Fionnphort Beach - Tormore Pier - Tormore Quarry

A short rugged coastal walk along the scenic Iona Sand. Enjoy stunning seascapes and views to Iona and Abbey and explore the history of the Tormore Quarries.

Route Details

No car required - Distance 2 miles, 1 hour. Start and finish at Seaview in Fionnphort Village. Good walking shoes required.

Leaving from Seaview's white gate, cross the main road and walk down the wee road opposite Seaview. At the bottom of the hill on the left is Fionnphort Beach. On the right you will find the old graveyard, now unused, has interesting granite steps outside the boundary wall which were used for mounting your "trusty steed" in bygones times. Fionnphort's (white beach or port) beach has white sands with a large split rock in the centre of it. At low tide you can walk to "Fingal's Rock", where legend has it that Fingal the giant (who stayed here on his journey from Ireland to Staffa), woke up one day in a poor temper, picked up the rock and threw it in the air and smashing it onto the bed rock which caused it's present day split. From the beach you can see a panorama of the Village, pier, Iona and the Abbey.

Crossing north from the beach climb onto the hillside passing the "big rock" as you pick up a rough but well worn path. Take time to look around and admire the increasingly spectacular views of the pier, beach, Iona and Abbey.

Split Rock On Fionnphort Beach

Near to the Tormore pier and above the sandy cove, hidden amongst the rocks is a cave called "The Cave of the Dead", large enough in size to hold a coffin containing an ancient Scot's king. The perfect place to shelter in bad weather for the final journey of burial to Iona. The sandy cove is an idyllic spot for a picnic and a wee snooze on a sunny summer's day.

Cave of the Dead

At the partially ruined Tormore Quarry Pier you look across "Bull Hole" to "Eilean nam Ban" (Island of the Women) where it is said Columba banished women from Iona because he thought they were troublesome! The anchorage of Bull Hole to the north is a safe anchorage for the Iona Ferry and local fishing boats in the area. From the old pier follow the track uphill, eastwards and into the quarry. This track had a tramway which carried the quarried red granite down to the waiting boats at the pier to be exported all over the world.

The quarry contains the magnificent red granite which is unique both in colour (almost pink) and also that large slabs can be quarried without any flaws or cracks, and when polished makes superb facing stone on buildings. There is a sample of the polished granite on the gate pillar at Seaview. This stone, which the Abbey and Seaview were built of, was used all over the world.

View From Tor Mor Quarry To Iona

On top of the hill above the quarry you have a spectacular panoramic view of Iona, Staffa, Erraid, The Ross of Mull, Tiree, Coll, Jura, Islay, North Mull and the Burg peninsular. After taking these breathtaking views proceed south out of the quarry, down the hill, past Bruach Mhor, through the gate turning right onto the main road. Fionnphort Village is just a 5 minute walk.

Wildlife Watch

All year: Seals, hooded crows, buzzards, ravens, otters, seabirds including
kittiwake, terns, shag and eider ducks

Summer: Dolphins


An excursion to the tidal island lying just of the south west corner of the Ross of Mull. It has historical connections with the relatives of the famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who was part of the "Stevenson lighthouse family."

Route Details

OS pathfinder 341 Iona and Bunessan 353 Torran rocks, South Mull coast.A car is required for the 5 minute drive from Seaview.

On leaving Seaview travel east for 50 yards, then turn right leaving the main road at the Knockvologan signpost. Follow the road for 4 miles until you come to a closed gate. Park you car in the painted boxes besides the sheds on the left. Stout walking gear required. The crossing to the island is tidal so your maximum time on the island (at large tides) would be approximately on hour either side of low tide. You can ask John for advice on current conditions before setting off.

