Tag Archives: sea

Chartering a private boat when visiting Mull

Here’s another local business (based out of Oban) with some rather interesting snippets of information on its blog and facebook page. Called Coastal Connections it has quite a lot of attractive pictures taken on past charter trips around the coast and islands on its blog. Just click on the blog archive to see an overview.

Coastal Connections is based out of Oban and runs private charters to Mull and other parts of the Inner Hebrides.Coastal Connections has a rather beautiful website featuring a map of the west coast of Scotland pin-pointing its location and, presumably, the area it services with two boats. “We aim to make your journey to the islands as enjoyable as possible. Both our Redbay 11 metre cabined RIBs provide a safe, dry and comfortable environment in which to relax and take in the scenery and wildlife along the west coast. Cruising at an average speed of 30 knots you will reach your destination in no time at all. Our services range from commercial exercises to scenic tours of the Western Isles as well as private charters.”

Apart from using smaller boats to ferry myself to dive sites up the Sound of Mull, a past-time I can no longer do these days, it’s never occurred to me to charter a boat for a cruise around the islands. But, if you are a large group or have extended family members on Mull for a holiday, it could be a great way to spend a day.

There really is nothing quite like being able to take a view of the land from the sea. It’s more akin to how our ancestors would have seen the world, when the seas were our highways and venturing inland was a dangerous prospect.

That’s also why our forebears would have not seen the national distinctions we recognise today. Peoples from modern Ireland and Northern Ireland would have been ferrying back and forth between Scotland’s Islands and mainland in much the same way we take a car on the M6, to or from the south.

Anyway, if the idea of hiring a private boat to flit you around the islands holds some appeal, you should go check out what they have to offer.

Ralph
Beach House Self-Catering
Twitter: mullescape

Mull’s lochs closed due to algal blooms

For anyone who has visited Mull for a holiday, you will know that the island, along with many other spots on the west coast of Scotland, has a booming industry growing shellfish on artificial reefs. Many of the Sea lochs also form excellent sheltered places for fish farming which has become an important source of income for locals.

These reefs are actually long sections of polypropylene rope which are seeded with mussel larvae and then suspended below a floating frame. These baby mussels then go on to filter the protected waters in the sea loch until they get to a size that’s ready for tables in the UK and other parts of Europe.

Mussels by JWU @ FlickrBut it seems that even the waters around Mull aren’t immune from toxins being produced by algae building up in some of the lochs. According to specialist website Fishupdate, Loch Na Keal, Ulva and Loch a Chumhainn, a particularly pretty inlet which forms the shoreline for Dervaig, had to be closed earlier this month. Signs were put up warning casual beachcombers to steer clear of eating self-picked shellfish such as cockles, mussels or razor shells.

As the website reports, “Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Council and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside. It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice. Monitoring work is currently being undertaken by the council to evaluate this situation and when the situation subsides, the warning notices etc., will be removed.”

Sadly this is a problem that would have been unheard of in the past. But, due to a range of factors, including run-off from farmland, many coastal areas across the UK can now suffer these algal blooms, some of which produce toxins which can be harmful if they enter the human food chain.

Fortunately, with the monitoring undertaken by Argyll and Bute Council’s environmental health service, any raised levels of these naturally occurring algal toxins can be kept out of the food chain and still allow everyone to enjoy fresh produce from the seas around Mull.

Ralph
Beach House Self Catering
Twitter: mullescape