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The Isle of Mull or simply Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute.
With an area of 875.35 square kilometres (337.97 sq mi) Mull is the fourth largest Scottish island and the fourth largest island surrounding Great Britain. In the 2001 census the usual resident population of Mull was 2,667; in the summer this is supplemented by many more tourists. Much of the population lives in Tobermory, the only burgh on the island until 1973, and its capital.
Mull has been inhabited since around 6000 BC. Bronze Age inhabitants built menhirs, brochs and a stone circle.
In the 14th century Mull became part of the Lordship of the Isles. After the collapse of the Lordship in 1493 the island was taken over by the clan MacLean, and in 1681 by the clan Campbell.
In 1588 one of the ships of the Spanish Armada, Florenica, was moored in Tobermory Bay and blown up there, reputedly with £300,000 of gold bullion on board. In 1773 this island was also visited by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell during their famous Tour of the Western Islands.
During the Highland Clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries, the population fell from 10,000 to less than 4000.
Mull boasts such historic buildings as Duart Castle and Torosay Castle, both open to the public from Easter to September. The mausoleum of Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1809 to 1822, may be found in the village of Gruline on the island (Macquarie had been born on the nearby island of Ulva).
There is one secondary school on the island and several primary schools. Pupils from the south-western tip of the island (from Bunessan to Fionnphort) attend Oban High School and board Monday to Thursday in Oban. The rest of the island attend secondary at Tobermory High School
Mull has a coastline of 480 kilometres (300 mi) and its climate is moderated by the Gulf Stream. The island has a mountaineous core, the highest peak on the island being Ben More, which reaches 966 metres (3,170 ft). Various peninsulas, which are predominantly moorland, radiate from the centre.
The Aros peninsula to the north includes the main town of Tobermory, which was a burgh until 1973 when burghs were abolished. Other settlements include Salen and Calgary. The Ross of Mull lies to the south west and includes the villages of Bunessan, Pennyghael, Uisken and Fionnphort. Lochbuie, Lochdon and Craignure lie to the east.
Numerous islands lie off the west coast of Mull, including Erraid, Iona and Ulva. Smaller uninhabited islands include Eorsa, Gometra, Inch Kenneth, Little Colonsay, the Treshnish Isles and Staffa of Fingal's Cave fame. Calve Island is an uninhabited island in Tobermory Bay. Two outlying rock lighthouses are also visible from the south west of Mull, Dubh Artach and Skerryvore. The Torran Rocks are a large shoal of reefs, islets and skerries, approximately 15 square miles (39 km2) in extent, located two miles (3 km) to the south west, between the Ross of Mull peninsula and Dubh Artach.
Ferry links to Mull from the mainland include Oban to Craignure (approx. 45 minutes), Kilchoan to Tobermory and Lochaline to Fishnish (approx. 15 minutes, suspended in rough weather). Although advanced bookings are not required for the Fishnish ferry it is a further drive north over single-track roads.
There are ferry links from Mull from Fionnphort to the neighbouring island of Iona and from Oskamull to Ulva. In past years there were direct sailings to Oban (calling at Drimnin, Salen, Lochaline and Craignure), and Barra, Coll and Tiree from Tobermory. During the summer there was also a sailing to Staffa and Iona from Oban which called at Tobermory.
The Isle of Mull Railway runs from Craignure to Torosay Castle.
It is possible to fly to Mull in a private light aircraft using a landing strip near Salen.