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28 March 2022

An absolutely beautiful sunny day so I set out early to make the most of it. The drive to Fionnphort along the A849 through the Ross of Mull must be one of the most scenic drives in Scotland. It’s hard to concentrate on the single-track road ahead when red deers are grazing at the foot of the imposing hills as you speed by! I arrived at Fionnphort in time to catch the first ferry to the wonderful island of Iona. I headed straight along the coast road to the northern beaches, past the Iona Abbey and Nunnery, and was immediately struck by the serenity of this small, sacred island. That sense of calmness was reinforced when I reached the first of the North End beaches, to the right of the path and through a small gate. On this bright, sunny morning, those first steps on the pristine white sand were a perfect reminder of what my project is about. What a magnificent beach this is, so let’s give it is full majestic name – The East and White Strand of the Monks (Traigh Bhan Nam Monach). Dramatic rock formations, Caribbean sand and turquoise pools. Stunning. Then, further to the west, the second of the North End beaches, more expansive and backed by dunes but equally impressive and with commanding views across to the Treshnish Islands. Oh, and I had the whole place to myself!