Saturday, July 24


"To try to explain this event is not the way; this is not the time for trying to explain something of this order." Understanding might emerge; but the way to understanding in this case is to hold the pain with those who have suffered so much. The function of compassion is the holding of the pain. It is that faculty or dimension within ourselves that is able to hold pain without judgement, even without being able to explain anything at all".

Thoughts of a Buddhist monk called Munindo, who is based in Northumberland.

Monday, July 5

Eynsham Carnival 2010

An absolutely fab day..still exhausted!

Revolting rats (and mice)

An Evenlode DIY classic!

My lovely Dad

The best bit about the trip was spending time with my Pa...

...who really is having the time of his life.

Gracious Heavens

No, not the Islay S&M club meeting - this is Roy, who donned scuba gear (for the first time) to check under his boat.

Kilnave Cross

On the left hand side of Loch Griunart, is the ruined chapel at Kilnave, which has another beautiful Celtic cross. I loved the contrast in texture between the chapel and the cross.

Sharp edges here...

...softness of the weathered cross...

...which is amazingly thin.

The Sound of Islay

On our second day, we went up to Port Askaig. From there we had a great view across the Sound of Islay to Jura.

Dad wasn't too keen on the anchorage here...

...and the tide race looked quite 'interesting'.

No wonder they keep the life boat here.

It's not far from there up to Bunnahabhain, which is lovely, but the edge of nowhere.

A lovely, lovely spot in fact...

...with a hill that screams out "climb me"!

Sunday, July 4


Sometimes you just happen across a place. Thanks to Hamish Haswell-Smith we went decided to visit Finlaggan, the cradle of the Clan Donald, the Lords of the Isles.

In Loch Finlaggan are three artificial islands. You can walk to Eilean Mor (large island) - in the past there would have been a causeway to Eilean na Comhairle (the council island), where the Lord of the Isles would have been installed.

The 'interpretation centre' was extremely good, I especially liked the reception desk in the shape of a Viking long ship.

There were lots of lovely finds, including this Christ, a pilgrim badge from Rome, and a delicate buckle from a dog collar.

Walking out across the walkway gave us a good look at the flora & fauna of the peat bog at the loch edge.

Bog myrtle (I think)...

...water lilies...
...and ragged robin.

With views over to the 'Paps of Jura', this was a unique & magical place.

Port Charlotte & back

We had an amble down to Port Charlotte and back...

...we saw lots of sheep...

...this rather nice lighthouse...

...this bluestone grave stone...

...and the memorial to a Sunderland crew who died during WW2.

And ALPACAs! Not what I expected.


The 'metropolis' of Bowmore is a bonny town. The tale is that the church is round 'so there's nowhere for the devil to hide'.

Not a great deal of space for visiting yachts here.

Obligatory distillery photo.

I assume that this boat rushes you to the airport.

Not sure why this pair of shoes was at the top of the stairs leading to what seemed to be an uninhabited building.

Machrie Golf Links

As a self confessed GHH (golf hating harridan), you might think that I'd avoid the Machrie, for all it's an iconic links course. However, my Pa and I popped in to pick up a little something for Adam.
We were most intrigued by this little stone circle on the putting green? Dad suggested it might be the tomb of the unknown golfer.

Kildalton Cross

Aided by by Hamish Haswell-Smith's excellent book on the Scottish islands, we decided to make our way to see the Kildalton Cross. On the way we spotted this yacht, which had found a nice little anchorage.

The bluestone cross dates from the 8th century, and it beautifully detailed.

It's thought that the artist is from Iona, as it looks like it's by the same hand as three crosses found there.

The metalwork like (OK that's not good English) bosses are fabulous...

...but I was most taken with this Mother and child, quite lovely.

For Virginia

Found this little number outside the Lagavulin distillery.

Gigging - Port Ellen style

On our first evening in Port Ellen we heard a rhymthic clunking noise. I went up on deck to see this four person gig coming in. This was a ladies' crew...

...the next day the mens' team was out.

I was amused to see that the boats were called 'Isis I' and 'Isis II'. Interestingly, although at first glance they look like traditional clinker built boats, they're made from moulded plastic.

Friday, July 2

Port Ellen

We motored over to Port Ellen on Islay in very overcast conditions.

However it brightened up a bit later...

...which meant we could see where we were more moored, and have a wander round town.

I loved this garden - clearly the owner has a great sense of humour.

Islay v the Mainland...all of it?

We posted a few cards...

...and had a few drinks. One of the locals, Keith, bought us round after round of drinks. As it was his birthday, we really should have been buying for him, but he was faster at getting the barmaid's attention!

Time to relax...

...and watch the sun go down...

...and maybe a bit of blogging!