Thursday, 10 May 2012

Visit to a magical Island

Risking the wrath of our Leader, the One Who Wears the Hat of Authority, I can disclose that it took place again, for the tenth time. By popular acclaim it was probably the best yet, attracting an interesting and varied crowd, who brought a range of craft representing different traditions. The Leader had also allowed in some drascophiles, presumably because they were nice people.

The total secrecy surrounding this meeting ensures that the grassy sward where most of us camp and the facilities of the tiny village cope with the influx. There was no rowdiness this year, mainly because the chief culprit has been on the lemonade for a few months.

I sailed over on the Thursday in nice quiet conditions, the Kelpie loaded to the gunwales with gear, a day early to claim my site and defend it against the banshee. Actually the whole island is infested with wraiths, spirits and such creatures and if you come by road be very careful as you pass the old watermill to leave a hair from your head as a tribute to the elves who live there.

Altogether it's a magical place, with hares the size of dogs lolloping along the main street at dawn and a history that goes back to the times when the seas were the main routes of communication and our islands were centres of commerce and administration. I've posted about all this before, here:- From Toberonochy to the battle of Largs

Here are a few more images.

A ticket-collector's hut?
Someone can only dream
New road to the windmills

On Friday the wind came up but the early arrivals had too much to do to sail. In the afternoon we watched the Mat Ali arrive in a real blow and expertly pick up a mooring.

The blue thing on deck is a collapsible dinghy designed and built by master craftsman Charlie Hussey. Similar to my nutshell, it goes into two pieces for deck storage. I'm sure Charlie will make one for you if you're fed up with having your inflatable stolen or just want a bit of style. Mat Ali is a lovely interesting ship and I've posted about her before, here:- Autumn Visitors

The old Kilchattan Kirk has seen a lot of history, so it was good that a Viking ship could make it,

although the wooden rollers greased with herring are no longer in use to move her about.


Fast forward a thousand years or so, we had the new Oban Skiff on her first proper outing, a fantastic tribute to Adam Way and his local team, who have made an impressive job using flawless larch from a tree found near Oban itself. A lot of the old workboat designs don't translate well into leisure craft, being built for burden, but this one looks really slippery on the water and I'm sure will be a delight when she's tuned up. I intend to do a detailed post on her in due course.

Saturday was a light sunny day, with a picnic lunch on one of the few bays around Shuna still accessible despite the industrial fish farms which are ruining the amenity (and killing off our wild fish, crustaceans and aquatic mammals).

Ken's wee Jig has a new sail this year too.

It was nice to be played back into the bay by the Brother.


Sunday was even quieter and we settled for a jaunt across to Eilann Gamha with a nice reaching course round Shuna on the way back.

There are some great things about this meeting, apart from having one's normal decision-making processes hijacked for the weekend. There's a feeling of mutual help and encouragement, lots of varied conversation, excellent food and drink and a proper ceilidh, this year courtesy of the Brother.

Update 18 May

Thanks to Julia for pointing out that the green hut is the missing lemon shop, per my earlier post here:- The Toberonochy Lemon Shop

1 comment:

  1. These pics are all great ewan I will use some of them!!


The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water