Mull is the island that you can’t find much information about, even on Google, it’s that wild. Difficult to reach from Romania – the road is long, expensive and with a stopover (sometimes short, with a very high chance of missing the plane, as I did in my latest photo tour). Assuming that you make it to Glasgow safely, “don’t say hop until you jump the fence” – as they say. The first step is to get a car. I usually rent it from Avis România. Obviously, there is an office at the airport in Scotland, but there are more advantages when you book it from home – it’s cheaper, you don’t risk the insurance being wrong and you don’t have to understand the agent’s accent when telling you what’s going wrong 🙈. Moreover, money ends up in this country, poor as it is (I’m a patriot, so I buy Romanian stuff, whenever I get the chance 😏).

Good, you’ve got the car. Now you have to drive it. On the opposite side! I recommend a co-pilot who doesn’t get tired of always shouting “keep the right, all right?!”, in his constant fear that you will both end into a ditch. An automatic car is preferable, otherwise the shifter on the left will be an ordeal. Luckily, the city is small, the traffic is acceptable and you get out of it quickly. Then, you head to Oban, where you take the ferry to the island. I think this is the hardest part. A good portion of the road is on highway, but at the end of it, there’s a narrow road with many curves and turns. On the left, you have the steep mountain and the ditch, and on the right, a dreamy landscape, in which I recommend not to let yourself caught (let the co-pilot admire it). Moreover, it’s raining hard, the asphalt is wet, and the spray from the trucks completely fogs you up. Being careful and driving very slowly helps a lot.

You arrive in Oban (early, because you planned your trip well) and, by the time the ferry leaves, you run to the market to eat the best seafood of your life. Fresh sandwiches with shrimp, crab, smoked salmon, lobster and oyster platters – rainbow on the palate, after such a long and tiring drive.

Don’t forget to stop by the supermarket, for prices that are still high, but more reasonable than on the island. Until you find out there is a Lidl in town, you go to the first store that comes on your way. nd there you discover, to your pure astonishment, that they have no coffee other than instant coffee (in a 2014 article, 77% of the British preferred it, compared to 1% in Italy and 4% in France).

You board the ferry that you booked in advance and, after only an hour, you arrive on the island. Disembark in Craignure, the island’s main port. The first thing that catches your eye there are the “watch out for otters” signs (not that I’ve seen any otter on the road 🫣). Now you know for sure that you’ve reached the right place and you start feeling the emotions wilderness gives you. And because you’ve got more comfortable with driving, you can look around and admire the raw green, refreshed by the rain daily. Here and there, a waterfall appears, a sign “to the castle” or a name with “loch” in it. You quickly realize that this means “lake” and wonder where Loch Ness would be? – the answer is „not far”.

Drive slowly, not only to avoid other cars, but also to watch out for the sheep that come your way at every turn. Because, from now on, wildlife is everywhere you look.

The island is famous for its white-tailed eagles and otters, but all its wildlife is fascinating, and the locals respect and appreciate every living creature. Many tourists come here by coach, just for “birdwatching” or “otter watching”, a custom that we have never come across in our country.

You arrive at the accommodation, following the very specific instructions of the host – you’d better save them ahead, as in most places you will not have signal. And when I talk about signal – I don’t refer only to 4G, but to the almost non-existent network coverage, which gives the island a special charm and heightens the level of wilderness (for a clearer idea, some locals don’t even have WhatsApp). And, I found out from sources, that they are not big fans of tourists, either, because they spoil their peace. That’s why they didn’t even bother to build bridges, just to make the island as inaccessible as possible. Alternatively, if you prefer civilization to the wild, you can choose to visit the neighbouring island of Skye, instead of Mull – just as beautiful, but much more populated.

In Scotland it rains, and rains, and rains. Sometimes the clouds decide to have a break, but not for long. At first, you get angry, and just wait for the heavy rain to pass, but you realize quickly that, if you continue to do so, you will spend all your days inside, taking pictures only of the instant coffee cup. So, you wash your eyes with cold water first, then with warm water (some lodges still have different taps – an almost existential ordeal), dress in layers, take your suit of tarpaulin and muster up your courage. In a few minutes, not only that you get used to the weather, but you come to love it.

The light is perfect for whatever you’re shooting, and it’s just as good all day long (meaning, no need to get up in the morning).

You drive past “lochs” at random. One day, deer look at you curiously from one side of the road. Same deer turn their heart-shaped backs and bid you a serene “goodbye”, another day. You know that when one door closes, another one opens, so you continue on your way, full of hope.

You come out of the woods and, in a field, a short-eared owl is sniffing around the Scottish mice. Don’t try to catch him right away – today he’s too hungry to pose for a picture, but tomorrow you know where to return.

On such a small island, you easily remember the most attractive places and write down in your mind’s map: “here the owl hangs around”, “the fairy-tale-like forest is full of deer”, “I saw several common buzzards over there”, “at the pontoon sleeps the otter”, “right before the pontoon, bunnies run”, “before the bunnies, the peacock is filling up the feathers on the road”, “on the log in the yard, the robin rests”, “almost everywhere the Scottish sheep and cows, with their bangs, gaze – highland cows.”

