‘Iona is the Mecca of the Gael.’ So wrote Fiona Macleod, the great eulogist for the Isle of Iona. ‘To tell the story of Iona is to go back to God, and to end in God’ she continued. It is a real pilgrimage to travel to Iona, to the port of Oban, ferry to Mull, bus across Mull, the small ferry across the Sound of Iona approaching the restored Abbey and the small white houses.
Nothing prepares you for the enchantment of this small island, geologically different from anything else around it, mysteriously old gneiss (3 to 4 billion years old). Tales of Columcille (St.Columba), St.Oran, the Abbey and the Nunnery abound; the coming of Christianity to Scotland. Yet there is something deeper and older here re-born in the twentieth century. Wellesley Tudor Pole, followed by George MacLeod and the Iona Community did much to re-kindle the beacon on Iona and today the island is a thriving pilgrim centre. To visit Iona is to immerse oneself in the atmosphere of ancient purity and to meditate or retreat on Iona is to plug oneself into the holy currents of Albion.
Location: A small island off the isle of Mull in the western isles of Scotland. Accessed by passenger ferry from Fionnphort, Mull.
Coordinates: 56.33°N 6.42°W
Photo credit: Kevin Redpath