At the end of last week, myself, The Lovely Fiona and the Hideous Mutt set off for the wonderful isle of Islay on a mission, which we hope will soon come to fruition. While we were there we thought we’d take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and even fresher water.
We had decided to camp by the lovely beach at Sanaigmore – see pic above – on the island’s Atlantic coast, but before we embarked on our top secret mission we thought we ought to have a wee dip in the aforementioned ocean. There’s a very fine and sheltered bay just along the coast called Port Ghille Greamhair that’s ideal for a skinny dip.
When we arrived above the bay, a huge grey seal was lounging around in the shallows, but it swiftly buggered off when confronted by two naked middle-aged loons and their Labrador crashing into the icy waters of the bay. It was bloody freezing and I could only stand a minute before removing myself swiftly to the beach once more. Fiona and Dougal were having a whale of a time though, careening back and forth across the bay exhibiting a fine display of multifarious swimming strokes, well, breast stroke and doggy paddle anyhow. How that Labrador learned breast stroke I’ll never know.
Much invigorated, we set off on our mission, returning several hours later to set up camp. The forecast was not good, but thus far the evening was very pleasant and we cooked venison burgers on the trangia, which we washed down with a bouteille of Chateau Poop du Naff. Very pleasant. A sunset would have been nice, but as often happens, the Hebridean evening sky built itself up to an impending pyrotechnic display of oranges, reds and purples only to fizzle out in a damp, smoky grey squib.
Anyhow, here’s some teaser pics of writesofways new bomb proof tent. If you can guess the make and model, Mr Alan Sloman, there’ll be a prize in the post!
After a blissful night’s sleep, we woke early to the steady patter of rain on the fly sheet. Heavy rain was forecast for the day so, seeing as it seemed to have arrived, we decided to abandon our plans to walk out from Bunnahabhain and camp beyond Rhuvaal Lighthouse on the north-west coast in favour of heading along the sound of Islay to the shelter of An Cladach (only the one ‘d’, James, Armin) bothy instead. Decision made, we drove off to Dunlossit. By the time we arrived, the rain had gone off. Hmm. The forecast had been bad so surely the weather would soon take another turn for the worse?
Unfortunately, the weather only seemed to improve, which was rather annoying, especially as I had waterproof trews on. Bah!
Dougal was particularly enjoying the walk along the shore as it presented opportunities to roll in a very dead seal – yeuuchh! – and scoff a gannet’s head. Removing said item from Labrador’s mouth was made all the more unpleasant owing to the bird’s recent demise.
Various other body parts and poos of a variety of avia and fauna were also enjoyed by the hideous mutt before we arrived at the bothy. Once there, we got a brew on and Dougal took the opportunity to practice his thermarest surfing technique.
As the weather had continued to improve, Dougal and I went for a saunter along the shore while The Lovely Fiona stayed home and painted her toenails.
It wasn’t long before Dougal had found a sun-dried dogfish to eat, boy did he enjoy that!
The only problem being that he then walked round for the next few days going ‘hack, hack, hack’ every few minutes, presumably because of a bone stuck in his throat. That’ll learn him. Not.
During our 24-hour stay at An Cladach, we were impressed by the number of CalMac ferries steaming (so to speak) up and down the sound. Here’s the new MV Finlaggan coping admirably with that pesky incline.
The Finlaggan is registered to Glasgow, but was built in Gdansk. The Clyde shipyards were once the world’s pre-eminent shipbuilding centre…
The evening turned out lovely. So much for the doomy gloomy forecast. A pleasant evening was spent around the fire, munching further venison burgers and drinking litres of tea.
As night fell, so the wind picked up. By morning it was a very wet and windy scenario outside the bothy. Dougal was not impressed.
We eventually braved the outdoors and went for another wander along the shore, it was then that Dougal made another tasty discovery. This one was so much worse than seal, gannet or dogfish though. It really was quite bad. So much so that I was prompted to leave a note in the bothy book:
Do not poo upon the shore,
But walk 100 yards or more,
Then saunter carefully into the bog,
And leave it there,
Your morning log.
That dog will eat anything.