Erraid Observatory

When you leave your car, go through the gate, passing the fields and farm steading on the right. Walk over the hill for a few hundred yards to the end of the tar road. Looking south you will find a distant, splendid, panoramic view of Jura with the isolated, desolate "Torran Rocks" in the foreground. Continue down the track to the silver strands of the Knockvologan beaches stretching out to the east and west below the machair. An ideal spot for a bit of unbathing! Turn right and follow the beach west until you come to the sandy channel running north - south between mainland Mull and Erraid. Follow the channel on the Mull side to it's north end and cross over the wee stream (at low tide) to the North East point of Erraid. A well defined grassy track will take you west above the estuary and ½ mile further on,on a slope above the estuary you come to expertly built granite houses, outhouses, pier and walled gardens. Constructed superbly of the grey Erraid granite the houses served as the landbase for the construction of "Dhu Heartach" lighthouse, built by Thomas Stevenson (Robert Louis Stevenson's father) and completed in 1874. The quarry for the grey granite lies to the west above the houses. The absolute symmetry of the joints and blocks of the buildings lay testament to the skill of the stonemasons at the time of construction. The cottages became the lighthouse keepers family homes.

View From Erraid To Iona

Robert Louis Stevenson spent part of his childhood on Erraid, being a member of the great Stevenson Family, renowned for lighthouse engineering. In Stevenson's "Kidnapped", the hero, David Balfour is shipwrecked and comes ashore on the south coast of Erraid at a sandy bay (known as Balfour's Bay). In "Treasure Island" Jack Hawkins chart bears a resemblance to Erraid.

On the west side of the houses go through a gate and follow the grassy path up the slope and through the quarry. The path then forks. Take the left fork and the track rises quickly and steeply to the top of a hillock. Perched here is the renovated, now disused, signal station for the lighthouse. The views from here are breathtaking. To the north and west you will see Iona, the Abbey and the sound of Iona below. To the north east you see The Ross of Mull with Benmore in the distance. To the south, the "Torran Rocks". From here on a clear day you can see the lighthouse some 12 miles to the south west, standing 126ft on an exposed reef 50ft high. Return to your car by the way you came making sure you allowed enough time for the tides. 2 hours maximum time is recommended at big tides!

Wildlife Watch

All year: Seals, otters.
Summer: Corncrake, lapwing, skylark.
Passing: Hen harriers, merlin, peregrine, sanderling, sandpipers, ruff, godwits, shelduck, migrant waders.
Winter: Barnacle geese.

Camas Tuath (North Bay)

A short walk across open moorland on the Ross of Mull to a narrow bay, a bonnie quiet spot with historic cottages.

Route Details

O.S map pathfinder 341 Iona and Bunessan. Car required.5 minutes drive from Seaview on the A849 travelling eastwards towards Bunessan. Approximately 150 yards before the Esso garage at Ardfenaig on the left hand side, there is a gate and track. This is your starting point. Stout footware is recommended. Approx. 3 miles, 2 hours.

On leaving the road, cross the footbridge and go through the gate and onto the track. Head northwards on the track for approx ¼ mile. The track at first is hard with small stones as a base however it eventually narrows and becomes grassy. On either side of you are pleasant, rolling,grassy fields of Ardfenaig. At the end of this stretch, go through the gate.The track bears right across open moorland. The track and moorland become wet and muddy in the winter but generally dries out in the summer. After ½ mile the track trails to the right through hilly outcrops and then a splendid wall (built in the "Galloway" style) borders the path down to Camus Tuath.

Camas Quarry Houses

The old quarry workers houses overlooking the bay are now used as an adventure centre for young people. The disused quarry is on the opposite side of the bay and can be reached by walking east along the shore and crossing at the head of the inlet then walking down the other side of the lagoon. From the old quarry above, the disused tramway leads down to a superb granite block pier where the granite was exported to Tiree and therafter to Skerryvore The granite here is not as pink as that of the Tormore quarry, and also has a coarser texture. The granite was used to build Skerryvore Lighthouse which sits out in the Atlantic approx 30 miles west of The Ross of Mull, pounded by the severest storms since 1844. The lighthouse was designed by Alan Stevenson (one of the "Lighthouse Stevenson's") uncle of the writer Robert Louis.

