And this time we go North!

There is no holding us now!  Last week the campervan took us to Scotland.   We have always loved Scotland and Ian in particular has an attachment to walking Scottish hills which for him is not quite replicated anywhere else.  We stayed with friends who have some really great self catering accommodation at Bonawe House in Taynuilt near Oban.  A self catering apartment and evenings round the fire pit sorted out the Covid regulations.  It is a very beautiful place.  Thank you so much to Damon and Renate for your wonderful hospitality and kindness.

We took the foot passenger ferry from near Oban to the island of Kerrera and walked out to Gylen Castle. The castle was built by the Macdougall clan in 1582 but was occupied only until 1647 when it was besieged and burned out by the Covenanters.  It seems a very short time for such a beautifully built and designed place to be lived in.  There has been considerable renovation work in recent years and it is easy to see how people lived.  We found a sheltered spot for lunch where the primroses spilled down towards the sea and ate our sandwiches sitting on a rock under our two big umbrellas.  I have never walked with a rucksack and a golf umbrella before but I recommend it.  

On another day Ian climbed a hill and I did a couple of hours with him before returning to the van for an afternoon of quiet, watching birds, reading, knitting, drinking coffee.  The quiet seeps into your soul.

On another day we took the car ferry to Mull, drove across the island and then caught the passenger ferry to Iona.  Iona is a small and beautiful island, famous as the birthplace of Celtic Christianity following the arrival of St Columba from Ireland in 563.  I have wanted to see Iona for years but it has become a tourist destination (while remaining a religious community and working island) and is hugely visited.

A rainy Wednesday towards the end of lockdown during a global pandemic produced an oddly quiet time  to go, a strange upside to a dark time.  The Abbey was closed to visitors but we wandered around the graveyard and walked up to a beautiful beach.

Coming back we managed to miss the ferry from Mull to Oban by five minutes and had to wait a couple of hours for the next one. Slowly as we waited, an ordinary day transformed into one of those magical evenings on the west coast which Scotland and all of the west can surprise you with, when the sky and the water fill with light.

A couple of days in a campsite in Glencoe rounded off a memorable week and on Saturday we drove home, down and down the country.  It is a long way.  We wanted to get to the building plot in the light to see what had been happening while we were away.  A lot, is the answer.

Double skin walls up to first floor height and steels in place for the large windows which will look up to the hills.  

It was a very good week and it was good to be home again.  That is something I had lost in this great protracted period of staying home because of coronavirus: the pleasure in returning home.  And here in the UK the world is opening up again.  Hospitality businesses are allowed to reopen.  Soon it will be possible to spend time in other people's houses again.  Will be able to travel overseas?  The spectre of the Indian variant hovers.  We do not know.  But for now it feels as if the world has expanded.  How is it for you?


  1. What a wonderful holiday. I have only been to Scotland 3 times, in the late 90s, but parts of it are so very special. I envy you the trip to Iona. I can remember driving home from Stirling to Carms (12 hours it took) and thinking what a long long way it was!

    The new house seems to be coming along very well. When do you hope to be in for?

    We have been venturing forth into the outside world of Antiques Fairs again, and proper shopping, and some bits are better than others! None too keen on very crowded areas yet, despite 2 jabs!

    1. We hope to be in the new house towards the end of next year. Seems a long time at the moment when things are changing almost daily but I guess there is a long way to go! I know what you mean about crowded areas! I would still want to avoid crowds and public transport for a while yet but mixing with people outside is very welcome!

  2. Lynne here....- your account of your Scottish holiday quite took me back to when we lived there and, in more recent times, our holidays on Mull. It seems as if your visit to Iona was more peaceful than ours; we found the large number of visitors detracted rather from the sense of being in such a spiritual and beautiful place. Glad your experience was better.

    We too have ventured forth this week and we’re spending time at a favourite self catering barn near Evesham. This is enabling us to see two branches of our family who live in Oxford and north London more easily, and we’ve already enjoyed two lovely lunches in pubs with very good Covid secure outdoor (and covered and heated!) eating.
    We have plans for a visit to west Wales in mid June and, before that, a stay in our older daughter’s home in south west Manchester to look after their pet rabbits whilst the family are away in Devon. We may look you up......

    1. I did actually feel that an empty Iona was as good as it was going to get. You could see from the infrastructure around the ferry that there must be hordes of people at normal times. If you are in North Wales or environs do let us know. It would be great to see you!

  3. It feels much the same - expanding - that's a good word to describe it. And we can travel abroad - although we have to test and quarantine... which will put most people off I guess... but I'm going regardless in July; I need to for my writing apart from anything else.

    1. We are really hoping to get a feel to France towards the end of August. Feels a bit of a watch this space at the moment! It was very good to spread our wings a little!

    2. Whoops, a trip to France! Damn predictive text.


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