Great Places to Stay
- Druimnacoish Hotel, Dervaig, Mull
The Isle of Mull offers the visitor a refreshing breath of pure Highland air, fabulous scenery, a sense of history and heritage, delicious seafood straight from the sea, and the opportunity to enjoy healthy walks, cycling and fishing. Come for a week and tour around staying in different towns and rural areas - there is a host of different types of accommodation from fine hotels to B&Bs and countryside inns such as the delightful, family run Druimnacoish Hotel near Dervaig.
This is in the north west corner of the island where you'll find the most stunning and dramatic mountain scenery. Take the narrow B8073 west from Tobermory (pictured here) which winds its way up into the hills, around hairpin bends and across open glens. This road is closed to the public for the annual car rally in October when racing drivers will take this single track road at around 120 miles per hour. This is not advised - keep to about 40 and watch out for the sheep wandering about!!
The tiny village of Dervaig is rather quaint with its Post office/general store, ancient Church with a conical shaped spire, the pub and here you will also find the smallest professional theatre in Britain - Mull Little Theatre. Performances run during the summer months featuring an impressive repertoire of plays.
From Dervaig take the road south towards Salen for about 2 miles and you will reach Druimnacroish Hotel, completely isolated in the valley, Glen Bellart, surrounded by a high border of hedges and set within its own lovely gardens. The property is a wonderfully renovated old farmhouse and watermill dating from the 19th century. There are some fascinating photographs showing the old ruined steading and stables prior to 1975, when it was completely refurbished and decorated to create 6 bedrooms (all en-suite) on the first floor and downstairs, dining room, two lounges, one with a log fire, and a bright and sunny conservatory, leading out to the garden. For those preferring Do-It-Yourself accommodation, there is a separate self catering apartment which can be let on a weekly basis.
Druimnacroish Hotel is personally owned and run by a young Scottish/Dutch couple, Neil and Margriet. They arrived five years ago, giving up very different careers in the city of Edinburgh in order to enjoy the peace and serenity, living on Mull. Now they welcome you to their home. Neil is the chef while Margriet keeps busy in the vegetable garden, looking after guests and serving breakfast.
Their aim is to offer guests a calm and relaxing stay. You will find no television or telephone in your bedroom, just a radio and a few [ very out of date] magazines. In the lounges there are shelves of books to borrow - paperback novels, as well as useful guide books on local walks and birdlife.
Staying at Druimnacoish Hotel
Upstairs the bedrooms are along a bright yellow and flowery painted hallway all very fresh and sunny. We were in room 2, a standard double room with pine bed, simple homely furnishings, colourful cotton fabrics, tea and coffee tray and two small armchairs. It is an attractive cottage attic style to it, with a small window with a lovely view of the garden and hills beyond. The bathroom is decorated 1970s style with avocado coloured suite, and toiletries supplied consist of just one tiny bar of soap and some shampoo. Some of the other bedrooms with a choice of twin and double beds, offer a more spacious layout with separate lounge area.
This is a very popular small country inn with many repeat guests. One couple I met has been coming here every year for 5 years, enjoying a week of touring the island and attending concerts during the Mendelssohn on Mull music festival in late June to early July.
Dinner and Breakfast at Druimnacroish
The food prepared by Neil and Margriet is based on the freshest, organic local produce with home-made bread and preserves. Vegetables and herbs are grown in their garden. Arriving in the mid afternoon, and having missed lunch, we politely asked if it would be possible to have a sandwich to keep us going to dinnertime. This was no problem. Neil prepared a plate of delicious local cheese, slices of thick fresh bread, two red apples, bottle of dry white wine - all served on a tray in the garden. The sun was shining in a blue cloudless sky. Bliss.
Dinner is served at 7.30pm with guests invited to come down to the lounge around 7 o'clock for a drink and select from the menu. There are two or three choices per course starting with perhaps a platter of six Mull Oysters, prepared differently - spinach, cheese, salsa, chives; Tomato & Mint soup or Venison pate & oatcakes.
Main courses might offer Grilled Whole Rainbow Trout served with rhubarb and mustard relish (the rhubarb freshly picked from the garden). This was perfectly cooked, the pink flesh falling off the bone, and served with a bowl of new potatoes and green vegetables. Alternatively there was Roast Rack of Scots Lamb, with rowanberry gravy.
Leave room for a tempting pudding - a traditional Sticky Fig and Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice-cream, or Chocolate Parfait with Belgian chocolate and Cointreau. And if you are still hungry, there is the option of a fourth course - Scottish cheese served with oatcakes and water biscuits. Tea or coffee are then served in the lounge or conservatory as the summer sun sinks slowly behind the hills to the west.
You are sure to sleep well in this solitary farmhouse, with nothing but the sound of birds or the bleat of the sheep in the fields nearby.
Breakfast as you would expect, offers a very healthy choice of fresh fruits, prunes, apricots, grapefruit and natural yoghurt, porridge with cream, cereals and muesli. Cooked dishes include eggs, - fried or poached with bacon and sausage, kippers, or scrambled eggs with Tobermory smoked trout. And to finish a basket of thick slices of toast and home made preserves, tea and coffee. Now its time for a long walk along Calgary Beach, about 5 miles over the hills.
Comfort and Service - On a Budget
Druimnacroish Hotel offers a very comfortable, homely rural retreat at a very reasonable tariff. 2003 prices are between £50pp - £60pp for dinner, bed and breakfast. Neil and Margriet will welcome you warmly to their home and will be more than happy to advise you on where to go and what to see around the island. It is this level of genuine, friendly service which is often lacking in the so-called leading and luxurious 5 stars hotels of the world."We always make time to help you make the most of your visit, and invite you to ask us anything at all about planning your trip to Mull. We hope you have a most enjoyable time"
Neil & Margriet
For more information or to make a reservation see the Druimnacoish Hotel Web site or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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