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Out in the Isles

Climbing on the immaculate Eilean a Ghearrain at Fidden

We have just been out enjoying the Isle of Iona and Mull for both work and also with some time to explore and have a climb. It was great to be back after many years and to find that it was still pretty much the same wild and stunning spot I remembered. We explored the Tolkien crag which sits on the western side of Iona and also the crags along the southern tip of Mull.

Tolkien Crag on the Western side of Iona.

The rough pink granite crags and numerous white sand beaches gives this area a tropical feel aside from the temperatures. It was a pretty windy and wild few days and almost felt more like autumnal temperatures at times. We camped on the isle of Iona which makes for a stunning base with huge views out to sea. The Tolkien crag which we visited sits on the western side at the head of a stunning white beach. The rock is a rough pink granite which delivers short but high quality climbing. Its got a range of route from easy to hard all with good gear throughout.

We next took a look at the crags around Fidden campsite which sits on the southern tip of Mull just around from the ferry to Mull at Fionphort. Again perfect crags in an idyllic situation. Described in the book as reminiscent of Sierra Nevada which I can confirm having climbed there that its true I would just argue that the views are better. Great for those who are happy on cracks and ready to bloody the knuckles. The area is dotted with crags and a vast amount of bouldering. We enjoyed the routes at Eilean a Ghearrain climbing the classic Fidden Crack, get your cams right and jamming hands on! There are a host of routes at all grades and also the rock is so inviting that you can also just make up your own lines.

Sunset across the Sound of Iona from Fidden Campsite.

One of the most stunning spots to climb is on the island of Erraid just along from Fidden it is a tidal isle but even with the tide in its possible to get over. With a walk across the island you are met with a lovely secluded bay ringed by great crags. Plenty of nice spots to wild camp and make a weekend of it.

Logistically its not to tricky to get to although it does involve a ferry or two. The first being the ferry from Oban to Craignure which is provided by Cal Mac ferries and takes about an hour to reach Mull. Then a about an hours drive takes you down to Fionphort where the ferry to Iona and where the southern crags of Mull sit. As you drive down you pass the Basalt crags along Loch Scridean before the rock turns to the distinctive rough pink granite and you know your in the right area. Ferries from Mull to Iona run regularly.

There is a great campsite on Iona and also at Fidden on Mull just along from Fionphort.

Catching the ferry from Fionphort (Mull) to Iona

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