Day 8 Scotland Tour
Isle of Iona
Iona is the birthplace of christianity in Scotland. In the year 563 St. Colbumba established an abbey here and kept this as his base as he traveled spreading the gospel throughout Scotland.
Today we traveled from the mainland for an hour on a large ferry boat to the island of Mull. The wind was extremely strong driving the soft rain into daggers, so most of us stayed inside for much of the ride past castle ruins and lighthouses.
Arrived on Mull and boarded a bus for an hour long ride of the heavily traveled single lane road to the opposite side. Along the way we finally saw a large group of the famous Scotland Highland Cows known for their long shaggy coats and long horns. And many vistas of ancient ruins and glorious bays. The driver gave us a running narrative of the island history and customs while navigating the single lane road with constant oncoming traffic.
We safely arrived and boarded a smaller ferry for the short trip over to the Isle of Iona.
There we had a guide for the tour of the 800 year old abbey built on the site of St. Columbo's wooden abbey. It has had many restorations and changed over the centuries but has survived through viking masacures, wars and also good years. Very beautiful Celtic crosses, some very old and some not so old. There are also ruins of a convent on the island that is only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. We had 2 hours to explore and then it was back on the small ferry to the bus and a return trip on the single track road. On the large ferry for the last leg the weather turned very nasty and the long walk to the hotel was bitter cold in biting wind driven rain.
But returned in time for the 6 PM mass at the cathedral that was about 2 blocks from the hotel. Then we walked into the first hotel and had soup and sandwiches for a filling dinner without walking back into the commercial area of town.
Tomorrow we travel back to Edinburgh for our final night.