Iona, like Lindisfarne, is a liminal place; the journey to it is interrupted by a crossing, a disconnection from one land to enter another. In that sense it is ideally suited to pilgrimage, a journey that takes one out of the realm of the everyday to a place of spirituality.

This place holds a strange, inexplicable power, for even after the dissolution of the monastery, its picturesque ruins and its beauty still drew people; it still seemed to possess the spirit of the Columban mission.
It rains much of the time, but in the fleeting moments of respite the island is transformed, bathed in an almost otherworldly glow. The intense greens of the rich machair grass, the bone-white sands edged by emerald greens and azure blues of the surrounding sea. These unusual colours and the long unbroken views can be overwhelming and intense, overloading the senses to then drift away into the smudged haze of drizzle.

My visit timed with the full moon, a ghostly presence, rising to the east of the Island over the slack and silent waters of the sound between Iona and Mull. This is what the Celts called a “thin place” a place where other worlds are more easily accessed, where normal realities and the supernatural blur.