Tobermory - Aros Park
Aros Park, just south of Tobermory, is often overlooked by visitors but it`s fantastic place to explore, even during inclement weather. The main entrance is about half a mile from the centre of town but it can also be reached by a very scenic footpath starting at the car park at Ledaig next to MacGochan’s pub. The park is very well maintained by Forest Enterprise and has been developed as a recreational woodland. The park stands on what was the estate of Aros House, and the owners, the Allan family, developed the grounds between 1874 to 1959. Their mansion, however, has since been demolished although there are remains of several ancillary buildings including the generator shed by the burn which provided power to the house. The Loch in the middle of the park is artificial and was created as a feature during the initial development, and also served as a power source for the mill.
The most popular walk is a circular tour of the Loch from the car park. This route is an easy one mile in length and makes an ideal dog walking or jogging track. The park has many other fine walks, most of which are similarly graded. However, it`s possible just to head through the woodland to the old drovers track down to the crossing point to Calve Island. Access is possible during the brief window created at low spring tides but the causeway is only exposed for a short time and caution should be exercised.
My wife and I had been meaning to check out Aros Park for while, but it was only during our latest visit to the island in late 2021 that we did so for the first time. The poor visibility which ruled out a higher walk wasn`t an issue here and there were a few birds to be seen including a tiny Goldcrest, Britain`s smallest species.
The woodland consists of many varieties of shrub, fungi and trees. In places the park has temperate rain forest, especially when it`s actually raining which can often seem the norm on Mull! Many interesting ferns and grasses grow freely, however, the most spectacular display is created by the large banks of Rhododendron. In recent years, these shrubs have engulfed parts of the park but this has since been addressed and they have been cut back to acceptable proportions and are now in in harmony with the rest of the trees.
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The ruins of the generator shed.