The ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull takes a little less than an hour. Duart Castle, ancestral home of the Maclean’s.
Oban is on the Scottish coast across the inlet from Craignure, Isle of Mull and Iona is the little island to the left of Fionnphort (Google Maps does not show the ferry to Iona). We arrived at Craignure at 12:45, drove across the island and boarded a small pedestrian-only ferry to the tiny island of Iona. The heather was in bloom. The overcast sky we had in Oban cleared right off by the time to we arrived on Iona and it was a gorgeous day.
We wanted to go to Iona because the monastic community there was founded by St. Columba 1450 years ago, making it one of the oldest Christian centers in Western Europe. The Abbey was the focal point for the spread of Christianity in Scotland.A man we know from home asked us to take a photo of his distant ancestors’s grave in the Iona cemetery. When he had come to Scotland several years ago he had found the grave, but the photo he took was not very good. John and I wandered up and down every row and were unable to find it. (When I saw him upon our return he told me the grave was in a different cemetery on the island. Oops. That would have been good to know at the time.) The Iona community is an ecumenical religious order that is still a site of pilgrimage. The chapel at the Abbey is regularly used for worship and the Iona ministry has many facets of work in Scotland and around the world.
After our wander among the buildings of Iona we caught the foot ferry back to Mull and our car.
We drove the road to Duart Castle, hoping to be able to go inside, but it is a private residence and was not open to the public. The castle was given to Mary Macdonald, daughter of the Lord of the Isles as part of her dowry when she married Lachlan Lubanach, 5th Chief in 1350. By the time we had looked around at Duart Castle we had no time to tour more of Mull. We caught the last ferry of the day back to Oban and spent the night at Ard’s House just outside of Ayr.