Today we drove 35 miles across the Isle of Mull, the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides, enjoying mesmerizing views of moorland and lochs radiating from the mountainous center. Along our scenic drive, we sighted red deer, different sheep varieties, and a mixed fold of endearing Highland cows (or “Heilan Coos” as our wonderfully entertaining driver called them). This traditional breed was originally considered two different types, with a smaller, frequently black variety reared mainly in the Hebrides and a larger, brown or red, mainland type.

Upon reaching the south-westernmost point of Mull, we boarded a local ferry for the short crossing to Iona, a spectacular islet of clear water and white beaches, ancient geology, and an important history as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. We spent a leisurely day exploring this fascinating island, including the Benedictine Abbey that still boasts many original features from the 13th-century abbey and parts of the much earlier Columban monastery, established with the arrival of St Columba in AD 563, and the ruins of the Augustine nunnery.

We had a local lunch and plenty of time to browse the picturesque arts and crafts shops or hike to the highest point of the island for wonderful views before returning to the ship to continue on our way.