Oban To Iona
ROUTE LENGTH: 36 MILES
From Oban take the ferry to Craignure. Follow the A849 through Bunessan to Fionnphort. Leave your car here and cross to Iona.
The route for cycles largely follows the main A849, but for stretches there are alternatives. On Iona half of the walking route (see below) can be cycled.
You can walk the length of Iona. Other walks in The Ross of Mull can be seen at http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/mull/iona-ross-of-mull.shtm
By Public Transport
To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.
When checking train times only you can use Scotrail
For ferries from Iona to Fionnphort and Craignure to Oban check Calmac
For a taxi on Iona contact Iona Taxi
The bus between Fionnphort and Craignure (Bowmans Coaches (Mull)) stops at Pennyghael, Strathcoil & Lochdonhead.
The ferry crossing to Mull from Oban skirts the north end of Kerrera, and then the southern end of Lismore. The story is that the followers of Moluag and of Columba raced to see who could touch the great sanctuary island first. Columba’s boat was a length ahead when Moluag cut off his finger and threw it ahead onto the shore, so winning the contest. Unlikely history, but Lismore did become Moluag’s headquarters, reminding us that Columba was not alone in his mission to Scotland.
The Ross of Mull has a distinctive character and community which is not simply a road to Iona, and Mull itself deserves wider exploration on the return journey. The history of the Ross is closely linked with the story of the people of this area which can be explored in Bunessan, on the island church, and in the Iona Heritage Centre.
Iona itself is Columba’s Isle, though it was a sacred place before he arrived. The restored Benedictine Abbey should be experienced as part of the whole island with its many places of peace and beauty, including the ruined nunnery and the ancient burial ground of Scotland’s kings at St. Oran’s Chapel. Martyr’s Bay, where Viking raiders slaughtered the later monks, and Columba’s Bay, which was the Saint’s own landfall, are all evocative of the island’s special atmosphere and story.
The restoration first of the Abbey Church, and then, through the leadership of the twentieth century Iona Community the Abbey buildings, is one of Scottish Christianity’s resurrection stories that continues to resonate internationally. Again though Gaelic tradition, of which Columba himself was such a notable champion, foresaw this development
The Guiding of Columba
be on your going and returning
in strath and on ridge
through pit and mire
over hill and crag.
The peace of God be your portion
and let light perpetual
shine upon you.