Across Iona to the Bay at the Back of the Ocean

13 thoughts on “Across Iona to the Bay at the Back of the Ocean”

  1. I have really enjoyed you posts from Mull, such beautiful pictures and interesting histories! I would love to set out for a walk on these beaches!

    Could you tell me who Thomas A Clark is? Are his poems written to this landscape?

    1. He’s a Scottish poet whose poetry ‘has been consistently attentive to form and to the experience of walking in the landscape, returning again and again to the lonely terrain of the Highlands and Islands’ (Scottish Poetry Library page, which has a brief bio and some poems: I guess some of these poems are inspired by the landscape around Pittenweem on the east coast where he now lives and works, but their beauty is that they speak of many places, outdoors, walking. As far as I’m aware he’s published three books: Distance and Proximity (Pocketbooks) which contains his famous prose-poem ‘In Praise of Walking’ (now out of print and going for ferocious second-hand prices on Amazon), The Path to the Sea, and The Hundred Thousand Places (the latter two both in print and available on Amazon). I hope that’s helpful. Thanks for commenting – I’m glad you have enjoyed the Mull posts – there’s still one more to come!

      1. No problem! Your blog looks interesting, too. I’ve started following it, and look forward to following your expeditions into nature writing and reading.

  2. Gerry, I think you’d enjoy Adam Nicholson’s evocative and well-researched book “Sea Room,” which he wrote about the Shiant Islands (northwest of Mull).

  3. Is there a building somewhere, or an object, made from the green marble? I’d like to see a photo of it. This was a lovely post, and I definitely felt the magic of the Bay at the Back of the Ocean.

    1. Not buildings, Vicki, but ‘Since the 18th century small polished pieces of Iona Marble have been much prized by both collectors and jewellers. During the Victorian era especially, when Scottish jewellery became very fashionable due to Queen Victoria’s visits to and interest in the Highlands and Islands, jewellers made brooches and pendants incorporating polished sections of the green and white stone.’ (

  4. What a lovely thing to find on my computer while reading an email from a friend.
    I have spent several months on Iona and love it intensely.It really is an amazing place and if anyone reading your writing should feel like going, they should!
    Iona is called ‘a thin place’ – where this world and spirit world are very close.At the physical level the white sandy beaches are wonderful and the corncrakes in the spring are delighful, if you can see them! At the spiritual and emotional level Iona will bring you a balm and a peace.
    Many thanks.

    1. Thanks, Christina. I’m glad to have brought a bit of pleasure to the day! I would like to return in the spring – I bet it is lovely at that time of year.

  5. Wow, Iona. Will always have a special place in my heart. This is where I met my wife 5 years ago. We haven’t been back yet, but your post sure makes me want to!

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