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Posts Tagged ‘Iona Island’

While I’m on the theme of tea….Drinking tea, a favorite British pastime

Waterfront street in the village on Iona Island

Waterfront street in the village on Iona Island

 

On that street is the Argyll Hotel

On that street is the Argyll Hotel

The Island of Mull, in the Scottish Hebrides (west coast), can only be reached by ferry, so it’s less touristy than the Isle of Skye a bit further north. But, it has much to offer and is well worth spending a few days there, which we did.

Besides the picturesque port and capital of Tobermory, with its colorful buildings lining the quay, two of the main sights are the island of Iona and Duart Castle. We visited both this summer and had a typical British afternoon tea at both.

You reach the small island of Iona off the west coast of Mull by ferry as a foot passenger. It’s probably Scotland’s most iconic spiritual destination. Saint Columba founded a monastery on Iona in 563 AD and began his mission to convert Scotland to Christianity. For many centuries the kings of Scotland were buried at this monastery (including Macbeth, supposedly, although his grave is not distinguishable any more).

The focus on the island is the Abbey, Nunnery, churches and small museum (which I’ll post on later), but there is also a tiny village along the waterfront where the ferry comes in. Here we found the Argyll Hotel, a good place for lunch or afternoon tea—featuring HUGE scones.

We decide to share one scone

We decide to share one scone

 

Rod cuts into his half scone. I wait to pour the tea from the china pot

Rod cuts into his half scone. I wait to pour the tea from the china pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the hotel tearoom window---the Iona post office

The view from the hotel tearoom window—the Iona post office

 

Duart Castle on the isolated headland---the view from the castle tearoom

Duart Castle on the isolated headland—the view from the castle tearoom

Back on the island of Mull, on an isolated spit of land south of the ferry village of Craignure, is Duart Castle. This 13th century home of the Clan Maclean sits dramatically above the sea cliffs. It was in a very ruined state, but was renovated in 1911, and now offers interesting tours telling the turbulent story of the clan. In a separate newer building near the car park you can find a tearoom, gift shop and toilets. On a different day, sitting in the tearoom, we had an amazing view of the castle.

(rather back-lit unfortunately). What a lovely setting for another delicious tea

(rather back-lit unfortunately). What a lovely setting for another delicious tea

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