Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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Matthew Barker went to Mull
where IKWIG was filmed,
in June/July 2004
Well here I am back fresh from Mull - several sizes smaller! I shrank in all the rain. It was incredibly wet, but loved it all the same - gave a teeny bit more atmosphere to the place than it already has.
We actually followed Joan up the country (by car not by train) starting in Manchester, and stopping off in Glasgow for the night. We then pootled slowly up to Oban, and got the ferry over to Mull in the afternoon. This was actually a lovely hot day, so we sat up on the deck of Isle of Mull watching the fabulous scenery, and basking in the sun. I got very excited when Duart Castle (Castle of Sorne) swam by just like in the film - even better than the back projection!!!
We landed at Craignure, which was to be our base for the days we were staying there. Torosay Castle (Rebecca Croizier's Achnacroisch) is a mile or so walk from Craignure, and was one of few hot and sunny days. The house is splendid, but the gardens are amazing - some very bizarre statuary, and they make a mean fruit loaf in the little tea shop. If you ever go Steve, you will have to take a notebook and pen. Torosay has a room which contains three huge scrapbooks of photos, letters, and newspaper cuttings. They are vaguely in chronological order, and I managed to find a couple of pages about the filming of IKWIG. They even had the original letter from the Archers to the owners of Torosay asking them if they could use the castle as a location!
We had a morning at Tobermory - particularly wet, and managed to bump into the filming of Balamory near the ferry dock. I have never seen the programme, so all I can say to the fans is that there was a policeman there, and a girl dressed in yellow. The town is lovely, and yes it is really that multicoloured. We had a quick look round the museum, and a longer look and tipple at the Tobermory distillery. Then it was off for lunch at the Western Isles Hotel - in the conservatory, not THE dining room. I was surprised how well the set designers copied the entrance lobby - it is the same apart from the reception booth not being there. Joan would have been pleased as they still serve Dubonnet and gin. The lobby had a lovely poster for IKWIG over the fireplace, and some stills from the film.
We had another morning on Iona, wandering around the abbey and grounds. We had a good source for teashop information each morning at there were two scots ladies stay where we were staying, and we would tell them where we were going that day, and they would tell us where the best teashops were. We also had a running joke about the weather. After Iona we went up to Duart Castle (Castle of Sorne) home of the patronising family Robinson in IKWIG. Beautiful place which was a ruin until the start of the last century. Again the set designers for IKWIG must be congratulated for their accuracy. The great hall is just like in the film (apart from relocating the fireplace), even down to the little staircase where Martin asks for the evening off. You get a grand view from the battlements.
We had an afternoon at Carsaig (Erraig) which involved me phoning Sarah at work on the telephone - I think she was more excited than I was! Because of all the rain, the waterfall next to the phone was a fair torrent. The jetty at Carsaig was a sorry sight with half of it fallen away. It is shame really that nothing seems to be done about it. I smiled as we passed some holiday cottages - you applied to a Catriona MacClean to rent them!
On other days we did a circuit each of the north and south sections of the island which was stunning. Whole thing is thoroughly recommended.
Other P&P trips