Mull & Iona 6 – St Columba’s Isle

The Isle of Iona, less than a mile off the southwest tip of Mull, is a beautiful little gem of an island. We enjoyed it so much, that we made the trip across from Mull twice in the fortnight we were on holiday – we could have easily gone back a couple of more times as well. Despite the large numbers of day-trippers that the island attracts, it still has a unique and calming atmosphere. It’s also not that difficult to escape the crowds (most simply visit the small village of Baile Mor and the abbey) if you head for one of the many splendid and isolated beaches on either the west side or north end of the island.

It may be a tiny island (approx 3 miles long by 1 mile wide) but it has a big history. In AD 563 St Columba, following exile from Ireland, landed on Iona’s southern shore at the place now called Columba’s Bay. The monastery he subsequently founded was pretty much responsible for the conversion to Christianity of much of Scotland and northern England and as a consequence Iona has been a place of Christian worship for nearly 1450 years and a place of pilgrimage for several centuries – in fact it’s virtually impossible to overstate the importance of St Columba and Iona in the early ecclesiastical and cultural history of the British Isles.

In later years St Oran’s Graveyard, next to the abbey, became the legendary burial-place for early Scottish kings, including Macbeth. Norwegian and Irish kings are also reputedly buried in the graveyard. In 1994, following a sudden and unexpected death, John Smith QC (the leader of the Labour Party and some say “the greatest Prime Minister we never had”) was also buried on Iona.

I hope you like the photographs above. Most were taken with my trusty Canon EF-S 15-85mm, apart from the two shots of rock pool plants which were taken with my Canon 100mm macro.

I’ve still got many more photos to process of our trip to Mull…….so look out for more blog posts on the subject over the next few days.

Bye for now……!!

Copyright: © The Photography of Mark Simms (2012). All rights reserved.

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