Pennyghael is less a village than a very thin scattering of habitation along two miles of the southern shore of Loch Scridain. It stretches from about a mile south west of the junction between the A849 through Glen More to Craignure and the B8035 which winds around the north side of Ben More to Salen at one end: to the junction with the minor road across the Ross of Mull to Carsaig at the other.
If one thing connects together the various disparate elements of Pennyghael, it is the magnificent view they share across Loch Scridain (or its marshy upper end) to Ben More. There is nowhere better on Mull apart, perhaps, from the top of Ben More itself, from which to appreciate the way this mountain so often seems to generate its own local weather system, whatever is happening in the rest of Mull or in western Scotland more widely.
If you are driving towards Fionnphort and Iona along the Ross of Mull, the first you see of Pennyghael is the Kinloch Hotel on your left. Next door to it is the Pennyghael Stores, which also serves as a post office. Both look across the main road to the head of the loch, which at this point seems to be largely made up of tidal salt marsh. A wooden boat, far past its sell-by date, drawn up on the lochside suggests that deeper water does, or at least did, occasionally make its way this far up the loch.
A little further on, after losing then regaining the shore of Loch Scridain, the curve of its south shore reveals the second main group of buildings making up Pennyghael, just beyond a stone-arched bridge over the River Leidle. This comprises the Old Smithy B&B, what used to be the village school but which now serves as a community hall, and a few other cottages and houses. As an aside, the school/community hall was built in 1872 to a design produced by the prominent Architect, Robert Rowand Anderson: though it is generally not regarded as being amongst his most notable pieces of work.
A couple of hundred yards before you reach the bridge over the River Leidle, you pass, on your left hand side, the Pennyghael Hotel, which offers cottages as well as traditional hotel accommodation. Half a mile past the minor side road to Carsaig, a stone cross stands on the loch side of the road. This is dated 1582 and commemorates the Beaton family, who for many generations were physicians in the area. Not obvious from the road, but standing about 500m to its south somewhere in Pennyghael, is the abandoned Pennyghael Lodge.
Taking the minor road across the Ross of Mull to Carsaig allows you to experience some fascinating countryside, and the descent down a gap in the 600ft cliffs that line the south coast here is both spectacular and precipitous. What you find when you arrive is a parking space large enough for a few cars, and a track leading down past two fishermen's stores to a stone jetty. In recent times this has been severely attacked by wave action, and parts are in danger of complete collapse.
Nearby Carsaig House is barely visible from the road, but from the jetty it is possible to walk in either direction along this little-known south shore of the Ross of Mull. One track heads east to the road-end at Lochbuie, five miles away. Another, perhaps the most popular, takes you four miles south west along the foot of the cliffs to the magnificent natural rock Carsaig Arches.
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