Entry in the bothy book at An Cladach on Islay:
Mon 5th to Wed 7th Oct 2015
Wasn’t initially thinking of coming here on this trip, but through a creeping sense of inertia yesterday afternoon, and strong winds forecast for today, I thought it would be a good backstop if the ferries weren’t guaranteed to run. Cycled from Bordick last Thursday morning, heading for Cruib, with a planned excursion to Ruantallain if the time allowed. Finally made it to Loch Tarbert after a night camping in ‘the Field’ outside the Jura Hotel at Craighouse, and spent a rather spaced and rambling two hours walking in. I caught a stray bungee cord in the eye as I was setting off to Ardrossan on the train, and have had cloudy vision for the last couple of days! Cruib is in excellent shape, and I was relieved that there is a peat cutting just above the bothy, so I could have a cosy evening by the fire.
I am experimenting with overnight bothy stays with a 35 litre OMM sack, stowing my bike and panniers by the roadside, and taking whatever I can squeeze in beyond the basics. In fact, I coped surprisingly well, despite the lack of fresh milk for my tea, and fried breakfast on the menu, and actually stayed on for a second night instead of heading back to Craighouse to watch the rugby. A fortuitous decision it turned out, as I avoided the carnage inflicted on puffed up England by the marauding Aussies. It also meant that I could spend a more leisurely amount of time at Ruantallain, and do a bit of exploring of the cliffs. The added significance of the afternoon was that this prized bothy ‘tick’ means that to all intents and purposes I have ‘finished’ the full round of Sottish MBA’s, and what I slightly arbitrarily call significant others. There are a few more places I want to visit, ( and a couple of borders day trips to polish off) but I have drawn a satisfactory line, and am happy with that. Spent part of today deciphering some notes, and resolved to try and come out in this direction once a year around this time. It was also lovely to see my sister’s entry of September last, and I have a lot of time for your man asking after the old bothy book so that regulars can revel in times past. (I am officially going to make a smart arsed comment here but can’t help myself) On a past visit to Clennoch for example, I discovered that the ‘Friends’ of the bothy have actually photocopied and laminated a number of the old bothy books, going back to the 90’s at least. Sorry out of the system now. Anyway I should be writing a blog entry, but I thought I’d take some time to jot down something here. I’m not a big fan of writing long entries, but I have been inspired this evening.
In terms of house keeping, I’ve hopefully left enough kindling to dry off the last blocks of peat. There are some rather damp pieces up at the cutting, but I think that’s it for the year. And apologises if the place is a little untidy, I’ve got to rush off in the morning to get the 12.30 ferry from Port Ellon. Normally I would clear out the ash from the fireplace, but I’m loathed to put out the embers tonight. And good luck with the big logs, a happy find on the beach back at the Logain burn.
Also a big thank you to Dave (1 of) MO, and of course the MBA and the estate. This really is a home from home.
Photos from the trip…
sunset over Arran from the last ferry of the day
campsite outside the Jura Hotel with the Paps behind
attempt at going light weight
view south over Loch Tarbert to the Paps
peat fire magic
view back to the Paps
an old Laird of the estate
stumbled on these two by accident and quickly made my apologises…
walking back to Cruib, view of Islay on the horizon
back to the hotel just in time for a late Sunday lunch
a quiet evening by the fire at An Cladach
a writers retreat
only partially a set up shot, as I had just about run out of gas by early afternoon on the second day
walking out in the dawn glow
discovered that a ferry left for Oban from Port Arkaig, saving me a pedal south to Port Ellon…happy days