That's what you do when you've planned a holiday in Scotland – and one that's on the west coast, no less. But in a bizarre freak of nature – which is what the Met Office call it – we are dealt a week of sunshine and record-breaking temperatures this spring. We can't believe our luck.
And so it is under a strong midday sun that we stand at the pier in Oban waiting for the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Mull to begin our week-long tour of the west coast. The trip is a first for my partner and I – something we have always yearned to do – and it has been meticulously planned.
Cars gather for the ferry, with dogs hanging out of car windows and people stepping out to stretch their legs before the 45-minute crossing. We head to The Waterfront Restaurant's open kitchen at the pier. A sandwich board advertises hot scallops in butter for £6.95 – along with a tempting array of fresh seafood – but we opt for prawn sandwiches, which are delicious.
Even in early spring (off-season for the tourist industry), the ferry's passengers feature a mix of nationalities – in addition to locals and day-trippers – and the odd French and Spanish voice can be heard. The top deck is teeming as people jostle for a seat in the sun.
On arrival in Mull, we head to Fishnish Bay, just 10 minutes from the port at Craignure, to our self-catering accommodation, Clover Cottage. Here, Geoff and Gulmira Small have built two cottages next door to their house, with views to the sea on one side and a garden on the other. It's ideal for families as, even on rainy days, youngsters can be occupied in the shared, purpose-built "observatory," which houses a child-friendly biology lab complete with microscopes, wall charts and books.
There's a stock of equipment to allow kids to get creative with their finds from the beach by turning shells and driftwood into arts and crafts, and there are wildlife cameras set up outdoors – one underwater, one on the hillside – which you can watch inside the observatory.
Tobermory, the setting for the children's programme Balamory, is just 20 minutes up the road. We head there along the coast, past rusted, abandoned boats on the shore, before passing through the small village of Salen.
In Tobermory, the town's signature coloured buildings curve around the bay and there's an atmosphere that, were we in a city, would be described as a buzz. It's a charming town and, resisting the temptation to join the queue at the fish 'n' chip van, we peruse the shops – including the delightful Mull Soap Company – and stop for a drink at The Mishnish hotel.
The plan for the next day is to see as much of Mull as possible, and we set off on a scenic circular drive of the southern part of the island. There's not a cloud in the sky and each section of road offers up something new to see, as stretches of forest segue into barren peaty moor ground below high mountain peaks.
Soon, we come to Loch na Keal, emerging onto a road just feet from the sea as we continue on around the coastal cliffs on the north of the Ardmeanach peninsula.
As we head inland through Glen More, we stop for a break to take in a view of three small, isolated lochans. With the roads so quiet, it's a moment of peace. We both agree we could sit there, in the sun, for hours.
After stopping for an al fresco lunch at a pub in Craignure, we join the main road that, once again, takes us straight up the middle of the island – only this time, we take a right at Loch na Keal and head north, taking in views of the islands of Staffa and Ulva, which is just a stone's throw off Mull's coast.
With hillscapes to our right and sparkling sea to our left, we continue, first uphill then downhill, as we follow the road to the north of the island to make our way to Calgary Bay and its white sandy beach, which is widely regarded as the best on the island. The approach is breathtaking – today, the sea is the colour of Mediterranean blue – and, once parked, we make our way over the dunes. We envy the German tourists who are barbecuing but don't know whether to admire or worry about the few hardy souls who are braving the chilly sea temperatures.
It is at a spot just above Calgary that former Doctor Who actor David Tennant discovered his ancestors lived as tenant farmers until they were driven off their crofts during the Highland Clearances. One imagines it would have been a hard place to leave.
After a long barefoot walk on the beach, the sun sets as we head off to continue rounding the island, past the village of Dervaig, on the narrow and twisty track to Tobermory. After only 24 hours on the island, we're well-versed in driving single-track roads, something that will stand us in good stead as we continue our trip.
For more information on Clover Cottage, check www.isleofmullcottages.com or call 01680 812 536