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.