Friday Postcards from an Isle of Mull phone booth

 In Europe

Red phone booths are disappearing faster around London than Starbucks can set up a new branch in Seattle. They have their own hashtag on Instagram, are in countless photos of first-timers heading to the England and show up on key chains in every trinket shop in the kingdom. It’s a bit overwhelming how much swag you can get with the red phone booth, and yet you can’t actually find them in many places anymore.

One place you can still find the red phone booth is on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. They aren’t in the most useful places either, at least not for your average traveler. You will find them in towns boasting exactly two houses or along a single lane road with more sheep than human residents. Possibly the best place we found a red phone booth on the Isle of Mull was next to a waterfall. Yes, directly next to a waterfall.

Red-Phone-Booth

We actually knew to look for this particular phone booth before we arrived on the island. It had been featured in the 1947 film I Know Where I’m Going starring Wendy Hiller. The phone booth isn’t exactly on the way to anything. If you are going down the A849 (the southern road that takes you to the Isle of Iona ferry), turn when you see a sign for Carsaig. About 20 minutes or so down the road you will leave the rolling hills and enter a wooded area. On your left you will see the red phone booth next to the waterfall. What you won’t see is a good place to turn around. Down a long drive is a private estate that acts as a B&B, but they don’t want you using their driveway to turn around. Straight ahead and up a hill is a single lane road that can take you down to the water, which would be a lovely drive if you have the time. We did not have the time.

Red-Phone-Booth

Turning around proved to be its own adventure. My dad, who was traveling with me along with my mom and my two boys, had not only mastered driving on the left side of the road, but he is now a certified “turn in under an inch of room on both sides of the car” driver. Not too bad for a grandpa I’d say. It took at least 5 minutes to turn the car around so we could get back to the main road, but we did it.

Was the phone booth worth the detour and painful turning adventure? Yes. It isn’t everyday that someone puts a red phone booth, or any phone booth for that matter, next to a waterfall. The story goes that when they put the phone booth in it was the dry season. No one expected a waterfall to pop up after the snow began to melt in the spring. Wendy Hiller certainly knew when she was being pummeled by rain and getting a few extra bits of water from the waterfall in the movie I’m sure. She lived to tell the tale and so did we.

Would you detour to see a red phone booth in an odd location? 

Red-Phone-Booth

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Friday Postcards

READ FIRST: Welcome to Friday Postcards, a place where I will share a small memory or “postcard” moment from our travels. I hope you will join me too. Link your favorite photo-driven post here if you have a blog so we can share the joys of traveling with each other. If you would like to spread the word, please link back to this post in your own post so others will know where to find a little travel inspiration to end their week. #fridaypostcards

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Keryn Means
Keryn is the founder and editor-in-chief of Walking on Travels, an award-winning site that gives hope to today’s active parents who don’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. Keryn utilizes her project management background, along with a masters degree in journalism and an undergrad degree in photography to the team to create dynamic content and a vision that keeps up with the latest technology and trends. You can find Keryn dragging her 2 boys around the DC area most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram and Pinterest.
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Showing 5 comments
  • Mom
    Reply

    I’m still laughing out loud about this one. You didn’t mention the small line of cars that suddenly appeared from the shore road that patiently waited for you and your father to accomplish this feat! (You directing as Dad turned the car). And I am grateful that while I was willing to drop this side trip from our itinerary, you and your Dad insisted we go. I love this kind of adventure travel with you and the boys!

  • Reply

    What an interesting and unexpected place to find one of these iconic phone booths. I didn’t realize they were being phased out. Too bad, as I would really hope to find one when we’re over there, although probably not motivated enough to try this feat of driving skills. Our family found a few red phone booths in the Great Britain pavillion at EPCOT and managed to cram the entire family of 5 into it.

    • Keryn Means
      Reply

      Have no fear Michele. I think you will always be able to find a red phone booth in the UK. They bring in too much money from tourists who want to see them!

  • Julie Bozarth
    Reply

    we didn’t have time to find this when we went in 2007 but we are finally returning and it’s the one thing i most want to do on mull – find this phone box and get a picture. what i’m wondering, is how you got the picture? is there a lay-by where we can pull over to stop for a picture? thanks for any information!

    • Keryn Means
      Reply

      There isn’t much of a place to pull over or park, BUT the road isn’t frequented very often. We just pulled over as best we could, jumped out to take photos and jumped back in the car. The tricky thing is turning the car around if you don’t want to go all the way to the end of the road. It can be done, but is much easier if you have a small car. If you have the time I’d just go to the end of the road that goes down to the beach (I think). Have a fabulous trip Julie!

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