Seaview B and B FAQ’s page
(Otherwise known as how, why, what, where and when?)
Travelling to Mull for the first time and wondering what to expect? Then have a browse through some of the Frequently Asked Questions to see if we can answer your query, if you can't find an answer, then please do email us and we'll do our best to help. The questions we are frequently asked by folk from around the world who are planning a visit to Mull are pretty much the same regardless of where they are coming from; we have tried to answer them as simply and as honestly as we can and we hope you find them useful and make your stay on the island as pleasant and as enjoyable as possible.
If there are any obvious questions that you think we have overlooked please email and let us know so we can add them to the page for the benefit of future visitors to the site and to our lovely island.
Below are just some of the questions we are regularly asked - scroll down the page to view them all.
All Images courtesy of www.tomjoe.com click on images below to enlarge
Where exactly is the Isle of Mull?
The Isle of Mull is just one of a group of islands forming the Inner Hebrides off the west (left) coast of Scotland – above Glasgow and to the left of Oban! Once you’ve found it on the map, squint your eyes and tilt you head slightly to the right at an angle of 12 degrees or so – Mull is the island that looks like a miniature squashed version of the UK! Don’t confuse the Isle of Mull with the Mull of Kintyre either – same west coast but further south forming part of the mainland and it resembles something entirely different too!! Also Sir Paul McCartney doesn’t live on the Isle of Mull so don’t come visiting thinking you might spot a Beatle or rock star or two – plenty of rocks and plenty of stars but no rock stars I’m afraid!
We could bore you with statistics and science here but we won’t – instead think of the County of Lincolnshire on the east coast of England (between the Humber and the Wash) and compress it a bit, shave off a couple of inches and you have the approximate size of Mull. In relation to numbers of people living on Mull – at the last census count less than 3,000 living permanently on the island. There are in fact more sheep than folk, and three times less folk today than there was over a century ago!
What you really need to know about Mull is that it’s actually bigger than you might think. Many visitors come off the ferry at Craignure from Oban and decide to drive round the island via Tobermory before driving down to us at Seaview in Fionnphort – it’s a great way of seeing the island if you don’t mind driving but be aware it can take up to four hours or so and much longer if you stop at places along the way. The views are great and the north end is very different to the south (Ross of Mull).
How do I get to Mull?
Any way you can really – it depends on where you are coming from and how far you are travelling. Mull is very accessible even in the winter with regular scheduled ferry crossings with Caledonian MacBrayne from Oban, Lochaline and Kilchoan – check out their website on www.calmac.co.uk or the ferry timetables via the links on our home page.
The important thing to remember with the ferry crossing from Oban to Craignure is to book your vehicle on to the ferry with Caledonian MacBrayne (especially during the summer months and holiday weekends – reservations: 08000 665 000), give yourselves plenty of time to arrive from wherever you are travelling and try to synchronise your arrival & departure times if travelling by coach, train or plane with the ferry sailings (Scotland may be a small country but it has great scenery which can slow down the drive as well as many miles of twisting roads around lochs and through glens). Turn up no later than 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing time (the ferry waits for no man and you may lose your place), and don’t make the mistake of trying to see Scotland in a day – it just won’t work.
No, not if you don’t want to. If you are arriving by Shanksey’s Pony (on foot), or don’t want the extra cost of the car on the ferry you can come across as a foot passenger. There are regular buses (Bowman's Bus, Service 496) to Fionnphort right from the ferry terminal at Craignure and these are usually scheduled to meet the ferries . The bus stops in Fionnphort at the ferry point to Iona and we are literally a minute's walk from there. In fact Seaview is the closest B&B to the ferry and bus stop. In the winter (end of October to March) buses do not run on a Sunday - there is however a taxi service that you can book to pick you up. Alternatively you may like to consider hiring a car on Mull or even booking a taxi to meet you at the ferry - any of these options are possible. Car hire is available from Mull Car Hire, or Mull Self Drive. Mull Taxi's offer a pick up/island tour service. For detailed travel information, timetables and directions CLICK HERE
What are the roads like on Mull and what about single track driving?
