Well, if you decide to visit Lismore, what is there to do?
If you like cycling and hiking it’s an ideal place. The island has one “main” road, which is single track. A handful of other single track roads lead off it – to Port Ramsay for example. Traffic is minimal and is mostly the islanders going about their business as opposed to tourists.
The roads are undulating as opposed to hilly, so even occasional cyclists can manage them easily. Knowing your “single track road etiquette” is important, of course.
Port Ramsay is the place to go for a picturesque and very quiet spot. I could have sat there all day…
If (ruined) castles are your thing, Coeffin and Achanduin are easily reached from opposite ends of the island. They’re both 13th century and both on the west coast.
On the east coast you’ll find the Tirefour broch – an Iron Age relic. Ironically, it has survived in better shape than the castles.
When it comes to dining out, Lismore is not the place to be. You’ll find a fish and chip van at the Calmac ferry pier in Achnacroish. That’s it… The nearby fleshpots of Oban could be a million miles away – the last midweek ferry leaves there at 17:15.
However, it is possible to have an early dinner at the Pierhouse in Port Appin. The last ferry back (midweek & Saturday, summertime only) is 20:00. It’s a 10 minute crossing and only £1.85 (each way). Port Appin Ferry
I brought a picnic for my first evening and ate at the fish and chip van the other night. I enjoyed both – the kind of “something different” thing it’s good to do when you’re away on holiday!
During the day you’ll have more options. As well as the Pierhouse you could take the Calmac ferry over to Oban. A return ticket for a passenger is £5.30. For two people it’s less than a taxi.
The Heritage Centre has a cafe which is open from 11am until 4pm. I ate there twice and the food was excellent – a Hebridean lamb burger one time and chickpea and vegetable soup with a toasted panini the other time. Both were delicious. Their cakes are great too. They have a terrace for outdoor eating.
The Heritage Centre has a small museum, a rebuilt traditional cottage and a shop.
You’ll find the island shop a bit to the south of it.
It’s a very historic place in the context of Christianity coming to Scotland through St Moluag at about the same time as St Columba, and in a variety of other ways. The Heritage Centre’s website is a good introduction to it all.
I really enjoyed my visit. The weather was mixed (well, it’s the islands) but overall it didn’t hold me back more than a couple of hours one morning. For fresh air, exercise, tranquility and landscape it takes some beating.
Then there’s the wildlife. Did I mention the eagle?
ⓒ iain taylor, 2017