Heading Towards Lockdown
Mull, capricious, at times turbulent and always always changeable. This is an island of light and shade, of brilliance and foreboding often shifting between these extremes within minutes. It is a place that draws you in, holds you and tugs at you as you leave.
A trip up to the north coast of Scotland without a storm or two would not feel right whatever the time of year. We had cause to keep our pop up roof on the VW down on a few occasions on this trip and Gwenda was lifted off her feet during one very gusty walk out to the lighthouse at Strathy Point.
Handa is an island that simply tugs you back. It has it all; a wonderful evocative sense of loneliness (no Skomer hoards here – although it is still possible to get a quiet spot if you walk in the opposite direction to the Wick); a chance to get close to the ‘pirates’ of the bird world; archaeology and ancient history and a landscape of low coastal reefs to seriously imposing 100 metre Torridonian sandstone cliffs.Continue reading
This was a place we found by simply driving to the end of what was possible. We’d been down all the small roads off the road north from Kinlochbervie; Oldshoremore, Droman, the wonderful Bagh a’ Phollain.
I’m currently reading ‘The Nature of Autumn’ by one of our greatest nature writers Jim Crumley, seems apt just now, and came across a small piece about nature’s national flag and Mark Rothko. In my previous post ‘Clarity, Colour and Emptiness’ the last image could easily have accompanied Crumley’s thoughts on, ‘the triple expanses of sand and open sea and open sky’
We walked onto the small stone jetty at Droman, a couple of miles north of Kinlochbervie, and were struck at once by the phenomenal clarity of the water and the breathtaking colours that were refracted through its glass like qualities.
When we last visited Blairmore, hoping to do the walk to Sandwood Bay (map), we were in a spell of dreadful weather, with the wind whipping up the sea and very heavy rain. It would last for seventeen days!!
A little hazy today, but the sea state was good and made for a calm crossing over the Minch to the north west coast of Skye. We made a course to Dunvegan Head and then closely followed the coast past Neist Point towards Macleod’s Maidens, an impressive group of three stacks off Idrigill head. A bit of fishing here, which bought us a good supper of Pollock and Mackerel.
Again the weather was fine and we could cross the Minch to Lochmaddy and the Outer Hebrides, easily. It was flat calm all the way, but too late for a push to St.Kilda. We headed up the north east coast of Skye, past the impressive Mealt falls and Kilt Rock before heading west across the Minch.
Today was our last chance for St.Kilda. If we were going to make it we would need to be at Lochmaddy tonight. The Kylebhan would need eight hours from there to reach the archipelago, an overnight stop and eight hours back. We had wanted time on the island as well, at the very least a day. The weather had cleared but the wind was still south easterly, we could get pinned in Village Bay or worse pushed onto the shore. It wasn’t going to happen.
Our third day and not much progress towards St.Kilda but all enjoying the Inner Hebrides and the uncertainty of where we would be mooring the next night. This evening we found ourselves in one of the remotest places in Scotland, Inverie on Knoydart, only accessible by foot or boat.
Woke up to a very wet day on Rum. Wind speeds were up too out of the shelter of Kinloch Bay. No chance to make a push to Lochmaddy where we would be in a position to make an attempt to reach St. Kilda. If we were going to be sea sick this was the day. Winds pushing towards 5/6 on the Beaufort scale, we were rolled and buffeted but out on deck it was exhilarating.
Just recently returned from five weeks up in the north of Scotland and experienced rain on only 5 days! Whilst we didn’t get anywhere near the contested 33 C recorded in Motherwell on the 28th June (thank goodness) we certainly struck lucky.Continue reading