©Barry Turner 2001
'Sàilean Dubh Chaluim Chille' (The Little Little Black Bay of St Columba).
This village is located on halfway along the east coast of Mull and overlooks Salen Bay and the Sound of Mull.
Salen is approached from the north via the A848 from Tobermory and from the south via the A849 from Craignure.
Branching off to the south west is the B8035 which takes you to the south shores of Loch na Keal and on to Gribun and Loch Scridain. At Gruline, west of Salen, the B8073 branches off to the right and follows the north shores of Loch na Keal past Killiechronan, Ulva, Eas Fors and on to either Dervaig or Calgary.
The village of Salen is a very good central point from which to explore the Isle of Mull. There is a very good Spa shop here, public toilets, fuel and both self-catering and Bed and Breakfast accommodation can be found.
The village did not develop until the early 1800’s but a settlement was established long before that with St Columba having preached there in the late 500’s.
Aros Castle, standing on a headland overlooking Salen Bay is said to have been the base for the Lords of the Isles.
Salen Bay is home to ‘The Three Ladies’. Abandoned trawlers, the Ladies have been moored on the shores of Salen Bay for many years and they are now in very poor condition and unlikely to ever sail again. The boats have probably been photographed more than any other vessels in Scotland and have always added character and charm to Salen Bay and the island itself.
Located at Rubha Mòr point is the now privately owned former ferry pier. This has been completely renovated in recent years and holiday self-catering accommodation can be found here.
Salen was the a steamer destination for visitors to Mull before being moved south to the current terminal at Craignure in 1964 to accommodate larger vessels.
To the west of this pier are the remains of an older pier with a dozen or so remaining timber uprights used by resting and roosting Cormorants and Gulls.
Salen Bay is a haven for birdlife with many species resident, visiting and foraging. Unfortunately there are only two or three places where vehicles can be parked off-road along the bay. The road here is extremely busy at all times and stopping on the carriageway to watch wildlife will be both difficult and unpopular with passing traffic.
Some years ago the Bay was home to several Otter families but now they are not seen so frequently. This said Otters may cross the road without warning in front of you.
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