Iona, Dun I and the North End.

Start. Iona Ferry Pier.

Route. Iona Ferry Pier - Baile Mor - Iona Nunnery - Maclean's Cross - Iona Abbey - Auchabhaich - Dun I - Auchabhaich - Traigh Bhan - Traigh an t-Suidhe - Auchabhaich - Iona Abbey - Argyll Hotel - Iona Ferry Pier.

Notes. Iona, a beautiful island, just off the west coast of Mull, reached by a short ferry crossing from Fionnphort. Over 130,000 visitors a year make this crossing, not all pilgrims heading for the various religious sites, like us many come for the peace and tranquility, the hidden corners that cleanse and enlighten the soul just as much as the crosses, shrines and stunning religious buildings. Lets not get all soppy and philosophical we were there for the walking, views and stunning beauty, Iona certainly provided that.

This short walk explored the north of the island, stunning beaches with names like White Strand of the Monks, we also climbed Dun I (The Hill of Iona) at just 333ft above sea level the highest ground on the island. Easy walking, staggering scenery and lunch in the Argyll Hotel, come along Sue's buying.

This walk started the minute we disembarked, us and a ferry load of eager pilgrims. Up the road to Iona Nunnery we wandered, one of the best preserved in Britain. We cut through the nunnery grounds then continued to Maclean's Cross, a tall elegant 15th century Celtic Cross. Continuing along the narrow road we passed the Abbey with two more fine crosses in the grounds, we ignored the Abbey, that would be another visit on another day. On we walked after passing a Memorial Cross we reached Auchabhaich, to the left a gate allowed access to field paths that lead to the steep slopes of Dun I, after traversing the field we scaled the hill. A fine cairn and trig point marked the summit, needless to say the views were staggering.

After spending some time soaking them up we re-traced our steps to the gate, then continued on our journey north. The road terminated at a gate accessing a narrow path, followed by another gate accessing a vast expanse of machair grassland, once in the field green paths guided us to the beaches adorning Iona's northern shore line. Traigh Bhain (White Strand of the Monks) and Traigh an t-Suidhe, we slowly picked our way across this beautiful part of the island, enjoying every step, stopping often to soak up the charm of the place. Once at Traigh an t-Suidhe we cut back inland to join the path we left earlier, all that remained to re-trace our steps via the Argyll Hotel, well it was lunch time.

view route map.


Seen from the ferry, Iona Abbey.

Views along Martyrs Bay (Port Nam Mairtear), named after the killing of 68 monks here by the Vikings in 806AD.

Stunning views across the Sound of Iona.

Iona Nunnery, the best preserved in the British Isles.

Maclean's Cross stands beside Sraid nan Marbh (Street of the Dead), a finely carved stone cross dating from the 1400s.

Iona's world famous Abbey.

Fionnphort seen across the Sound of Iona.

Looking to, across the mouth of Loch Scridain, the cliffs of the Burg where the Ardmaeaach peninsula tumbles into the sea.

So many secrets to share today, here's some shots from one of them, over Iona to the hill we climbed yesterday Cnoc Mor on the tidal island of Erraid, seen from the summit of Dun I.

Also from the summit of Dun I, seen over Eilean Chalbha, Bac Mor or the Dutchman's Cap, to the right Langa, right a bit more just visible Staffa.

A wonderful mix of island and sea, the view to the north end of the island also from Dun I.

And finally the view east, Loch Scridain cuts deep inland, dark against the sky Creach Bheinn and Bearraich.

A fine cairn marks the summit of Dun I, a fine hill should have a fine cairn.

Another secret, hush keep it to yourself, Traigh Bhain (White Strand of the Monks).

Traigh Bhain looking to the mouth of Loch Scridain and the steep cliffs of the Burg.

From a staggeringly beautiful beach, Traigh Bhain views to the north end of Mull.

Aren't we walkers lucky, we have this place to ourselves, most of the day trippers stay in the village, I'm not greedy but long may it stay that way.

Just off shore Eilean Annraidh, I so don't want to leave but we have lunch booked at the Argyll Hotel.

Traigh an t-Suidhe another secret corner visited by few.

Near Auchabhaich looking to the impressive cliffs of the Ardmeanach peninsula.

St Ronan's Bay.

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