The Fossil Tree, Mull

2 12 2011

About 5 Easters ago, Richard and I joined up with my then walking group, The Open University Mountaineering Society, for a trip to Mull over the long weekend. We were hoping to hill-walk but the weather wasn’t really favourable as it was an early March Easter and there were bitterly cold northerly gales.

Things weren’t helped by the fact that our usual hotel, The Glenforsa Log Hotel, had only just opened up for the season on Good Friday (our arrival day) and the place hadn’t yet been warmed up. Our rooms did have small electric heaters which managed to warm the rooms up to a liveable standard by the time we left on the Monday however, the other rooms in the hotel did not. It was vaguely amusing to see that everyone’s idea of ‘dressing for dinner’ in the evenings was to put on every item of their outdoor clothing, woolly socks, boots, fleeces, outers – the lot! We did all look a bit funny eating posh food dressed like that though…

On the Saturday, Richard and I suited ourselves and just drove round the island like typical tourists and viewed the various beautiful coastal sights and waterfalls. Here are some photos of my favourite waterfall on the island, the Eas Fors – translated as ‘Waterfall Waterfall’ but in Gaelic and Norse respectively. This waterfall’s final plunge is over a large sea-cliff to the beach.

On the Sunday, we decided to go with the group on a 14 mile walk to visit ‘the Fossil Tree’ – a famous and popular walk round the coast of the Ardmeanach Peninsula of the convoluted west coast.

We did a bit of car-sharing and parked up in the Tiroran carpark at the start of the walk and set out enthusiastically. There was one lady with us who didn’t walk much and so she dropped out after a few miles and went back to the car. Luckily the cars were sheltered from the bitter winds and in the sun so she would have had a pleasant time sitting reading until we came back.

The track is superb for most of the way as it leads to an old (still occupied at the time) house at Burg nearly 5 miles into the walk. It then turns into an easy to follow single track heading round a wide shelf on the cliffs. At one point, Richard was carrying my map and he let it blow away down a hill towards the coast. I shot off after it leaping down several bluffs in the process until I finally managed to pin it down with my foot about quarter of a mile away. Everyone was most impressed by my sudden turn of speed!

The walk is pretty but very uneventful (providing people keep hold of your map that is) until you reach Burg. For some reason I never took any photos of the old cottage. The only photos I took before that point were of this pretty waterfall.

We could then see a cross on a hillock ahead just after the cottage. We all clambered up the hillock to investigate and found it was a memorial to a child who’d fallen down the steep side onto the rocks and drowned. It was a pleasant spot however and in full sun and out of the wind so we all stopped for a long break there. We then continued on the now single track to head round the cliffs for the rest of the walk.

While we were walking round the shelf on the cliffs, we bumped into a small herd of deer. Just to prove this walk is very popular, they were wholly unconcerned by our presence and just totally ignored us and continued to graze. I’ve never really been that close to a deer before so it was great. As you can see, they don’t pose for photos either!


Bums to You Missus!

After another couple of miles contouring the cliff path, we found the path diverged downwards through a break in a band of cliff and headed steeply down to a post sticking up at the top of the lower cliffs. As we reached the post we found it was the top of an iron ladder going down the cliff. As a coward, I was totally taken aback and wasn’t sure I wanted to continue – it looked a long way down!

After dithering around above it for a while, the rest of the group caught up and Penny, who is supposedly as cowardly as me, said she’d give it a go. I thought that if she could do it I had to otherwise I’d really lose face so determined to give it a go as well. Richard was very eager and one of the first to swing out over the drop holding the post to locate the top rungs of the rusty-looking ladder. I went to take a photo of him and of course, he had to pull a silly face reckoning he was terrified…

When he got off the bottom of the ladder, I plucked up courage, grabbed the post and swung out over the drop to follow him. Once you were on the ladder it wasn’t so bad really – I just hoped it was sounder than it looked. I got to the foot of it without mishap and, one by one, the group all followed. There was then a very steep descent down grass to the first of the spectacular hexagonal columnar basalt which made up most of the beach in that area.