Camas Quarry

Camus is a peaceful spot ideal for a picnic and on looking north you see panoramic views of North Mull, Ulva, Little Colonsay. If you are quiet on arrival you may see seals and otters playing in the bay. You return home the same way as you came. As you retrace your steps along the path on the open moor approximately halfway along there is a large open ditch running north. Follow the ditch crossing the peat moor heading north for a few hundred yards.

This walking is rugged and wet with no defined track, watch out for the peat bog! Ahead of you is a hillock , follow the bottom of the hillock north until you see a small burn and follow this down a gentle slope until you see the short machair grass and two wonderful sandy beaches ahead of you.

Traigh na Margaidh (Market Bay) is one of a very few sand beaches on the north coast of the Ross. However, it is one of the most scenic and secluded sands on the Ross with magnificent views to Staffa and North Mull. The Royal Family used to picnic here and perhaps "skinny dip" when they were cruising the western isles on the Royal Yacht Britannia. Return the way you came to the track , turn right onto it, and trace your steps back to the main road.

Wildlife Watch

Eagles, buzzards, kestrels, seals, otters, red deer, hen harrier, peregrine, merlin, merganser and eider ducks.

Kilvickeon Cemetary & Beach / Scoor & Shiaba

A day out exploring the southern cost of the Ross of Mull. Grand clifftop views, remote beaches, and an abandoned highland township.

Route Details

OS Pathfinder 341,342 and 353 1:25,000 Car required. An all day excursion, 9 miles in distance (including return). The starting point lies 2 miles south of the village of Bunessan on the Ross of Mull. From Seaview travel eastwards along the A849. On leaving Bunessan take the sharp bend at the east end of the village and drive up the hill. At the hills crest, turn right at the sign for Assapol and Scoor. Travel along the tar road past Loch Assapol. Open and go through the gate onto a reasonable dirt track road. Follow the road up the hill and park at the side of the road opposite Kilvickeon cemetery. This is lying in the fields to the right (west) below you.

Kilvickeon Cemetary & Beach

From your car turn west off the main dirt track and walk down the small track to the bottom of the 1st little slope. Turn right through the gate, across the field to Kilvickeon church and cemetary. This site can be seen all the way down from the car park.

This is the only medieval parish church on the Ross of Mull, of which there are many worthwhile remains (OS grid reference: 412196). The entrance to the church is intact, although the sandstone facings are not there leaving rough edges of the arch. The door that originally fitted the arch would be secured by a bar, the deep socket into which the bar slid may be seen in the right hand wall as you enter the church. To the left of the door a metre above eye level, there is a projected piece of carved sandstone. It is so weathered that it is impossible to know what it represented. It is thought to have been a "sheela-na-gig", a lewd or suggestive figure placed on the outer wall as a mark of defiance.

Kilvickeon Chapel

A similar carving on the outer wall of the nunnery on Iona is described by the Royal Commissioners as "a female exhibitionist figure". Above the carvin and just below the wall head there are projecting thatch pegs for the ropes that tied down the thatch against the gales of this western seaboard. There is an early mid-sixteenth century grave slab on the south side of the nave. Inside the church there is a tombstone lying flat on the ground. Carved on it you can just make out the shape of an early sword. Return to the track and continuing down you come to a picturesque beach divided by an island at low tide. A splendid spot for a family picnic and swim or a winter beach-comb.

Scoor & Shiaba

Return to the main dirt track at the top of the hill and turn right following the road to Scoor House, leaving your car at Kilvickeon car park. Go left past the front of Scoor House through the gate and follow the track through the fields to the gate at the top of the field. On passing it, you climb to the top of the ridge then turn left and follow the ridge towards the forest across the valley. Soon you will spot the track to the deserted township of Shiaba below you. Follow the rough path through the moorland watching out for grouse and birds of prey as you go. Soon you see the gable end of a building with other ruins around it sitting on a fertile grassy mound above cliffs. Over three hundred and fifty people lived here at the end of the eighteenth century and the remains of their round-cornered houses and boundary walls marking their croft lands can be seen.

