On the Sunday morning, to weather warnings of a hurricane(???), Morag and I left Tobermory, bound for Mallaig and eventually Doune in Knoydart. It was wet and fairly windy as we waited at Fishnish for the ferry back to the mainland at Lochaline – Loch AH lin. We tried to phone the Dounies to see how they were faring weatherwise, but couldn’t get through. Indeed we called them several times on the way up to Mallaig where we were being picked up with the boat. Was there something wrong with my phone? Was it the weather? Driving up through Morvern to Lochaillort where we rejoined the main Mallaig road, there was still no getting through, so we really just had to hope that it was still ok and that someone would get the boat over to meet us. (It turned out it was the Knoydart connection that was down.)
Knoydart, as I will have said before, is a large chunk of mainland Scotland, bordered by Loch Nevis on the south, the Sound of Sleat (Slate) on the west, Loch Hourn to the north, and several high mountains on the east! Not easy to get to unless by boat! It is largely unpopulated these days though there used to be many little scattered settlements, until 1852 when they became victims of The Highland Clearances .
Anyway, Knoydart eventually began to be resettled in a very small way and in the 1990s Doune-marine was born. Superb scenery, superb accommodation, superb food….. you just have to visit their website – click the red link above – especially if you enjoy the out of doors, and isolation! I love the place! No TV, no traffic… deer coming down to graze outside the lodge at night… dolphins playing in the bay….
Well, we arrived at Mallaig, still not certain if we were going to get across. The weather didn’t seem all that bad, but it depended on what it was like out on the Sound. We needn’t have worried, as in a few moments we saw Gripper coming into the harbour. Once tied up Steve emerged from the cabin and told us there was only a sea swell- nothing too bad, He helped us on board with our bags, and I went off to park the car. I couldn’t resist the icecreams from the newsagents shop on the corner, so brought one back for each of us! Soon we were off, and it wasn’t a bad crossing at all – crumbs, I’ve been in far worse seas there! Two years ago it was really rough! I thought we might capsize on a couple of occasions!
Eilean (AYlun), Steve’s wee Patterdale terrier, jumped up on the bench seat, curled up and went to sleep on this journey, only waking up and jumping down as Steve cut the engine to come into the bay at Doune. Liz, our hostess, and her son’s dog were there to meet us! It’s a wee walk to the lodges (left hand side of the photo) where we work on our lacemaking – yes, I forgot to tell you that’s why we were there – and it’s further round the bay to the wooden lodge where we stay (just peeping out from behind the headland on the right), but Steve took our bags over and we went in to meet the others who had arrived the day before. It was the usual crowd – Margaret and Marje from Winchester, Lisbet from somewhere else down south, Joan from Cawdor, Norma from Roslin, Janet from Skye (just over the water! You can see her house from Doune on a fine day!). Sheila, from Inverness? Was she not there? Coming over on Tuesday. Got a reunion to go to! It was good to see everyone again.
Dinner that night – and every night - was excellent, as always, with fabulous 3-course menus, and delicious home produced food. We always come home a few pounds heavier! Well, after creamy puds like this autumn fruits pavlova, what do you expect!!!!
Next day it was down to work – at the lace-mine, as Margaret calls it! I had started work on a piece earlier in the year but found the thread too fine. My plan had been to start it again at Doune but somehow it just wouldn’t work for me! After a day and a half of struggling with it, I cut it off and rather than start again, I decided to work a pattern that really should have been quite straightforward! Did that work out ok? Did it heck! Somehow I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to battle with it, so after another day I cut that off as well! I wasn’t going to feel guilty about not doing any lace on a lace week. I went out collecting stones for an Inuit inukshuk, or way marker – my creative thing this week!
The others were doing beautiful things which I can show you here – oh and by the way, despite everything being fastened down in preparation for this hurricane, it missed us altogether! It rained a lot, but on the west coast that’s par for the course, but apart from a bit of a strong breeze, nothing happened! Margaret was actually disappointed. She said that whenever she saw bad forecasts for up here after this, she wouldn’t feel sorry for us any more, because it likely wouldn’t be as bad as all that after all!
Margaret’s, above, and Joan’s below.
We don’t mind what the weather does at Doune! If it’s bad outside we do more work. If it’s fine we’ll still work – only we’ll do less of it, and spend more time outside!
Talk again soon.