The Viewpoint

The landscape around you is made up entirely of lava f lows, 60 million years old! Look carefully at the shape of the headlands jutting out into the sea and you can make out the lines of individual lava flows. The volcano from which this lava come was in south-east Mull and its roots form the mountains that you see there today.

The sands of Calgary Bay are made from the ground-up remains of marine creatures, mostly shells. When it blows inland, the sand produces a fertile, flower-rich sandy soil. These shell-send areas are known by their gaelic name of 'machair'.

Down to your right you can see a patch of low, scrubby woodland. This is a fragment of 'native woodland', with tree species that occur naturally in this part of Mull. Low, windswept oak coexists with hazel, willows and birch. These insignificant looking woodland relics are very important for the lichens and mosses that grow on the bark of the trees, flourishing in the sheltered habitat and nourished by the mild, wet climate. Some of these tiny plants are so scarce that they grow only here on the west coast and in just one or two other places in the world with a similar climate.

This is a good vantage point for spotting birds of prey. Buzzards are common, you may already have spotted one, perhaps sitting by the roadside, looking a bit like a small golden eagle. If you see a very large bird soaring gracefully above the cliffs on broad wings, it probably is a golden eagle. If you are very lucky, you may even see a sea eagle, Scotland's largest bird of prey. It was hunted to extinction in Scotland, but is now reintroduced and breeding on Mull.