Monday, 12 April 2010

Back to basics

We had a lovely Easter break on Islay and saw lots of rellies and friends, as well as chilling out with some walks!
The adventure really started before we left, mum was coming with us and suggested we stay somewhere closer then her son/my bros in Dumbarton, so we phoned a few hotels and found one that had 3 bedrooms, 2twins - one for the boys and one for her(mum) and daughter to share, and a double for us! We were driving down in 2 cars, I was driving ours and hubby driving hers so she would have wheels on Islay and could visit or just 'go for a drive' like she used to when she lived there. So we stopped at bros for a wee break, after they picked up eldest in Greenock, they we all set off for the Tarbert hotel.
We took the Loch Lomond road and swept up past Luss thinking everything was going fine, then the potholes started, the roads in Scotland are dire just now and they're are only some that have escaped the pot-hole fairy! With a little more caution we approached Arrocher and drove towards the 'Rest' with caution. The rest's full name is the 'Rest and be Thankful' because the old cars used to get to the top of a very steep, winding road and 'rest' at the top to let the engines cool. When my mother first travelled to Islay in 1939, just before WW2 was declared, they had an old Humber and her adopted brother George (a hungarian refugee) didn't listen to 'get a cloth' first, and took the radiator cap off - thus burning his hand, well he didn't do it again and his name lives on in family folklore:) You can still see the original road in the bottom of the valley from the 'new' one constructed in the 40's or 50's I think!
We swept down some of the other side, then realised the pot-hole fairy had been busy and preceeded with caution onto Inverary which stiil looks the same as it did the first time I saw it 34yrs ago when we stopped there on our way to our very first ferry trip to Islay!
Quick pit-stop there for coffee and loos, then off we go for the next bit down to Lochgilphead, Adrishaig, lots of wee hamlets and into Tarbert, a few dodgy patches but straighforward journey and doing it early evening meant most of the trucks and delivery vans were parked somewhere - bargain!
The hotel was lovely and the journey to the ferry was 10mins instead of the original 3hrs, fab, the ferry itself was uneventful bar the scruffiness we noticed on deck - the winter had been hard on the West of Scotland too and they hadn't had their usual painting weather!
The house we rented was this one, need to find the photo and come back to this!
We had a lovely relaxing week, with very mixed weather. I got some walking in on various days but the best one was Wednesday when I got dropped off at Balimony, walked over the ridge to Octofad Farm and then kept going until I got to Port Charlotte, brief comfort break at the Port Mhor centre and off to the Lighthouse House on the other side of the village! Sunshine all the 5.8miles I walked in 2hr 5mins, it was fabulous, hadn't done the walk from Octofad to Port Charlotte since I was a teenager, so it was good to take my time and admire all the changes to original houses and the new ones which had been built in sympathy with their surroundings. It was lovely to go back into the past but tempered with new things, it wasn't a maudlin journey but an uplifting one that I was really glad my husband was happy for me to take, he had to drop me off and leave me with 14 heifers shouting at me for their breakfast!! (beasts of all sorts approach vehicles hoping/thinking a meal's in the boot/back, quite scary until the 'townie' remembers they're usually more scared of us!)
Anyway, off to find the photos that seem to have gone into the wrong place - ie where I can't find them, lol!

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