This article which did not appear in
the Kilda and Treshnish Isles Review, was written by their reporter
Mikohan Koeachan. Photographs by Mike Pye.
July this year, parked on the quayside at Craignure on the Island of Mull
and waiting for the MacBraynes ferry to Oban, were two big Healeys. Once
on board the ferry I tracked down the cars’ owners Mike and Muriel Pye and
Mike and Iona Kean. They were kind enough to answer my
been touring Mull?
Muriel Pye. We have covered some of Mull but
are returning to Oban, the last stage of a tour of the Outer Hebrides,
Skye and Mull.
Where have you been?
Mike Pye. We left Oban eight
days ago and sailed to the Island of Barra the southern most inhabited
island in the outer isles. From here we took the ferry to Eriskay and
drove across South Uist and Benbecula and on to North Uist. Next we took
the Ferry to Harris.The Northern most point we reached was Stornaway on
the Isle of Lewis which we visited on a Sunday so there was not a great
deal going on, apart that is from
here we took yet another ferry to Uig on Skye drove across Skye and took
the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig and then drove South to Lochaline and
crossed the sound of Mull to Fishnish. Finally, here we are returning to
Oban from Craignure on Mull.
That sounds quite a journey, how many miles did you
Mike Kean. In all five hundred and forty miles by the
time we return to Oban.
Your cars appear to have very little ground clearance, how did you
find driving on and off the ferries?
Mike Kean. You are right about the
clearance! I was concerned as some of the ramps are at odd angles and have
lumps where they hinge, however apart from a few “graunches” we have
returned unscathed and I need not have worried.
How was the weather?
Iona Kean. That is a very pertinent
question because my husband refuses to put up the hood no matter what the
weather. We were fortunate we had some wonderful days, some mixed and some
when it did rain quite a bit but nothing to put a stop to what we wanted
Were you staying in B and Bs?
Muriel Pye. No as this is the busy
season I pre booked all our Hotels (See at the end for those Hotels used).
We also pre booked all the ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne were most helpful
and all the arrangements went off with out a hitch.
Mike Pye. Without exception the food
was superb. At the start of the trip I was not too sure of just how good
the food would be. I had no need to worry; I don’t think I have eaten so
well for as long as I can remember!
What impressed you most about the
Iona Kean. Now that is a difficult one
to answer because we were constantly being impressed. For me though it was
the boat trip to Fingals Cave on Staffa followed by landing on the island
of Lunga. This is a bird sanctuary and the cliffs are alive with sea birds
of different types. The Puffins were fascinating. They were quite fearless
and allowed us to sit within two feet of them while they looked at us or
with a studied expression went about gathering material for their nests.
It was a magical experience and one that I will not forget. It was good to
have a day out of the car too!
Mike Kean. The stunning pure white beaches
and turquoise water of Barra and Harris. I have seen photographs of these
beaches of course but they really are breathtaking in their beauty. It was
also good to see the island aircraft landing on the beach in the North of
Mike Pye. Barra, a tiny island which one can
drive right round in an hour, fabulous beaches, which we walked on in
daylight at 11.00 pm at night!, wonderful scenery and a great Hotel!
Muriel Pye. The
carpets of different flowers on the machair adjacent to the beaches, and
the friendliness of all those people we met on our tour.
How about petrol, there are not too many garages
on the Islands and how was the traffic?
Mike Kean. We found petrol was not a
problem and managed to keep ourselves well topped up. It could be
difficult if you allowed yourself to get too low! The roads are single
track in places but generally well surfaced, there was not much traffic.
Most other drivers were courteous when we had to use the passing
Do you have any plans for a future
Muriel Pye. Yes, we have enjoyed this
experience so much that next year we may visit Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and
return to Mull. It never
ceases to amaze me how the cars act as a catalyst in making
acquaintances, so many
interesting people struck up conversations with us. I am sure that this would not be the case had we been driving a family saloon.
What happens when you reach Oban?
Mike Pye. We set off for the Lake
District which puts another 500 miles on the round trip and the Keans
return to the North East of Scotland.
Oban - Dungallan House.
Barra. – Isle of Barra Hotel.
North Uist – Lochmaddy Hotel.
Harris – Harris Hotel.
Skye – Viewfield House Hotel.
Mull – Druimard Country House.