Tuesday 8 September 2009

so many things to look at

Straight off the ferry at Craignure, we headed for Duart Castle, seat of the Clan Maclean. Tricia's stepfather was a Maclean, and she had picked Mull for our trip in order to find out a little about his heritage.

We got heritage by the barrowload. Duart Castle was so interesting to tour, but must have been challenging to live in as a family home; photographs show that yes, hardy generations did indeed cope with the steep circular stairs, thick walls, and a marked lack of modern amenities.

An imposing garden path to the front door, don't you think?

The modern bathroom. Unaltered since 1912.

The original loo, now boarded over. A notice asks you to think about why paying a visit might have been draughty...

Helpful signs everywhere.

Not advisable in stilettos or in drink.

And speaking of drink:

Why you might not want to fall out with your neighbours, or fail to pay your water rates.

The views from the ramparts were superb.

And then we took the road to Bunessan, down in the south end of the island. A long, winding road, with passing places. And sheep.

The road went on for so long that we began to wonder if we were in some kind of dream; was it a real road? would we ever arrive? were we ghosts, doomed to drive for eternity, pulling in at the passing places as phantom locals raced past us? But finally we reached our B & B at Bunessan, and to comfortable modern rooms with shiny bathrooms and undraughty loos.

This was Tricia's view.

And this was mine. Before I had even set my suitcase down, I spotted a hen harrier hunting in the fields behind the house. The back garden, still in the process of being deer-proofed, was full of busy little meadow pipits.

We walked down to the village, noticing the enterprise of the locals, making best use of the lamposts to tie up a boat...

...and the recycling point in the village car park. Click to enlarge and look at the little red-roofed box. A few miles along the road we had passed a sort of wayside cupboard with a sign that read "Jams". The little recycling box was here to ensure that the jam-maker would not have to do as I did recently, tour the neighbourhood scrounging jam jars from neighbours.

Herons abounded. I love herons; they are an appealing mixture of tall, thin, elderly vicars, distracted great-aunts, and, if startled into flight, half-opened umbrellas.

After a hearty pub dinner, we went back to our guest house and watched the sunset. Tomorrow we would be going on a day-long wildlife tour. I had my best walking shoes with me, brought for their comfort, but still the most disreputable-looking pair of trainers ever, usually kept for the allotment. I doubted that the hoped-for eagles and otters would care much what I wore.


Susan said...

tres interesting ... more please.

Lesley said...

Wonderful - love the signs in the castle, I like casual wit!

I also love herons. Am always trying to get the perfect heron shot (photo that is - not bullet!) but, although I've got a couple of good photos, have never quite got the one I really want!

Will keep trying.

Yes, more stories from the Highlands please.

Lesley x

Linda said...

Oh, that looks wonderful. So much clean air, and all that sky! The colours on clear days must be gorgeous too.
The castle looks fascinating - but a tad on the cool side for living.

Looking forward to more.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful travel log, wonderful tales. My favourite nevertheless is your description of herons. Another WONDERFUL!

Gretel said...

Wonderful post, in so many ways...almost made this dyed-in-the-wool Southerner appreciate Scotland!

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