Monday, April 6, 2009

Back to the Isles and Skye

I sit here tonight on a plush leather lounge looking out of a wall of windows where the tide has just come in and where the waters of Loch Ainort laps at the rocks that support the gate at the base of the garden a whole 15 metres from the back deck.

Louis Armstrong is crooning on the CD deck and Michael is preparing a Beef Korma for dinner. Life really doesn’t get much better! We are in Luib a - mere 7 miles from Broadford on the Isle of Skye and across the Loch from the stunning scree slopes of the Red Cuillin.

We have been lucky enough to get Heron Cottage a self-catering house owned by and adjacent to the one lived in by Ann and David who also own The Creelers Restaurant in Broadford. The restaurant is known as one of the best local seafood restaurants and joy of joys when we called in to collect the keys today, I see that they have Squat Lobsters on the menu – so we are going tomorrow night where I will have them for entrĂ©e, main and dessert! (Only kidding!)

We watch the birds skim the water of the Loch, swooping low, sitting on the water and nipping in for a quick bite and at times even diving deep for that extra special tasty morsel. A storm sweeps across the slopes and the water and we watch it approach from about 20 miles away. As the night deepens, we can see the pinpricks that are the headlights of cars as they travel the road around the vast Loch. Otherwise, with a dense storm cloud cover the night is as black as pitch.

It was overcast when we left Fort William this morning. Prash
has come in while not on duty to say goodbye – which was a nice gesture. Just before we leave the room, the window cleaners arrive – this is becoming something of a habit. We stop at the local fishing and tackle shop in High Street, where they have walking poles for a mere £7.99 each. Hopefully they will make it
a little easier for me to accompany Michael on some of his walks.

The drive up the coast gives us plenty of oohs and aahs. Never mind Scotland the Brave – Scotland the Wild, Scotland the Stunning are far more apt. Driving away from Fort William the Nevis Range remains in our views for some time as we wind our way north around the Lochs. We pass by the Commando Memorial at Slean Bridge that commemorates all the commandoes lost in war and has a special mention for the recent losses in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Later we pass the site of the Battle of Glensheil where the Jacobites met the English army supported by Dutch mercenaries and were slaughtered. I can’t understand why any battle would be fought in a ravine where (in the car) I can almost stretch my arms and touch both sides and where the slopes at times are vertical and in other places hillocky and almost as steep. Michael sighs and explains that the English were advancing up the valley and the Jacobites where trying to halt their progress. (he shakes his head in exasperation!) I still think that this war stuff is far over-rated!!!

Having finished dinner we are sitting here watching a program called Trawlermen – all the more interesting because we are now in the very area around which the program is based – well at least where the trawlers are based. They are talking about the hard work to catch enough to make a decent living for the skipper and all his crew, and are presently working in the face of a Force 9 storm – Christ you can have it – I feel sick just looking at the lurching of the boat in the huge seas. They report that last year there were 34 boats lost and 9 lives lost – and you can see why. Makes you appreciate that seafood all the more.

It is now 10 pm and there is a knock at the front door. David has popped in after they finish with dinner service at the restaurant 7 miles away, to make sure that we have settled in and know how to use all the equipment. We are so grateful as their day is a long one. I told David that I have a nice bottle of French red wine to share with them before we leave at the end of the week and he replies that we had better have it tonight as their days will get busier as the week goes on. So tonight it is.

Ann and David invite us into their home so we collect a bottle of the 2006 Cantinot from the car and cross the shared utility (laundry) area into their home. They are very friendly and gracious and we spend the next three hours sharing stories and travel experiences, family lives, a bottle of David’s favourite red from the Rhone area of France (will have to ask him the name again tonight!) and he generously gives a stunned Michael a Monte Christo cigar. It is 1:00 am and although we are having a lovely time and could talk yet for hours, we are very conscious that David and Ann need to e up and at their restaurant by about 8:30 am. So we say a reluctant good night, hugs all round and it is off to bed. Goodnight.

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