Tobermory, Mull

Tobermory, Mull

infobox UK place
country = Scotland
official_name= Tobermory
gaelic_name= Tobar Mhoire
population= 700 (approx.)
os_grid_reference= NM5055
latitude= 56.62
longitude= -6.07
unitary_scotland= Argyll and Bute
lieutenancy_scotland= Argyll and Bute
constituency_westminster= Argyll and Bute
constituency_scottish_parliament= Argyll and Bute
post_town= ISLE OF MULL
postcode_district = PA75
postcode_area= PA
dial_code= 01688

static_image_caption=The colourful houses and buidlings which line the harbour in Tobermory

Tobermory (Scottish Gaelic: "Tobar Mhoire") is the capital of, and the only burgh on, the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. It is located in the northeastern part of the island, near the northern entrance of the Sound of Mull. With a current population of approximately 700, the town was founded as a fishing port in 1788, its layout based on the designs of Dumfriesshire engineer Thomas Telford.

200 years earlier, in 1588, one of the ships returning to Spain as part of the retreating Spanish Armada, the "San Juan de Sicilia"cite web | year=2002 | url= | title=British Archaeology Magazine - Guns of the Armada - Colin Martin | accessdate=2008-07-29] , blew up and sank in what is now the town's harbour, local legend has it that this was the work of the witch Dòideag. During World War II, Tobermory was home to Royal Navy training base HMS "Western Isles" under the command of the legendary Commodore (later Vice Admiral) Sir Gilbert Stephenson. The so-called "Terror of Tobermory"'s biography was written by broadcaster Richard Baker, who trained under him [cite book |title=The Terror of Tobermory: Vice-Admiral Sir Gilbert Stephenson, KBE, CB, CMG |last=Baker |first=Richard |authorlink=Richard Baker (broadcaster) |coauthors= |year=1972 |publisher=W.H. Allen|location= |isbn=978-1841581972 |pages=196 ] [cite book | title=The Terror of Tobermory|first=Richard|last=Baker|year=2005|publisher=Birlinn|location= Edinburgh|ISBN=978-1843410232 Paperback edition of the above biography of Vice Admiral Sir Gilbert Stephenson KBE CB CMG and history of HMS Western Isles ] .

The visit of the composer Felix Mendelssohn in 1829, en route to Staffa, is commemorated in the annual "Mendelssohn on Mull Festival" in early July [] . Other highlights of the town's calendar include an annual Traditional Music Festival held on the last weekend in April, celebrating Gaelic folk music, the "Mull Fiddler's Rally" in September and the traditional Mull Highland Games held every summer.

Many of the buildings on Main Street, predominantly shops and restaurants, are painted in assorted bright colours, making it a popular location for television programmes, such as children's show "Balamory". The burgh boasts the Mull Museum, the Tobermory Scotch whisky distillery, the Isle of Mull Brewery, and An Tobar, an arts centre, while the Clock Tower on the harbour wall is a noted landmark.

Tobermory's many famous sons and daughters include Duncan MacGilp and Janet MacDonald, both past Gold Medal winners at Scotland's Royal National Mod. Three generations of the town's MacIntyre family have achieved eminence: Colin MacIntyre is a singer songwriter best known for his now-defunct band Mull Historical Society. Colin's brother is BBC Scotland Sport's Kenny MacIntyre, his late father, also called Kenny, was BBC Scotland Political Correspondent while his grandfather was the so-called "Bard of Mull", poet Angus MacIntyre. The late accordionist Bobby McLeod lived in the town from his birth in 1925 until his death in 1991, and owned the "Mishnish Hotel", which is still in the family.

Another Tobermory native was Donald McLean (1805-1864) , who emigrated to Canada before he was twenty and became a fur trader and explorer for the Hudson's Bay Company in the New Caledonia and Columbia Department fur districts, rising to the position of Chief Trader at Thompson's River Post (Fort Kamloops) in the then-Colony of British Columbia. He was the last casualty of the Chilcotin War of 1864; his halfbreed sons were known as the "Wild McLean Boys" and were tried and hanged for murder. [ [ "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online" entry "Donald McLean"] ]

The fictional town of Torbay in Alistair MacLean's novel "When Eight Bells Toll" was based on Tobermory, and much of the 1971 movie was filmed in the town and other parts of Mull. The writer Saki gave the name to a talking cat in one of his most famous short stories and two well-loved children's TV series have made use of the town's name. Elizabeth Beresford called one of the Wombles "Tobermory" and, more recently, the town played host to its almost-namesake Balamory for 3 years (2002-2005). Other films made in the area include the 1945 Powell & Pressburger classic I Know Where I'm Going!, whose locations included the magnificent "Western Isles Hotel".


The name "Tobermory" is derived from the Gaelic "Tobar Mhoire", meaning "Mary's well".cite web | publisher=Ordnance Survey | year=Nov 2005 | url= | title=Guide to Gaelic origins of place names in Britain |format=PDF format | accessdate=2006-09-01] cite web | year=2003 | url= | title=A Guide to the Meaning of Gaelic Distillery Names | accessdate=2006-09-01] The name refers to a well located nearby which was dedicated in ancient times to the Virgin Mary. [Samuel Lewis (1846), "" pp. 526-46. From the Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 1 September 2006.]


Ferries sail between Tobermory and the mainland to Kilchoan on the peninsula of Ardnamurchan.

In addition a new seaplane service, operated by Loch Lomond Seaplanes is due to start from Tobermory to Glasgow city centre's Seaplane Terminal in 2008.



External links

* [ All about Tobermory]
* [,-4.064941&sspn=9.832376,16.171875&ie=UTF8&ll=56.623754,-6.069946&spn=0.571907,1.010742&z=10 Tobermory on Google Maps]

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