It was the last day of the school holidays today, and the ground was too wet after yesterday’s rain for Farmer to continue with the silage making, so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the Boathouse Ulva. It is a perfect day out for us, as it is only half an hour drive to Ulva Ferry, where our daughter went to primary school and where you catch the ferry across to the Island of Ulva.
You summon the ferryman to take you across the short crossing from Mull to the Isle of Ulva – and you wait for a few minutes while he comes over especially for you and anyone else waiting. What a service – uniquely Ulva. It is a small open boat but Donald the ferryman has been looking after the ferry for many years now, and his daughter and daughter-in-law are the two talented young women who run the Boathouse, so you are in safe hands both on the water and off.
The Boathouse menu is simple, local, fresh and delicious: shellish platters, soups, sandwiches and divine home baking. Farmer said his (butternut squash) soup was amongst the best soup he had ever tasted, and our sandwiches were really good too. It is extremely important though to leave enough room for the legendary Boathouse Ulva baking, so plan your walks around building an appetite to match their generous portions and general deliciousness! The group at the table next to us were tucking into plates of lobster and potted crab which looked amazing, and as some of the Boathouse Ulva menfolk fish for a living it is fresher than you can imagine!! They even grow the oysters on the menu too. Stupidly I didn’t think of taking photographs of what we had so we will just have to go back another time and do that..
After our lunch (and coffee accompanied by generous slices of almond and orange cake and coffee cake, and a strawberry and cream scone) we took a gentle stroll off on the farm circuit walk. Farmer in particular loves to walk amongst big trees. Whilst we have woodland at Treshnish, ours are not like the sheltered tall trees that make up the lovely Ulva woodlands! So it was a pleasure even on an overcast day, to enjoy the feeling of walking through woodland and the different views.
I probably shouldn’t admit to enjoying looking over garden walls at other folks veg gardens but there is a lovely one behind this garden shed, which we caught glimpses of as we walked past it.
The lack of vehicles on the island enhance the feeling of being away from it all, it is quiet and peaceful. Quad bikes are the main mode of transport to get around on as the tracks are rough – perfect for walking, and there are lots of different lengths of walks you can do and each one has the potential reward at the end of tea and cakes at the Boathouse Ulva before getting the ferry back to Mull.
We had arrived at the Boathouse early as we knew it would be busy, which it was, a steady stream of people ordering their lunches or teas and cake. There were people sitting outside having lunch enjoying the view (Ben More was in cloud today) whilst some set of to explore on mountain bikes and two young French men gathered their kit together and got back into their kayaks. Families with small children explore the beach, calling out as they find starfish by the jetty. There is even a pirate boat for children to climb into (on dry land). It was a perfect scene!
All in all, it was a wonderful day off, and we will be trying very hard to get back to the Boathouse on Ulva before it closes for the winter. Thank you very much Donald, Emma and Rebecca.