The majority of roads on Mull are single track except for approximately 10 miles between Craignure and Salen and a shorter section between Salen and Tobermory. The road from Craignure to Fionnphort and Iona is a single track road with regular passing places. These passing places are marked with black and white poles or white diamonds. Although it is only 37 miles to Fionnphort from Craignure and the road is classed as an ‘A’ road, expect your journey to take longer than average. This is not only because it is single track and there may be a lot of traffic coming the other way but also because you may stop and enjoy the views although it is inadvisable and dangerous to stop and park in the passing places. If your reversing skills are rusty, we recommend you get some practice in before you come - you will be doing plenty of it once you arrive.
To us, the journey to a destination is part of the holiday and it can be an adventure – many of our guests describe it as 'very different' and an unforgettable experience! There’s no doubt that it can be, so we advise our guests that the journey may take from 45 minutes to 80 minutes - we suggest you give yourselves extra time to make the journey so you aren’t rushing, especially if you are going back up the road to Craignure to catch the ferry. The roads all have tarmac surfaces but the conditions range from reasonable, to not so reasonable.
Single track driving requires a certain level of etiquette and patience. Follow these simple guidelines for a safe and enjoyable journey:
- Always allow vehicles behind you to overtake at designated passing places – it can be frustrating for local residents (especially emergency service personnel and delivery vehicles) to be stuck for miles behind slow moving visitors who can be completely unaware they are behind and trying to pass.
- For oncoming and overtaking vehicles indicate that you are going to stop at a passing place with your indicator on and allow the other vehicle to either overtake or to continue driving through. Always stop on the LEFT hand side (even if the passing place is on the right) and allow the other vehicle through. You only stop in the passing place if it is on your left – never cross the traffic and drive into a passing place on the right; you are likely to cause an accident!
- Don’t stop and park in passing places to enjoy the views – this is dangerous. There is a viewing point above the three lochs going through Glen More where you can stop and enjoy the view. Eagles and sea eagles can be seen from here.
- It is easier for on coming coaches, buses and delivery vehicles if you can give way to them and stop in a passing place on your left – this means they don’t have to negotiate driving a large vehicle into a narrow passing place. By law you you must give way to buses and coaches - it is unlawful for them to reverse!
- Driving on single track roads with passing places is not a game of Blind Man’s Bluff or a question of pride and brinkmanship. If you see on coming vehicles ahead, indicate left, pull in and give way, don’t try and get to the next passing place before the on coming vehicle reaches you – very often you will misjudge the speed and distance and both vehicles will end up meeting in the middle. Someone will eventually have to give in and reverse their car back to the passing place. Please don't try and drive past another vehicle along the verge - this is beginning to break the road up even more, causing lots of pot holes and ruts.
- Traffic heading towards Craignure are very often on their way to catch a ferry – don’t impede their journey by being proud and awkward; it is always more courteous to allow on coming vehicles to pass.
Livestock and common grazing go hand in hand on Mull – sheep, Highland cows and wild deer are all part of the scenery and they make driving on the island a wee bit more interesting!
Think of ‘The Whimsical World of Thomas Joseph’ (www.tomjoe.com) and you have the traffic conditions for the Isle of Mull! The sheep are quite considerate – they are white (usually) and you can spot them easily – they mooch around in flocks close to the road side and can very often be found lying in the middle or edge of the road enjoying the warmth from the tarmac. During spring and after lambing – watch out for the lambs, they are more skittish and less use to moving traffic. At night you can spot their white bottoms facing you or their eyes are green reflecting back at you. When approaching sheep on the road, slow down and gently edge your vehicle through them – they tend to let you pass and wander back on the grassy verges. Even stubborn tups (Rams) will give up trying to eyeball you after a while.
Highland cows and other cattle are big gentle beasts – they hang around in herds and you can often see them at the junction at Pennyghael doing point or sentry duty! They are happy to amble along the road and will generally let you through – again just slow down and pass through carefully. If there are calves about take care because like the lambs they can be frisky. Cows are more difficult to spot in the dark – take care when driving at dusk and at night.
Deer are more unpredictable. These wild animals are usually just passing through from one side of the road to the other when you see them – they don’t often graze at the road side. Deer are more likely to be seen from autumn through to spring when the grazing in the hills is limited. Deer at dusk and at night are a hazard – they roam in small groups and if you see one crossing the road in front of you there is likely to be a second and a third. Slow right down and if possible stop to allow the deer to cross – they are nervous, jumpy and unpredictable.
