Glengorm Castle, Standing Stones, Dun Ara and Dun Ban, Isle of Mull

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Start: Glengorm Castle Cafe Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5 km) Climbing: 171 metres
Grid Ref: NM440572 Time: 2 hours Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Glengorm Castle
Start: Glengorm Castle Cafe Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5 km)
Grid Ref: NM440572 Time: 2 hours
Climbing: 171 metres Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

Summary: This is a short walk from the cafe at Glengorm Castle to standing stones, then to the ancient hill fort of Dun Ara before following the coastline and, if you like, taking a dip in a bathing pool (weather permitting) before walking back for welcome refreshment.

The Walk:

Walking from Glengorm CastleWalking from Glengorm Castle
Looking to ArdnamurchanLooking to Ardnamurchan

This walk is a delightful short stroll in breathtaking scenery on the northern tip of the Isle of Mull. It starts at Glengorm Castle which is reached by following a dead end road that forks right from the B8073 just west of Tobermory. The outstanding feature of the walk, scenery apart, is a walk in an area rich in ancient history, to long ago in the time of Megalith construction for there are two fine examples encountered on the walk, standing stones and a castle. The start at Glengorm Castle has an added bonus too. There is a cafe on the site, a place to take refreshment after the walk, or before, or both if the liking takes you! Anyway when Lil and I arrived at the cafe we walked on to follow the trail with refreshment held as the prize after the walk. From the cafe we passed through a gate and up an avenue bridleway for about 100 yards that led us to another gate and to open land. We were on our way with the ghosts of ancient folk and a few living contemporaries who were also on the trail, all of us enjoying the wonderful views ahead.

Glengorm CastleGlengorm Castle
Standing Stones near Glengorm CastleStanding Stones near Glengorm Castle

As soon as we walked into the open our eyes were drawn immediately ahead to the coastline and the sea with views across the expanse to the Isle of Coll in the west and to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula on the mainland due north. A couple of fishing boats were in the sound just off Ardmore Point with a solitary yacht close to them. The skies were clear offering great views all around, a blessing to see such beauty. After the natural picture viewing Lil and I walked on west along a wide and clear field track and soon reached a sign pointing us to the Glengorm Standing Stones. I couldn't see them at the signpost but excitedly bounded over a hump to spot them just below. The site is small with three 2 metres high standing stones inside a ring of boulders but why are they there in the middle of nowhere? After walking around the site which took a short time we headed off leaving them to their solitary position and walked due north, again on a clear track to the sea and to Dun Ara Castle.

Heading towards Sorne PointHeading towards Sorne Point
Dun Ara CastleDun Ara Castle

As we rounded a pint where the path went from north to west and towards Sorne Point the position of Dun Ara Castle became immediately clear. Before us were a series of natural raised hillocks and I surmised the most prominent be home to Dun Ara Castle. I had not read up about the castle before the walk, it was an impromptu decision to do it before returning to Tobermory after a car tour of the island so when approaching the hillock and on finding the sign indicating it was there I wondered what we would find. Climbing to the hillock from the sign took us to a natural gap in the rock which led us onto the grassy top and only then did I discover the remains of the castle, nothing more than a small dug out with the low remains of a wall, enough size to accommodate a couple of people comfortably although my guess is that it will have been a home to a family charged with the responsibility of keeping watch to the sea for marauding invaders. Living momentarily in the past Lil and I kept the watch from our ancient vantage point. After a short contemplative time we both agreed there was no threat to our position and so moved down from the most humble and ancient castle and off the hillock supporting it. We continued our delightful walking venture to Sorne Point.

Wild flowers on Dun AraWild flowers on Dun Ara
A Chaffinch at Glengorm Castle enjoys a treatA Chaffinch at Glengorm Castle enjoys a treat

At Sorne Point there was a sign to a bathing pool and on this sunny day some people were taking advantage of the sheltered sea pool. We were not in the least tempted and walked on our adventure to Laorin Bay whist taking in the views to the Isle of Coll in the western distance. 'Will I be there one day?' I thought before turning inland at Laorin Point and following a track through a delightful small wood and back on to open land then east to our starting point at Glengorm. As we walked the last half mile from the wood to the finish the skies darkened and cloud rolled over quickly. Walkers just setting out were not to be as fortunate as we were. We reached the conclusion of our walk at the cafe and were lucky enough to take drinks and cake outside in the dry. The sun was still persevering through the cloud while we tucked in with the added thrill of a young chaffinch family joining in. Dad or Mum took the food we provided them and delivered it to the less coloured youngsters. A lovely end to a walk that was shortly interrupted as the rain began, spitting at first but soon a proper fall. We retreated to the car just as it got heavy and we thought how lucky we were to enjoy such a delightful unplanned walk in super conditions. Those poor folk who followed got very wet.

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