Everyone was clicking away with their cameras at the various beach patterns formed by the columns. There was a huge hole in one place where it looked like there had been a tree or suchlike – I thought at the time that must be our fossil tree and wondered why everyone was continuing round the beach.

As we rounded another corner on the lava columns, a lovely scene burst into view with lovely waterfalls spilling over the edge of the cliff to the beach. There was also a spectacular cave made out of the hexagonal columns. There was so much to see all at once that I never noticed the tree until I’d taken several photos and went to see what everyone else was staring at. I’d been expecting to see an actual tree I think but, of course, all you can see is where a tree was then the rocks set.


Can you make out the fossil tree imprint? It’s towards the left…

After everyone had taken their fill of photos we all headed back on the same route (not that you have a choice) to the cars. It had been a great walk and really filled an afternoon for us. I’ll just finish off with a photo of the lovely and colourful town of Tobermory (of postcard fame):

Advertisements

Actions

Information

9 responses

2 09 2013
Aaron Smith

We are off to Mull in October 2013. Very excited after reading all your comments! cheers

Like

4 09 2013
mountaincoward

It’s a lovely island and there’s some superb walking – hope you have a good time. I can’t wait to get back there myself when I’ve finished ‘Munro-bagging’!
Carol.

Like

3 12 2011
Paul Shorrock

Another great post, Carol. Like Fedup, I’ve only been to Mull once, and like you we had poor weather, and didn’t get much done. I wish now that we had known about the Fossil Tree – the whole walk appears to be well worth doing, going by your phots.
There’s a fossil tree (or base thereof) near us in Lister Park, Bradford – I keep meaning to research it on t’internet. I think you are over this way somewhere, so you may know it.
Paul

Like

4 12 2011
mountaincoward

Hi Paul,
I’m gobsmacked! Richard spends an awful lot of time walking in Lister Park as he lives quite near and we didn’t know anything about a fossil tree around there! I’ll have to look it up too…

The weather wasn’t that bad – at least it was dry – it was just too windy to go up hills. I’m glad in a way as we were only going to do Ben More and A’ Chioch again and so at least we went somewhere new instead.
Carol.

Like

2 12 2011
seekraz

More beautiful photos of waterfalls and your natural geologic processes over there across the pond. I’ve still only seen pictures of the basalt columns, never in person. I have seen a lava field with curled stone from the depths of the earth…rather intriguing…may have to post some pics. And your fossil tree was interesting, also. Thank you again for sharing your photos and travel experiences. Scott

Like

2 12 2011
mountaincoward

Those hexagonal basalt columns were fascinating. Previous to that trip, I thought the only ones we had in Britain were Fingal’s Cave and The Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

Like

3 12 2011
seekraz

Beautiful, too…and definitely fascinating, what must the area have looked like when they were forming? Incredible to imagine….

Like

2 12 2011
mountaincoward

Hi Simon, just checked and you’re not being listed as a follower/subscriber any more. Try hitting the ‘follow’ button again at the top of the page. Maybe you accidentally ‘unfollowed’ – I think it’s easy to do.

Your other half will have to visit this fossil tree as well – how else is she going to do a ‘via ferrata’ on Mull (albeit a rusty one 😉 )
Carol.

Like

2 12 2011
fedup

It’s nice to see a low level walk for a change, walking to a list sometimes misses the best bits. I’ve only been to Mull once back in 2003 and I’ve always intended to go back, found it a fascinating place – great fishing. Coincidently I’ve also visited a fallen fossiled tree on Mull near Quinish Point in the North – my other half wasn’t impressed! At least I can show her your pics to save me dragging her to this one 😉

Has wordpress stopped notifying subscribers when you post a blog as for your last 3 post I’ve never received a notification ?

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: