Friday, 13 May 2011

Nearly Failling, Nearly Vomiting, and Nearly Staying!!!!

Day Six already of the Scotland adventure! Like a man who has had a herb stolen, I'm wondering where the Thyme has gone.

Like most of the days on this holiday, today started with breakfast - but without a plan. The subject of taking a boat ride to one of the islands off the West coast of Scotland and doing a walk there was discussed, all without anyone preparing to leave. Finally, we agreed to do this boat trip/walk combo - but realised that the boat left at in an hour, and we were an hour away.

We rushed to get ready and leave. It was Ben, myself and Cain in Ben's car, and Leigh, Jim and Jack in Jim's car. With one eye on the time, and another on the Sat Nav it was a miracle that Ben didn't crash the car. Mind you, the fact that we were stuck behind the slowest drivers in the world meant that we couldn't go as fast as we wanted. Time was ticking by (as it does), as we got closer to our objective. For a while, we had a relatively clear road and our hopes were raised slightly as we started to make up good time. However, this good fortune appeared short lived as for the last 10 miles we were stuck behind a car whose driver seemed intent on counting the individual leaves on the trees as he drove past. We had phoned the ferry port ahead to say that we might get there bang on sailing time, and could they hold the boat for us. Even so, it was not looking good.

At 10:57am we arrived at the ferry port. Ben slowed to a comfortable 40 miles per hour and did and handbrake turn. As the car spun round, I opened my passenger door and did a commando roll out onto the gravel. I finished upright, outside the door to the ticket office. I pushed the door open and ran inside. Seconds later, I came running back out because the woman in the ticket office had suggested that I run down the jetty to the boat and ask them to wait before buying the tickets. Now, I haven't done any running in earnest since my footballing days, and now that I am a driver all I use my legs for is for putting them up whilst sat on my couch watching TV - so you can imagine how knackered I was by the time I got to the boat and said "(pant) Hey mate, can (wheeze) you please hold (gasp) the boat? we are (wheeze) just (pant) buying our (asphyxiate) tickets? (gasp)." The Boat captain /owner person simply said "aye" - but as I headed wearily back to the ticket office I'm sure the cheeky sod said "run!".

I made it back to the ticket office puffing and panting and wheezing and gasping - only to find the rest of the gang standing outside the ticket office!!! Apparently, they all thought I had paid for the tickets before I had run down to the boat. Once I had informed them that this was not the case, we all bought our tickets and made it on to the boat. We then spent the first 10 minutes of the trip saying things like "I never thought we were going to make it" and "we never like to make things easy, do we?" and look - Larry is still out of breath ha ha ha!"

 Our destination was the Isle of Rum (spelt RHUM by the locals) - a trip of 1hr 45 mins. Our boat was called the "Sheerwater", and we were sat in the half covered, half open air seating part of the boat. It was an overcast day, with the sun breaking through the clouds, and a fairly strong breeze. As we got out of the calm waters around the mainland, the sea got rougher and rougher. At times it was quite scary (well, I thought it was - and you know from yesterday's blog where my scared levels are set). There will be a video on here shortly showing how rough it was. Surprisingly, I didn't get seasick. I don't usually anyway, but I thought given the conditions I would.

I needn't have worried though, because Jim was feeling sea sick for all of us. And ironically, he is usually fine. While the rest of us sat there chatting away normally, occasionally gripping the sides of the boat in fear of the boat capsizing, poor Jim was sat motionless, getting paler and paler. His dog Jack was obviously sympathising with his master because he was not looking happy either. I can honestly say that I have never ever seen Jim like that before. If you have ever felt any kind of motion sickness you will know how horrible it can be - so I am sure you will join with me in thumping your fist on your chest twice and saying to Jim "I'm right with you bro."
The Isle of Eigg
Approaching Rum

Thankfully, we arrived at Rum without Jim being sick - but he did say that he actually felt the most likely to be sick when we were approaching Rum in calmer waters. Weird eh?
Rum is approximately 40 square miles in size, but has a population of just 25 people. The only cars that are allowed on the island are 4x4's - and that is by application only. The whole island is a wildlife preserve (and no, that isn't some sort of exotic jam), and approximately 80% of all the mating Sea Eagle pairs in Scotland make nest on Rum.

One of Many Great Views

Rum is also home to Kinloch castle - a stately holiday home built in 1901. It was the first home in Scotland to have electricity. The flash, rich, pompous gits.

The boat back to the mainland left at 3:45pm, so we had three hours to spare. After a brief visit to the island store (a very brief visit, as it was no bigger than your average garden shed), we decided to walk along the nature trail. As it turned out we didn't see much in the way of nature - but that didn't matter to me. The beautiful scenery, combined with the perfection that was the utter and complete silence was all I needed. I would love to live somewhere completely isolated - and Rum ticked all the boxes for me. There was no sound of traffic, no raised voices, no screaming children, no doors being slammed - nothing like that. All I could hear was the birds in the trees and the gurgle of the river as it flowed past. Let me say now for the record that I could quite happily spend the rest of my life living on Rum.

I hope my doctor doesn't see this - otherwise I'll be in for a liver transplant faster than you can say "George Best versus Oliver Reed in a winner takes all booze fest!"
The Eagle - Too much??
The Distant Hills of Rum

We did the walk, and found ourselves back at Kinloch Castle. We had missed the tour for the day, so had to peer through the windows too look inside. The exaggerated splendour was plain to see. I was impressed - so much so that I amended my dream of living somewhere isolated to living somewhere isolated in a place just like Kinloch Castle.
Time was getting on (still) so we made it back to where the boat was picking us up from. We boarded and set off back towards the mainland.

On this return journey, Jim was much better - virtually opposite how he was on the outward voyage. I was still in fear of my life on the still rough sea, however. At least I'm consistent!

We made in back in one piece, and headed home via McDonalds and Morrisons. And that is where you find me now, sat downstairs alone again while the rest of the gang are upstairs. I think we are about to watch "Kill Bill", which is a very good film - so I think I will go and join them.

I loved being on Rum - it is exactly the type of location I would love to live. Far away from everybody, and surrounded by nature. I would have been perfectly happy not to leave. One day, I will live in such a place.

Well, I can dream.........

By the way, I couldn't out the video on here of how rough the sea was - but it was rough. VERY rough................

No really, it was rough.

Finally, apologies for the lateness of this blog. I was unable to upload it due to the Blogger website undergoing maintenance. 

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