When you want to go and see otters, you reserve the whole day for them. Not only because it’s extremely difficult to find them, but also because the whole process is very tiring. If you can manage somehow with deer and birds, otters cannot be photographed from the car. The golden rule is to be at the level of the subject you are photographing – and they stay in the water or on the beach, camouflaged among the yellow-brown algae, as some hard and slippery bean pods. But before you get to step on the seaweed, first you have to see the otters (a pair of binoculars would be a real help, but I always forget to put it in my luggage). You go around the lakes multiple times, you go back and forth on the single lane road until you’re dizzy, you squint at every rock, you cash in false alarms and, most importantly, you don’t give up.

You can most easily notice them when they are in the water, fishing and sticking their heads out to enjoy their meal.

Preferably, it should be at flow, otherwise the waves will confuse you like no more, not to mention that the sea is so vast, that there is no beach left.

You’ve seen them and you feel like running towards them, but now patience is more important than ever. You wait to see what their next move is and where they are going while you prepare and set up the device. It’s important to camouflage yourself as well as possible, but even more important is that the otters do not sense you and that you move against the wind. You get close slowly while they’re in the water and are not able to see you, and when they come to the surface, you stand still. Watch out for the slippery algae and mentally prepare yourself for a series of falls, like on the ice rink, but on boulders.

Once you’re at the right distance (close enough to photograph and far away enough, not to feel your presence), you lie down on the wet beach and pray you get that long-awaited shot (and not to catch a cold where it hurts the most) 🙈.

Crawling becomes the rule, as well as your basic movement. And if you sit quietly and wait until they finish their lunch or dinner, you can be part of a rare show. Otters’ play is an image to treasure as your most beautiful memories, and it almost surpasses that of the bear cubs. They are among the most tender and loving animals, and when they feel at ease, they run, roll in the seaweed or cuddle in the water. With such behaviour, it’s no wonder that the locals in Mull protect them as best they can and are careful to keep outsider away from them.

You return to your accommodation, full of dopamine, serotonin and other hormones of happiness. You feel that all your effort was worth it and you deserve a reward, so you make a reservation at one of the few restaurants on the island. I recommend you to choose between the langoustines – they are delicious, wherever you eat them, Shepherd’s pie – hot like a pie from McDonalds, but specific to Scotland and very tasteful, Inverlussa Mussels – their special mussels in cream sauce, and for dessert, you must have a sticky toffee pudding – your blood sugar will go crazy, but you absolutely cannot miss this.

If you know yourself as being picky, maybe it would be better to go to Tobermory, the capital of the island, the only place where you have a choice between several restaurants (one is even set up in a former church). When I say capital, don’t expect crowded streets, you’d better imagine a small town like Brezoi, but with only 1000 inhabitants, with a very beautiful port and with an emblematic image: the coloured houses that are reflected in the water – it looks like a photograph that is easy to be taken by anyone, but I don’t want to know how long you have to wait for the sky to get clear.

You’ve eaten well, you’re full, and now you’re thinking about how to spend the rest of your days. Well, if you’ve got your most wanted otter shots (impossible to do in one go), fill your card with stags, sheep, cows, oystercatchers, white-tailed eagles, common buzzards, owls and other flying creatures, then it’s worth to save at least a day for the puffins from Lunga island, where their heaven is.

There are so many of them, that I allowed myself to separate two of them with my hand, because they were taking care of each other, and I didn’t want to see them spoiled of their wonderful feathers.

You can reach Lunga by boat from Fionnphort or, if you’re a masochist, from Tobermory (the road is double and the chances of getting hurt on the Atlantic waves are also double). The good thing about the longer route is that you have more time to spot the seals and dolphins at sea. Another good island to explore is Staffa, where I saw only one puffin, instead I feasted my eyes on lots of scallops and shag cormorants, as they call them.

If you enjoyed being your guide, you don’t run from the rain and don’t freak out about the lack of signal, then I’ll be waiting for you to accompany me in my next photo tour on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. I guarantee that you will see the most beautiful green of your life and that not a day will pass without meeting a new creature.

If you enjoyed being your guide, you don’t run from the rain and don’t freak out about the lack of signal, then I’ll be waiting for you to accompany me in my next photo tour on the Isle of Mull, Scotland. I guarantee that you will see the most beautiful green of your life and that not a day will pass without meeting a new creature.

And since you still made it this far, I’d also like you to know that:

You can find puffins on the island only in spring and summer – in September they go to live in the ocean.

While you’re waiting for otters, you’ll want to nibble on something – remember, Lays crisps are called Walkers in Scotland.

Everything is the other way around there: driving is on the left, kilometres are miles, and the sockets need adapters.

Mull is a deserted island, except in October, when the famous rally – that started back in 1969 – takes place.