Shiaba Village With Malcolm's Point Beyond

The Highland clearances came and the emigrant ships took people away from the beaches below. Follow down past the houses to the deer fence near the shore and follow it east back up the hillside. Here you are likely to see deer, eagles and wild goats. At one point you are fairly near the cliff edge so please be careful of your footing! Continue onto the high ground and look east across to the 1000ft cliffs at Malcolm's Point with the Carsaig Arches just visible at their foot. The scenery and atmosphere is so special to this area that you are likely to stop often and gaze in wonder at it all. The seascapes in the distant south and east are that of the islands of Islay, Colonsay and Jura.

Turning inland return to the deer fence and follow it until you reach a gap which brings you to higher moorland. Find the trig pillar and climb to Cruachan Min. From here you can see a whole host of islands. There is Islay, Jura, Scarba, Lunga, Luing, Mull, Colonsay, Staffa, Coll, Tiree and Iona. Return home south and west through the wide firebreak which has a gate at each end. At the bottom of the firebreak is a shallow valley where there was a battle between Mull men and the MacPhee's of Colonsay. It is said the Mull men ambushed the MacPhee's and sent them packing back home with their thumb's cut off to make it difficult for them to row back home! Locate the Shiaba track at the other side of the valley and the last mile back to Scoor House.

Wildlife Watch

Red deer, wild goats, buzzard, kestrel, golden eagles (along the skyline) and seabirds on the cliffs. Woodland birds including woodcock, wood pigeon, jackdaw and rooks. Moorland birds include whinchats, skylark, wheatear and red grouse.

Carsaig Arches

A long walk below the dramatic Carsaig Cliffs taking in the spectacular seaviews, cliffs and varying wildlife arriving at the natural basalt arches of Malcolm's Point , another geological wonder of Mull.

Route Details

OS pathfinder 342 map 1:25,000. A long walk, 8 miles in distance including your return. You must allow 3-5 hours. Carsaig lies on the south coast of Mull , 3 miles south east of Pennygael which is on the A849 midway between Craignure and Fionnphort. From Seaview travel east along the A849 towards Pennygael. Just before Pennygael there is a road signposted Carsaig off to the right. Drive for about 1 mile down to Carsaig Pier. Do not park on the pier, but park above it taking care not to cause on obstruction. CAR REQUIRED.

Starting from Carsaig Pier take the wooded track just above the pier west, which follows along the head of the shore. Looking south and eastwards are distant views of Jura, Islay and Colonsay. On coming out of the trees on the landward site is the picturesque bay of Carsaig with it's amphitheatre of 700ft cliffs., standing guard over a small fertile grassland. This spot is ideal for a peaceful picnic on a sunny day. Continuing west , crossing over 2 burns and follow the sometimes rough path at the head of the basalt, lava sheeted shoreline. The cliffs on the landward side will tower above you all the way to the Carsaig Arches.

Carsaig Arches

On the shore and Cliffside look our for the wild goats whom you will probably smell before you see them. In sense you will probably note a wide variety of nesting seabirds, golden eagles and ravens which are commonly spotted.
After approximately 1 hours walking you will arrive at a break in the cliffs, known as the "Nuns Pass", which can give you access to the moorland on the clifftops. Below the pass you will see the "Nuns Cave". Here nuns are suppose to have hidden here after being chased out of Iona. Crosses going back to 6th-9th centuries are carved on the walls. Also a carved sailing ship dated 1633 is carved there. Sandstone from the foreshore below the cave was quarried for restoration work out of the Iona Abbey.

Continue west on the path below the cliffs. Another hour further on the path ends near the 1st of the 2 arches. Take care especially in wet conditions! These are exposed parts, where the path runs close to the sea. The arches are an impressive site, standing out on the shore with a jagged skyline of 1000ft cliffs towering above them. The arches, origionally seacaves, have been eroded right through and eventually they will collapse to form sea stacks. The large arch is 160ft from one end to the other. The second arch is taller and slimmer. It also has a stack on top. The arches consist of columnar basalts, not unlike those of Staffa, if not quite as spectacular. Return by the same route emphasizing great care should be taken, especially near the arches.

