Calgary Bay is located on the north west of Mull about 5 miles beyond Dervaig and 12 miles from the island’s capital Tobermory. It is framed by low hills, partly wooded and is the location of a shimmering white shell sand beach and craggy headlands – home to a rich variety of birdlife and the haunting ruins of stone forts and abandoned villages. The name Calgary comes from the Gaelic, Cala Ghearraidh, meaning Beach of the Meadow.
The main settlement was once at Inivea, above Calgary Pier, which became uninhabited in the early 1800’s during the Highland Clearances. Unfortunately the unscrupulous laird thought he could earn more money by grazing sheep on the land. The settlement of today is scattered around the vicinity of the Calgary Farmhouse and Hotel.
Calgary in Canada takes its name from Calgary on Mull. This was a favourite summer home of Colonel James Macleod, of the Canadian North West Mounted Police. In 1876, after he returned from staying in Calgary Castle (the imposing house overlooking the bay), he suggested its name for Fort Calgary which in turn gave it’s name to the city of Calgary, Alberta.
was built in 1817 by Captain Alan MacAskill who retired here. He built the gothic, gentrified and castellated front part on to the rear quarter which was an 18th century traditional Laird’s house built in the 1780’s.
Calgary Art in Nature
can be found adjacent to the Carthouse Gallery Tearoom. This is a fabulous woodland walk with stunning views of Calgary Bay from the orchid meadow at the top of the woods. Children will love discovering all the sculptures and a map is available for a small donation at the start of the walk.
There is also a Woodland Interpretive Centre, a Carving Studio and the Carthouse Gallery which displays original artwork by local artists. There is lots more information on the Calgary Art in Nature website including a map which can be downloaded and a chainsaw sculpture video. Click here to go to the site.
After taking the stroll out to Calgary Pier, don’t miss the the opportunity to visit the deserted township of Inivea, once home to the crofting ancestors of the last Doctor Who actor David Tennant. Take the path that goes diagonally uphill, just before the pier. It takes about 15 minutes to reach Inivea at the top of the hill and it can be wet underfoot so walking boots are recommended.
There are over 20 ruins and many of the houses are well preserved. The surviving buildings of the township are thought to be of 18th-or early 19th-century date. It is best to leave dogs behind as the ruins are now home to the Highland Cattle.
Go through the gate from the main car park and take the path that heads west along the shore to the old pier.
This small pier, constructed with stone from Iona was originally built to allow “puffers” to deliver coal to the Mornish Estate and was also used to transport sheep to and from the Treshnish Isles for grazing. Note the ruin of the old pier house, set into what looks like a wall but is actually a volcanic basalt dyke.
This is a great place for wildlife spotting, the elusive otter can often be seen in the waters around the pier.
Gaelic word Machair refers to a fertile low-lying coastal plain. The Machair occurs only in the North-West of Britain and Ireland, and it is particularly prominent in the Outer Hebrides. The Machair, here at Calgary on Mull is the span of land from the beaches to the area where sand encroaches on peat bogs further inland. Machair develops over time as calcareous sand is blown inland from the beaches and dunes by strong winds. The flora living on the machair is unique and it owes its origin to traditional grazing of cattle and sheep. The Machair faces threats from erosion resulting from rising Atlantic sea levels, and from the recreational use of beaches so please help by taking care not to damage the vegetation.
This area is a SSSI and is specially protected as it is made up of a special grassland known as machair so please stick to the clearly marked designated area for camping. Calgary Bay is owned by Argyll & Bute Council and is not an official camp site but wild camping is permitted. Wild camping means short stay camping only, a maximum of 2 nights and a local bye-law forbids motor homes and caravans, tents only.
Fires – Please do not gather wood from nearby woodland. Use existing hearths – no fires on the machair. Use driftwood and/or bought wood available locally.
Water – Please note that tap water or burn water is not fit for drinking.
Rubbish – Please clear up after your stay. Where possible, take rubbish away.
Noise – Please respect and consider others. Keep noise down, especially after 10.00pm.
Dogs – Please remember to keep your dog under control.