When visiting the very nice town of Ballomory, sorry I mean Tobormory, you can't help but visit these standing stones. We parked, as before, at the pottery and I headed up the path with Sophie in tow. Dafydd decided to sit this one out.
Where the path ends and becomes a rough track it became increasingly muddy. The last time I visited this track was brilliant white with freshly laid scallop shells. Now it was quite overgrown with most of the shells hidden by grass. It didn't look like many people had been along here recently. (I noticed when I re-visited the museum on the harbor front that the stones were no longer being promoted)
We climbed up and over the wall via the very rusty steps and straight into a bog-like field. It was very, very wet and very, very muddy. Luckily Sophie had her ever present pink wellies on whilst I attempted to jump from one (relatively) 'dry spot' to the next.
At least it wasn't raining!
We soon squelched our way to the stones and admired the views. Well, I admired the views, Sophie hid behind the stones to try to keep out of the cold wind. There is no change to report on the stones since my last visit. They are still here, keeping watch. Before long it was time to go - time and tide and ferries wait for no man - or woman.
After spending an enjoyable couple of hours in Tobermory (home of the legendary Balamory – Sophie was beside herself with excitement!) it was time for a spot of ‘old stoning’. Whilst in Tobermory we visited the small but excellent museum on the harbour front – free to get in but as it is run by volunteers they request a donation, which I was more than happy to provide. There was a fair bit of prehistoric items on display in glass cabinets (bits of flint / pot etc) and the free information leaflet includes details of the standing stones and how to find them. The leaflet also refers to the visit Time Team made to the island several years ago.
We drove the short distance out of town and parked in the pottery car park. The gang stayed in the car as it had just started to drizzle and I headed up the lane towards the stones on my own. This is the first (and probably only) time I have ever walked up a path made entirely of scallop shells!
The walk was pleasant enough and before long I reached the stile giving access to the field in which the stones stand. As has been previously mentioned there are two stones still standing and a third fallen – all three of an impressive size. Due the to weather I can’t really comment on the views but I am sure they are decent in fine weather?
As I headed back down the path a coach load of people were heading up to the stones escorted by their tour guide. He stopped me and asked for directions which I was happy to do. He also asked if the stones were Pictish? I explained they were a lot older than that. He seemed quite excited passing this information onto the foreign tourists!
These are cracking stones to visit and very accessible, even if you are only on Mull for a couple of hours on a day trip via the Oban / Tobermory ferry. It wouldn’t take long to walk from the ferry terminal although the hill up to the pottery is quite steep.
We drove halfway up, and parked by a row of old static caravans with sad looking people watching tv. These were our first stones of a week on Mull being less than a mile from the campsite, a natural choice. I had no idea there was three stones, the fallen one is closer to one stone than the other making it look like if it fell where it stood then there is a big gap where a lost stone could have been originally.
Visited 13th August 2004: I confess that we drove up the track, which got us pretty close to the stones. I don't think you're supposed to do this though, and it was very tricky turning the car round.
I can't add much to Nick's notes. The sheep in the field where the row lies are extremely friendly, which entertained the kids loads. Also, there's an exclellent view of Josie Jump's house from the stones.
Park at the Mull Pottery and take the track just north of the buildings which leads west up-hill. The stones are around 400m in, on a raised platform. There are 3 stones here, the centre one being recumbent. The northern stone is the larger, being just over 2.5m in height. The row runs roughly N-S, and the southern stone is well under 2m. The central recumbent stone looks as if it would have been the largest, it's around 3m long in its current position.
This is a pretty impressive viewpoint, and worth waking up to on a clear day. Unfortunately our view of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula on the mainland was a bit obscured by smoke from burning moorland, which is clearly visible in one of the photographs.