Monday 11 September 2006

Scotland 2006 - Day 4 - Iona

On Sunday, the decision was made to head towards Iona, a small island off the coast of Scotland, that is a well known pilgramige site.

In the middle of the 6th century, St. Columba (not to be confused with St. Columbus) arrived on Iona from Ireland after being banished, and set up a monastary on the island. It is thought that the Book of Kells was begun here, before being taken back to Ireland. (For those of you that remember, we saw The Book of Kells when we were in Dublin last year).

Needless to say, it was a good fit for a Sunday. =) Getting there, however proved to be a bit of a trip in and of itself, requiring no fewer than three ferries and hours of driving along one lane roads. yes, you read that correctly - one lane roads. But the scenery was beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the transit time, we only had but a few hours to spend on Iona itself, but we made the best of it.

First off, we headed straight for the Abbey, which is still home to the Iona Community. It's a beautifully peaceful place. Spending some time here in quiet contemplation would be a very welcome respite from the world indeed.

Then on the way back to the ferry terminal we explored the ruins of the 15th Century Benedictine Nunnery, that now serves as a lovely garden. Really beautiful.

On the the sea lion that accompanied our journey back to the Island of Mull, a sea lion decided to play in the wake of the ferry! Such a sweet face and a fantastic way to top off our day.

From Mull, we made our way back to Fort William and so ended another beautiful day in Scotland.