Natural History

Eachdraidh Nàdarra

The Ross of Mull comprises a wide range of habitats, grassland, peat moss, salt marsh, moorland and machair, all supporting an abundance of plants, insects and wildlife. Mull has over 4000 different plant species, 816 of them flowering, so you can be sure of seeing something of beauty and interest in every season. 

The herb rich grasslands are a valuable resource for a variety of bird life including lapwing, chaffinch and skylark and in the winter, species such as redwing and fieldfare appear. Small mammals provide prey for barn and tawny owl, buzzard, eagle, hen harrier and kestrel.

Plants suited to acidic conditions thrive on the peatlands; cotton grass, heath spotted orchid and bogbean are widespread and carnivorous plants such as sundew and butterwort are abundant. Ditches and small pools support dragonflies, newts, toads and frogs

On the moors, red deer and mountain hares are a common sight; skylarks herald spring with their song and warm summer days attract adders, which may be seen basking on rocks. The heather is often full of the caterpillars of several important moth species such as burnet, oak eggar and emperor moths

On the extensive coastal areas, otters are often seen, as well as both grey and common seals. A variety of shorebirds such as oystercatcher and ringed plover nest on the beaches with passage migrants such as turnstones, godwits, dunlin and sanderling appearing in spring and summer. Much of the coastal grassland is machair which has a beautiful floral display in summer and supports breeding birds such as the rare corncrake. There are areas of saltmarsh which are important feeding grounds for waders, terns and wildfowl, with the natural creeks providing nursery sites for several species of fish. The flowering sea pink creates a wonderful display on the saltmarsh in the spring.

Offshore, harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphins regularly hunt in the Sound of Iona while in deeper waters, basking shark, minke whales, orca and Risso’s dolphins are frequently spotted.

Please read the story of On Sonorous Seas which begins with a whale carcass which came ashore in August 2018 at Traigh an t-Suidhe/Strand of the Seat, on the Isle of Iona.

Atlantic Hazelwood: John Clare
Dark Green Fritillary: John Clare
Greater Butterfly Orchid: John Clare
Lapwing: John Clare
Machair Ardalanish: John Clare
March Fritillary: John Clare
Mountain Hare: John Clare
Northern March Orchid: John Clare
Otter: John Clare
Oystercatcher: John Clare
Red Deer: John Clare
Twite: John Clare

The Ross of Mull is an extraordinary microcosm of all that draws visitors to the Hebridean Islands. The scenery, as you travel along the single-track road from the ferry at Craignure is breath-taking. You experience in the many walks in the area a true sense of wilderness; the secret bays with their beaches of silvery sand, the abundance of wildlife and the innumerable marks on the landscape of the lives of past generations and communities long gone. The Ross of Mull is a compelling place for anyone fascinated by history and the ancient way of life of the Gaelic people.

Contact Us

Ross of Mull Historical Centre
Millbrae Cottage
Isle of Mull
Argyll PA67 6DG

By Phone: 01681 700659
By Email:

Opening Times

Reopening 1st April 2024

Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm


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