What’s the weather likely to be like?
Guests always tell us they don’t come to Scotland for the weather, they come because they want to – when the weather is good it’s viewed as a bonus. You can check the weather now click here This will give you a general 4-5 day forecast. What you need to know and understand is that Mull and Fionnphort in particular, is on the edge of the Gulf Stream. The weather in Fionnphort can be different to the rest of Mull – we have half the rainfall of Oban, and much less than Craignure. We are half way between Fort William (the wettest place in the UK) and the island of Tiree (15 miles out further west from Mull) which has the most hours of recorded sunshine!! A bit of an anomaly as you can see – generally we have mild and breezy weather on the south west coast with quite a lot of sunshine. We rarely have snow (except in the Glens and on the mountains) and although it can be chilly in the winter we don’t get frost very often. However like most in things in life there are no guarantees – it is always better to be prepared and we suggest you dress in layers (all seasons) and having waterproof outer clothing is always recommended.
Hmm, good question. Sneaky little blighters – tiny little black insects that are attracted to the carbon monoxide exhaled in the human breath! Fionnphort is on the coast and therefore have considerably less midges as we have few trees and generally the coastal breeze keeps them under control. Midges are usually around from May through to September and prefer warm, damp habitats especially where there are trees and lots of undergrowth ad vegetation. For some unexplained reason they are attracted to some folk more than others and those they fancy a nibble at can react in different ways. Some folk don’t react; others like me can react up to 24-36 hours later with a series of red bumps that can be extremely itchy.
What can you do about them? There are a number of insect repellents on the market and several local stores will have ‘Midgey’ repellent on sale. The latest invention is the ‘midgey magnet’ – a machine that imitates the human breath by producing carbon monoxide to which the midges are attracted. They are then caught in a bag in the machine and once full, placed in a freezer where they die!
For me, when midges are about (you will know this either from the weather conditions or once you get bitten) it is best to avoid places with trees and undergrowth, wear long sleeves and trousers, use your insect repellent and cross your fingers! If you do get bitten I find that the essential oil of Lavender is very effective as an anti-inflammatory and reduces the urge to itch!!
Not every business will accept credit/debit cards although here at Seaview we do accept most credit/debit cards (except American Express) along with cash and UK cheques. Most shops operate a cash-back policy for a small fee and The Ferry Shop next door has an ATM cash machine in the front foyer although it doesn't accept all international cards. Therefore due to the limited number of cash-back facilities on the island it is advisable to bring enough cash with you to cover major purchases and emergencies particularly if you are staying for some time.
The Clydesdale Bank has a branch in Tobermory Tel: (0345) 826818 along with a cash point. Mobile bank vans also travel around the island - ask in B&B’s, Post Offices and local shops for times and stopping places. Here in Fionnphort the mobile bank run by the Bank of Scotland is usually down on a Wednesday afternoon. Oban has several branches of banks where you will be able to obtain cash and other banking services.
Yes you can. There are only a few garages on the island - you can buy petrol at Craignure, Tobermory, Salen and at Robin's Garage between Bunessan and Fionnphort - look out for the Gleaner Oil sign. There aren't any garages or filling stations through the Glen and it's 37 miles to Fionnphort from Craignure, so either make sure you have enough petrol in the car going on to the ferry to get you to Fionnphort, or fill up on the mainland or at Craignure. Just remember though due to transportation costs, the fuel on the island is more expensive.
There are plenty of places on the Isle of Mull that we are happy to recommend for you and we have our definite favourites from small cafes and coffee shops, to fish & chips and fine dining. Further information about places to eat on the Ross of Mull and Iona can be found on the ATTRACTIONS page and we also serve DINNER at Seaview but not during the main season (Sept through to end of April only by prior arrangement). We try our best to cater for special diets as will most eating places but our location does mean there are some limitations so advanced notice is always appreciated. I think it's fair to say that you won't go hungry wherever you are and we will always try our best for you.
The Ross of Mull & Iona is covered by the medical services NHS and practice staff based at Bunessan T: (01681) 700261. This is a busy rural practice with one permanent Doctor who has a large area to cover. Surgeries both at Bunessan and Iona are open access - appointments are not needed for the morning surgeries except on Tuesdays but you may have to wait. Medical emergencies requiring hospitalisation may mean medical evacuation by lifeboat to Oban or by helicopter to Glasgow.
