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Not many boats seem to anchor here, the tourist gateway to Mull. It reminds me a bit of many of the Irish anchorages – in season there are a lot of tourists around, camping, children in the play park, grown ups in the Craignure Inn, fishing off the pier. However, it is convenient and sheltered, and easy to anchor with good views up Loch Linnhe without too much of a wash from the Oban ferry, although ferries and other ships in the Sound do make waves so you still have to watch the crockery.
Useful for crew changes off the ferry, and apart from Oban, Fort William and Bowmore it has the only swimming pool within reasonable reach of an anchorage (nearer if you anchor in the north part of the bay, but quite a nice walk from the old pier - take the path off the road signed to Java). The pool opened in 2008 as a joint venture between the local council and the Isle of Mull Hotel (an extraordinarily ugly construction with a dull interior which seems far too big for where it is, but the scones are good). The pool is only 17 metres long and nowhere too deep to stand up in (1.2 metres), but the views from the water are great if you have never mastered the crawl and only do the breast stroke like me – across to the entrance to the Sound of Mull and the Lismore lighthouse (mind you the trees are beginning to obscure the view now). It is a nice facility for sure. And if you are in to such things, there is a spa where you can get a spot of reflexology and hot stone therapy too - to help you achieve bodily and spiritual perfection, so they say.
Back in Craignure put your head into the church by the old harbour and pier. A bit too surrounded by modern houses, but it is a charming building. The two galleries can only be reached by outside stairs (locked these days), convenient for late worshippers presumably although they were originally built for the lairds. Inside is very wooden - and rather ship-like (it must be the pitch-pine pews). It was built in the late 18th century and repaired in the 19th century, porch 1967.
The 18th century Craignure Inn is a cosy place fornstandard pub grub, and drinking with I am told - but have not found any - real ale in the summer, if you can find a seat and get your order in at the height of the season (ph 01680 812 305). Here they chase the midges away with cooling fans - neat idea which seems to work. Arlene's Coffee Shop was new in 2011, right opposite the ferry pier, and is winning awards. Quite right too, try the lemon drizzle cake.
Interestingly Craignure is the only place on Mull where the police can test your alcohol level, so if you are going to do a bit of drunk driving make sure it is a long way from here - by the time the police get you to Craignure your alcohol level might be acceptable!
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