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Anchoring off Fionnphort you have to keep out of the way of the ferry, and the tourist hoards heading for Iona. Indeed, there are an astonishing number of coaches lined up by the ferry, disgorging tourists to Iona, 140 000 a year it is said. However, if you do stop, there are some rather good things to do.
The village shop has a giftie sort of a place attached to it, and attached to that is a remarkably good little book shop, at least for books about Scotland and in particular the west coast. Second, across on the beach you will find a huge granite boulder with a most impressive split through it, apparently made by local quarrymen in 1870, before the Duke of Argyll stopped them when he realised that the rock was of geological interest. And of course the typically for these parts pink granite rocks are all around. For more quarry viewing take a walk to the Bull Hole.
And finally if you walk a few minutes up the hill out of the village you will come to a small road to the left leading to a rather swish but small restaurant which opened in 2009 in a converted bothie – the Ninth Wave Restaurant, where “luxury meets sustainability”! (ph 01681 700 757). A few years later it won the Highlands and Islands Restaurant of the year award, then into the Good Food Guide. Impressive. Unfortunately children under 12 are not allowed (something to do with our crazed licensing laws). Jonny Lamont does the fishing during the day and serves the wine in the evening, while his Canadian wife Carla cooks (and has written a book about how they got to be where they are, Birlinn, 2014). Sounds great, and absolutely is great. Only 16 covers, ever so friendly, no rush, relaxed, brilliant cooking. Surely heading for a Michelin star.
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Rocks and beach, with Iona Abbey in the distance
Tourists pouring out of the ferry from Iona