Wildlife Watch

Wild goats, deer, seals, otters, eagles, ravens and buzzards. Numerous varieties of seabirds including shag, cormorant, herring, black backed gulls and kittiwakes. There is also black guillemot, rock dove, rock pipit, wren, oystercatcher, curlew and redshank.

Tireragan Nature Reserve

Only 2 miles south of Seaview, Tireragan an estate managed by a local charity Highland Renewal is a wild and wonderful place with waymarked walks to ruined villages, empty beaches and through amazing native oak woodlands, whose regeneration is one of Highland Renewal's main aims. Visit their website at or download a pdf version of one of theeir walk leaflets direct buy clicking here.

Ardtun - Fossil Leaf Beds & Columnar Basalt Cliffs

OS Explorer 373 Iona, Staffa and The Ross of Mull 1:25000
2 miles- about 2 hours

An easy short coastal walk below and above basalt cliffs with interesting geology and spectacular views. Ground tending to be wet and slippy good waterproof walking boots required.

By car head east from Bunessan village round the sharp bend and turn off first left over the little bridge and follow left again after it. A quarter mile further on you enter the Ardtun area and to your left there are magnificient views north west over Loch na Laitaich and Eilean na Liathanaich (grey island) with its little lighthouse perched at one end. To the west Bunessan pier used by the local shell fishermen and extremely important to the areas economy. In the distance on a good day you can pick out the pillar island Staffa to the north.


After approximately one mile there is a turning off to the left and you see a picturesque view of Eorabus, township, Ardtun, nestled around Traigh Mor Bay
Follow the road to nearly the end and just before the last 2 houses there is a gate facing north on the right hand side of the road. Park your car and go through the gate and follow the sheep track north through a field and on to the open moor. In the mid distance there is a little flat topped hill with a cairn on top(Dunan Mor). Walk to the cairn and then carry on past it descending north down to the fields above the shore.

Ardtun Basalt Rock Formations
View across Ardtun to Ben More

Here you pass through ruined croft houses and enclosures. On your right above the notable columns of basalt cliffs become grander as you walk north east. The sheep track takes to a steep gorge with the sea funnelling into it. At this point you have to go up onto the tops of the cliffs. Now follow across the headland ahead of you in the distance is the magnificent mass of the Ardmeanach Peninsular. After a short walk you will reach a shallow open gully between the cliffs well above sea level and with easy access. In the gully sides you will sea fossils of leaves of oak ,hazel and plane trees. Return either by the same route or follow along the top of the cliffs the whole way back to the cairn.

Lochbuie - Standing Stone Circle & Castle Moy


Lochbuie Stone Circle

Access to the bronze age circle is from Lochbuie Village road. As ou travel towards Loch Buie, Ben Buie is sighted as are the trees on the left, the road opens out to cross a stone bridge. Park just at the bridge and go through the field towards a wood on the right. You cross a plank of wood spanning a ditch. Near here there is a single standing stone. The stone circle is behind the rhododendrons to the left. Little is known about these stones however it is a peaceful and beautiful spot.

OS grid reference: 617251

Lochbuie Stone Circle
Moy Castle at Louchbuie

Moy Castle

Standing a short distance from the standing stones of Lochbuie, just above the shoreline, near to a small burn at the head of Loch Buie, this cstle was built in the 15th century by Hector MacLean, brother of Maclean of Duart and the founder of the re-named Maclaines of Lochbuie who made it their home. It is a 3 storey tower with a garret. On the ground floor there is a well. It was captured from the Maclaines and garrisoned by Campbell followers but later returned to the Maclaines. It was abandoned in 1752 when a new house was built. The entrance door is locked now because of a risk of crumbling masonry.

At the end of the Lochbuie road follow the track eastwards, beside Lochbuie shoreline, past the church and Lochbuie house.

OS grid reference: 617247