"Part way across came one of those moments when the beauty of Scotland was stamped indelibly on my mind."
Sometimes everything comes together in one truly magical moment. For me it was about 20 years ago, a weekend trip to visit friends in Arisaig.
Late Saturday afternoon news came that Muck had won the Island Games and that an impromptu barn dance was being organised to celebrate. A boat was found from somewhere and a couple of dozen Arisaigians (is that the term?) plus ourselves and several others found ourselves on an unexpected trip across to Muck.
The barn dance was a huge success. We drank an enormous amount of beer and whisky, danced jigs and reels with complete strangers and generally had a grand old time. The party ended when everyone had fallen asleep or passed out.
Six o’clock on Sunday morning we were woken to the sound of bagpipes. Bodies sprawled all over the barn came slowly to life, or at least a semblance of life. Led by the Pied Piper of Muck we trooped the mile or so back across the island to where our boat home awaited.
I’m not a great sailor at the best of times, and with the added issue of a huge hangover I really wasn’t looking forward to the trip. Part way across however came one of those moments when the beauty of Scotland was stamped indelibly on my mind.
A flat calm sea, beautiful warm sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, piper at the bow of the boat playing a soft lament, when the captain suddenly cut the engines. As we drifted in the glorious landscape, mountains in the distance, to one side of the boat a school of porpoises began jumping, while on the other a minke whale came to the surface a couple of times. I didn’t have a camera with me, but didn’t need one.
It’s a scene I’ll never forget. I’ve had many wonderful moments amongst the hills, glens and lochs of Scotland, but this was up there with the best of them. Oh, and I survived the rest of the trip without being sick, so a double bonus!
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