Romahome journey to Islay
First in line for the ferry at Lochranza at 7.30, waiting to get onto the smallest boat ever. Surely there's not enough room on it for a Romahome? Of course there is! Drove onto it with aplomb and stood for the short half hour voyage looking out over the cold grey rain spattered waves, with Jinty looking miserable because of the cold. One of the crew, a whippet lover came over to swap whippet tales, and it was soon time to hop back in the van ready for the dash to Kennacraig to catch the Islay ferry,
This part of the trip was the cause of anxiety. Only twenty minutes to get across the Kintyre peninsular and I turned the wrong way off the ferry and then had to find somewhere to turn round on the single track road. I could see that the ferry was in as I got to the highest point and hurried on to get in line just as embarkation began.
This was a much bigger ferry and I decided to leave Jinty in the van and risk another seasickness incident. He was relaxed and cosy and I knew he'd be stressed out on the ferry for nearly three hours. I'd been so bothered about getting to the ferries on time I hadn't thought to put a book in my rucksack so had plenty of time to observe my fellow passengers. A high proportion of men were on the boat, with many of them in groups and some speaking languages which sounded vaguely Dutch. Many of them tucked in to a full Scottish accompanied by a bottle of Budweiser. What's taking them to Islay? Fishing trips? Walking holidays? Whiskey tours? Golf? Who knows.
Safely off the ferry and after only a couple of u-turns on single track roads, at Kintra Farm on the Mull of Oa, a strange sounding place at the south of the island. This is a working farm full of free range sheep and lambs, with equally free range camping spots amongst the dunes, overlooking the most spectacular beach complete with waves being driven in by very high winds. I'm the only camper and I have to go and choose a pitch and then pin a ticket on the site map showing whereabouts I'm pitched. We walk round first to try to get the optimum pitch which combines the perfect sea view and shelter from the strong on-shore winds. I compromised the shelter element of the equation for the view in a not to be beaten vista up the beach which stretches for several miles.
There are toilets, a shower, and water which must be boiled and is slightly murky looking. We pitch up and I manage to light the gas fridge for the first time (I've always had electric hook-up before) and while there's still a glimmer of sun we set off down the beach. Jinty's so pleased to have a proper run and I'm pleased that I've still got my wellies on when we have to wade across a river as it runs into the sea. As we get back to the Romahome the rain starts again so we tuck up warm and watch it through the window, occasionally having a read of the paper or listening to Ian Banks' book Raw Spirit about his travels round Scotland on the quest for the perfect dram, all this punctuated by the bleats of passing sheep, the cries of sea birds and buffeting of the van by the wind.