ye got a body in there?”  I laughed and said, “No.  It just feels like it!”  He and his friend proceeded to ask me where I was staying and when I said the hostel, they said, “Och Aye.  ‘Tis the pink building.”  Easy as that!

I was about 3 hours early for check in so I dumped my “body” bag off and set out to see if I could find the church with the stained glass window of Mary Magdalene marrying Jesus that my friend Sandy told me about.  The first church I came across is obviously ruin.  Pigeons were making their home in the tower and volunteer plants were growing on the roof and in between the stone pieces while the gargoyles still kept their steady watch for evil spirits.  The rosette window was cracked and there was a lock on the front door.  The next church I came across was also closed.  I figured I’d better ask a local.

Then I came across a silversmith shop and what caught my eye was a traditional Celtic pin that I had wanted to buy when I was in Scotland to wear on my wrap in the winter to keep it closed.  I entered to find a knowledgeable and nervous older man behind the counter who showed me all the brooches.  It turns out that he is the jeweler and he’s owned this shop since the year I was born (1975).  Interestingly, the piece I chose was designed by a lady who lived on Iona with her husband (who was from the Isle of Mull) a century ago.  She designed the jewelry and he made it.  This jeweler that I met came across a book of their traditional designs and now reproduces him in his shop.  Here is a photo of the one I bought:

These brooches have been worn in Scotland throughout the centuries by men as kilt and plaid pins and by women as fasteners for cloaks and shawls.

So I asked this jeweler if he knew where I could find the church with this window.  He scoffed.  I said, “Ah.  There is a story then?”  He said in a disgusted tone, “Aye, there’s a story alright.”  Turns out that a local entrepreneur bought the church and started a grocery store in it much to the outrage of the local people.  Not surprisingly, it tanked but because he still owns the church, it is no longer open for visitors.  I tried going to the Mull Museum to see if I could find a picture of the window but they were closed.  Ah well.  At least I got the brooch.  Now I know why I came here.

After a nap I felt more human and decided to go down to the local pub for dinner.  Um…Didn’t know there was a football match on (Spain vs Paraguay).  I finished my Cullen Skink (a local fish and potato soup) just before the real mayhem began.  Man these guys are serious about their sports!

Later on in my room, a little girl called Theresa who was traveling with her mom took to me and ended up bringing all her books up to my top bunk for me to read to her.  We had some fun on my Photobooth program this morning on my Apple computer and I thought I’d post a picture of us.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Debbie Dumaresq
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 05:45:35

    Sorry to hear about the closed church! Still, some great finds in this stop anyhow!

    Reply

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