As soon as you land on the island of Iona you feel a certain tranquility.
Even after your two ferry trips (Oban to Mull, then Mull to Iona) the island has a strange calming effect, even to the casual visitor. It is unexplainable, hard to define, but it is definitely there.
As the crowds leaving the ferry disperse, it is a beautiful walk along the the main road, if indeed you can call the single track a main road towards the abbey, past the ruins of the old convent.
Before reaching the main gate of the abbey you will come across the church. The ancient tombstones in the graveyard all tell there own tails and looking out across the waters it is hard to imagine a better resting place. In deed, the former leader of the UK Labour Party, John Smith, was buried in the graveyard here.
The residents of the island take a great pride in their gardens and we passed many labelled up as organic throughout our time on the island.
There are a number of restaurants that cater to the demands of tourists straight off the ferry, but if you are looking for something a little less frenetic, without compromising on quality, the Argyl Hotel on the front, just passed the Post Office, will provide for the most discerning pallet.
Whilst we only had a very short time on the island, which was a shame, it was clear from wandering around the abbey and narrow streets that this place deserved more time to allow its full exploration.
My tip for this place, slow down. Take time to wander the abbey, visit the heritage centre and look round the gardens. Savour the atmosphere and try and get a real insight into life on the island.
It is one for the list to return to, perhaps during winter to see the contrast the different seasons can bring.