Posted by: brigid benson | April 9, 2010

Here and there

Along with the Easter bunny, I’ve been hopping about of late, often in places without internet connections, which explains why the gathered contents of the following posts may seem curiously random in association with each other.

The Commercial, or Comm, pub, Lochgilphead

I stopped by Lochgilphead on my travels, home of  the tiny but magnificent ‘Comm’ pub. Squeeze in and you’ll find extraordinary illuminations around the bar that provide instructions on best behaviour and a fantastic piece of glasswork in the back room.

After calling in to visit artists Frances MacDonald and Ross Ryan at the atmospheric  Crinan hotel, I headed to Oban from where I took a boat to the  heavenly Isle of Colonsay, via the Corryvreckan whirlpool, third largest in the world.

On a gloriously calm spring day the boat sped through the dramatically swirling, eddying waters of the Gulf of Corryvreckan, between the islands of Jura and Scarba. The white water patterns of the whirlpool were clearly evident when the Captain announced that everyone aboard must sit down in preparation for a dangerous 180º turn, broadsides into the waves.  The extraordinary tilt of the boat, lurching to turn and head back the way it came, added spice to the whirlpool experience. The effort required to pass back through strong currents in the turbulent water was quite different to the relative ease and speed with which the vessel had zipped along on the way into the Gulf.

Steaming through the Gulf of Corryvreckan

Restless whitewater

Spring had sprung on the Hebridean island of Colonsay, primroses, hellebores and lush ferns were all about. Magnificent Kiloran bay, one of the best beaches in Britain was, as usual, largely deserted.

Breathtaking Kiloran Bay

Island primroses

Woodland hellebores

There  are just over 100 residents on the island, many of them crofters, and 9 pupils in the primary school. Colonsay is home to sea otters and birds, including golden eagles, sea eagles and corncrakes.  Even if you’re unlucky and don’t catch sight of any of these rare and often reclusive creatures, you are sure to see tracks and signs of their activities. Following playful otter prints along the shore, I soon came upon the remnants of  its healthy breakfast, broken shells on a slab of rock.

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