Surgery times are as follows:
Monday: 9 - 12 noon
Tuesday: 9 - 12 noon (Appointments only)
Wednesday: 9 - 12 noon and 4.30 pm - 5.40 pm (Appointments only)
Thursday (Iona Surgery): 10.30 - 1.30 pm
Friday: 9 - 12 noon
The local dentist and pharmacy are in Tobermory (approx 60 miles away). Dentist: (01688) 302105; Chemist: (01688) 302431.
There is a garage at Craignure which sells petrol (gas). Remember there are no garages or petrol stations through Glen More and the drive from Craignure to Fionnphort is 37 miles - make sure you have sufficient petrol in the car. The garage near Fionnphort (between Bunessan and Fionnphort) is Robin's Garage (Gleaner) Tel: (01681) 700206 - sells petrol, diesel and has a pump attendant called Sandy. Robin may also be able to help with vehicle repairs if necessary.
Other garages on the island are located in Salen and Tobermory.
For 'real' emergencies dial '999'. Please do not abuse this system - the resources available to us are valuable and the distances and times travelled are great. Otherwise emergency services can be contacted by the following numbers:
Craignure: (01680) 812 322
Bunessan: (01681) 700 222
Oban: (01631) 562 213
FIRE: Dial '999'
COASTGUARD: Dial '999' or (01475) 729988
LIFEBOAT: Tobermory (01688) 302143 or 0774 256272
Can I walk my dog off the lead?
This is a bit of a conundrum for all dog owners especially when faced with such delightful, wide and open countryside. Visitors to the island need to remember that most of the land around FIONNPHORT is common grazing ground for cattle and sheep. There aren't many enclosed fields and the animals roam free and will often wander into the village to graze on the land round and about. This means that dogs must be kept under proper control and on a lead at all times, especially when there are lambs and calves about.
The law is very specific about dogs being kept under control around livestock and failure to do so can have serious consequences - not just for the farmer and his livestock but for the dog and it's owners. The basic rule is, if there are livestock in the area, keep your dog leashed and under control. Equally important is to clear up after your dog - dog fouling in public places is unlawful and it is unpleasant for both people and other animals in the area. For detailed further information, have a look at the Outdoor Access Code for Scotland.
There are public loos around - generally you will find them in the villages; at the ferry terminals in Fionnphort, Craignure, Fishnish and Tobermory. On our travels around the island we have also found public loos at Dervaig, Calgary Bay, Tobermory, on Iona, and Salen. But hey! this is the countryside and the chances are there won't be any nearby when you need one, so it's back to nature I'm afraid. All we can suggest is you come prepared - loo roll in the car, baby wipes and plastic bags.
Down here in Fionnphort, on the Ross of Mull and Iona, O2 has excellent coverage and this is who we use. Vodaphone is very patchy although a sporadic and unreliable signal can be found in the odd spot or two and we are not aware of any signal from any of the other mobile phone service providers for this end of the island.
If access to your mobile phone is really important whilst you are here and you already have a PAYG phone, then it may be worth considering purchasing an O2 sim card prior to your arrival.
The short answer is yes for Seaview but only by prior arrangement and agreement and generally speaking only one dog at a time; and no for dogs in The Bothy. Guests travelling with their dogs and staying at Seaview are offered Erraid, the ground floor twin room because it has easy access to the front door. We have two dogs of our own - Megan, a chocolate Labrador born on Iona in 2007, and Lainie a black Labrador born at Seaview in 2010 and daughter to Megan; as dog owners we fully understand the difficulty trying to find accommodation where dogs are welcome and so try to be as obliging and welcoming as we can. The usual consideration by dog owners is expected - provide own bedding, towels for drying, pick up after pooping outside etc and try and keep dogs off the beds and furniture. Difficult we know at times as our own will try every trick in the book to bag the best spot! We don't take dogs in The Bothy because our own dogs have full access to the back garden.
We do, but generally young people aged 12 year and over who are old enough to sleep in their own rooms for which the normal rate is charged. We don't have any family rooms and we are unable to accommodate young families; we will however happily provide you with the contact details of accommodation providers in the area who are more suitable for families.