The Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull is absurdly lovely, one coast mellow and rolling, the other wild and rugged, both opening to jaw-dropping views. A haven of wildlife, dolphins and porpoises weave through the island's clear water, basking sharks and Minke whales float close in to shore. On ancient rocks off pebbled beaches seals sag like hot water bottles; otters bob up and down in the bays.
There are more than 250 species of bird on Mull. Along the island’s stony beaches cormorants spread their wings in a crucifixion to dry; herons balance single-footed in the shallows. At Calgary, the sugar-white beach is patrolled by oyster catchers. Inland, rare white-tailed sea eagles and golden eagles nest.
The round-island road, mostly single-track, winds through this walker's paradise past Highland cattle exhaling noisily through ginger fringes and meandering curled-horn sheep, beneath soaring granite cliffs, by heather-carpeted hills and standing stones, under silently gliding birds of prey.
The second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, Mull is 57 miles long from Fionnphort at its south-west toe to Tobermory in the north. 'Tobar Mhoire’ - in the Gaelic 'the well of Mary' - is the island's main town built in the late 18th century by the British Fisheries Society, a necklace of brightly painted houses sheltering inside a wooded harbour.
The islands of Iona, Staffa and Ulva, and the Ardnamurchan Peninsular are all short ferry hops away, the Treshnish Isles a little further.
"If you can only get to one destination to enjoy Scottish wildlife, make it Mull...The variety of wildlife and habitats on this attractive island is mind-blowing."
"[The] island stands for ever as the finest piece of peace in Scotland. For beaches and galleries, wildlife and walks, Mull is an incomparable all-rounder."
Jeremy Lazell, Sunday Times
HotelForTwo is in Tobermory, the Isle of Mull’s main town, in the centre of a 19th century terrace whose front garden, above, overlooks the harbour. It also supplies fresh vegetables for the four-course dinners of guests who would like to be cooked for by owner Julia.
HotelForTwo offers accommodation just for two, or for two couples travelling together. Guests have exclusive use of an entire private house filled with antiques, paintings and books. Staying here is like relaxing at the home of a friend.
“There is a magic here. When you walk through the door there is a sort of quirky intellectual eccentricity, be it the stage search lights on the ceiling, the tapestries on the walls or the lovely white painted wooden floor in the bedroom. I would never have the imagination to put any of these things together but as a whole they create an atmosphere that works perfectly. Every item was carefully chosen with an overall perspective in mind...For any artist or writer, the combination of scenery and creative ambiance will bring out the best of their creative skills.” Barry Nealon, Sussex
"Julia, we've really enjoyed your HotelForTwo - small scale and intimate and what a brilliant idea. Exquisitely done to the littlest detail, we could have had an animated conversation about every object, book, momento - and the view so volatile and various, especially loved the radiant waters in the morning over breakfast. Your hospitality and conversations and the absolutely delicious range of foods - quelle cuisine! We feel very pleasured and pampered." Iain Bruce, Oxford
"We'd never heard of Tobermory, were only vaguely familiar with Mull but now that we've spent a few days here, you and Tobermory will always have a special place in our hearts. You should work for the Scottish Tourist Board, you're such a great ambassador for Scotland and Mull...And your culinary skills are suberb! Is your own restaurant next?...We hope to return and send lots of people here." Ric & Cathy Offerman, Illinois
"Julia, I hope this will be the first of many happy visits. Our time on the Isle of Mull with your wonderful hospitality has us wishing we did not have to leave. I need at least a few years and rainy days to read all the books." Deb Frosst, Toronto
Come to the Isle of Mull and Hotel For Two and discover it all for yourself.