Sunday, April 25, 2010


I finally got to Trinity House in Leith on Saturday. It's the old story: if it's on your doorstep you don't make the effort. It's a lovely interior filled with maritime stuff, including harpoons, sextants, ship models and a totally mad painting of Vasco da Gama rounding the Cape of Good Hope.

You have to turn up at the right time though. On my first attempt I must have missed the slot. It was a nice day though, so I walked down to Ocean Terminal, where the tricolour was flying. The Latouche-Tréville of the French Navy was in, with a support ship whose number I didn't note.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Volcano news

I must admit that I feel a tiny tingle of, well, almost pleasure about the Icelandic volcano business. It demonstrates that we don't run the planet, we just live here. Although after the winter we've had we arguably don't need the demonstration.

It also exposes the odd biases of the media. You could summarise the news on this in very few words, but that doesn't stop them spending lots of time on the story as it's judged to be important. Well it is, but maybe you could report more about what's happening in Iceland, rather than get more reactions from stranded travelers. I mean, what do you think they're going to add?

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I spent the Easter weekend in Mull, which is becoming one of my favourite areas of Scotland. My first visits were as a child in 1971 and 1972 (it was the only holiday location that we ever repeated). I can't honestly say that I remember anything about this, although family legend records that I wouldn't let go of my teddy on the ferry, and that only stale bread was available when we got to the island.

We apparently went to Duart castle on that visit, meeting the clan chief. It felt like time for a return visit. Duart has a fantastically romantic location, perhaps only equalled by Eilan Donan castle. And Easter Friday saw perfect weather, with a spectacular view over Loch Linnhe to the mountains of Lochaber.

Inside it was chilly as the immense walls don't warm up until later in the summer. Apparently it's then quite cosy until January. There's also a nice account inside of a Cromwellian shipwreck that's just off the shore.

I walked to Lochbuie on Saturday in the drizzle. Mull's only stone circle there. You reach it by following some white-painted stones across a soggy field.

I had been watching The Stones of Blood recently and on seeing deep indentations in the field, though that an Ogri was on the move. But it was just a cow. It's a pity there are so many rhododendrons around the circle. If it was clearer, you might be able to see why it was placed here.

Lochbuie also has Moy Castle, a cracking 15th century tower house. The scaffolding seems to have been up for a while with no obvious sign of work. I hope somebody gets around to finishing this work off.

I got back to Pennyghael, where I was staying, by walking up Glen Byre (named because it's square and boxy?) in worsening weather.

Sunday was a clearer day, revealing that more snow had covered the higher peaks the day before. I set out to walk to Carsaig along a forestry track that was pointed out to me. Forest changed to moorland and then to the modest summit of Cruach Inagairt, which turned out to have a superb view.

Then it was down to the shore and along the coast to Carsaig. For some reason I didn't blog about Carsaig when I was there last year, but it is a gorgeous place which I can't really do justice to here. Pausing only to sneer at the people who were getting out of cars and putting on clean new walking boots, I walked through the grounds of the house and up the moorland road. Ben More said hello again.