The most isolated cappuccino in the UK, I presume? – Coffee on the Isle of Lismore

There are more species of wild flower living on Lismore than there are human beings, but they are still lucky enough to have a fantastic café.

It’s a beautiful place, Lismore. The name means “The Great Garden” in Gaelic, apparently, so the thing about wild flowers (200+ types) is rather appropriate. By the end of the day there, I must have met about half the 183 islanders, though I didn’t see the bump who will probably be Number 184 by the time our next book sees the light of day.

Lismore Ferry from Port Appin

I opted for the cute little 10-minute ferry ride across from Port Appin to the island, though this means a three mile hike to get to the Cathedral (well, parish church these days) or the café.

Or, rather, it would have if I hadn’t met Bob, the husband of the local primary school teacher (8 kids currently!), who was driving into the middle of the island (you can’t say ‘village’ or ‘town centre’ because there isn’t one…).

Since the café doesn’t open till 11am, my first port of call was the ex-cathedral of St Moluag. A lovely little place that was once more than twice the size (though it suffered like many places in the Reformation and beyond).

Lismore Cathedral

It’s in the church – and its cemetery – that you gradually become aware of the predominance of certain family names round here. Carmichaels, Livingstones and Blacks are the backbone of the island, and they are still around today.

Lismore Cathedral graveyard

A Mr Black is the island Elder; a Mrs Livingstone is on the board of the heritage museum…

In fact, the woman who runs the Isle of Lismore Café is herself from Livingstone stock, so it’s probably a relative of hers who today has possession of the original bishop’s staff from Lismore. Well, it’s a Livingstone, I presume…

The café is a delightful place. Actually built only a few years ago after another family – the McGregors – donated the land for public use, it has a wonderful verandah looking out over the hills. And if you’re really lucky, the sun might shine and you can sit out there sipping your coffee or tea, reflecting on whether this is the most isolated cappuccino you’ll get in the UK…

Views from the Isle of Lismore Café

The cakes are the best thing here, though. Baked on-site, they’re made with as many local ingredients as possible: I had the berry crumble, with fruit picked this week from a local market garden on the island.

Tea and berry crumble at Isle of Lismore Café

After all that, you’ll be ready for the hike back to the ferry port. If the weather’s fine, it’s a wonderful 3-mile walk past sheep, hills, views of the sea and other islands beyond. If it rains, you’ll really wish you’d brought your rain-proof clothing.

Views En route to the Port Appin - Isle of Lismore Ferry

But if you’re really organised, you’ll have got yourself a bike for hire. There’s barely a car on the road so it’s perfectly safe, and the climbs are very gradual. Next time I go I’ll be hiring from Port Appin and taking the bike onto the ferry over.

Oh, and if you time your visit right, you’ll get the joys of the annual scarecrow competition. There’ll be more on that in the video, coming up soon…

Video: Isolated coffee on the Isle of Lismore

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5 Responses to The most isolated cappuccino in the UK, I presume? – Coffee on the Isle of Lismore

  1. It certainly looks like a beautiful area!

    • admin says:

      It is surely one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets. All the international tourists head for the better-known western isles, but Lismore is really a quietly shining gem.

      • Alan & Tina says:

        We lived on the island for 3 years but had to leave due to an impending rent increase which we could not afford.We left some good friends behind and we miss them and the island dearly.
        A fantastic place and very special.

  2. Chris Freeman says:

    Wonderfully presented video of our island …and the music well its superb…it is a special place,one of lovely people and tranquility …..Best wishes

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