27 October 2010--Blustery morning, one of those mostly-sunny days with a five-minute squall every half-hour. I'd been hoping to
catch a boat trip to Staffa this morning--there's at least one operator still going, but certainly not in this wind. I don't even bother
to inquire. Instead, I take advantage of the light to rephotograph the village, the nunnery, and the abbey. Over a bowl of soup at the
Martyrs Bay Restaurant (what, no Cullen skink?), I watch the ferry struggling to cross the strait, pushing far up against the wind before
riding down to the landing on Iona. The trip, usually ten minutes or so, takes more than half an hour. I'm on the return trip, the
11:30, which goes pretty quickly, rocking and rolling all the way.
Back along the Ross of Mull I drive, then the long way around to Tobermory, via Craignure and Salen. Along the way, I take a side trip down to Lochbuie to see a stone circle, evidently the only reasonably intact and accessible one on Mull. There doesn't seem to be a lot of this kind of thing on the island, which is perhaps why I haven't spent any time here in all the years I've been visiting Scotland. I slog across very wet fields to see it, stopping to look at some stones hidden in a stand of trees--the remains of a burial cairn, maybe. The circle itself is mildly interesting.
Down by Loch Buie itself, I walk along the shore to see Moy Castle, home of MacLeans and Maclaines, and location for some scenes in the 1945 movie I Know Where I'm Going. It's in a bad state, entirely covered in scaffolding, as long-term stabilization and restoration is ongoing. There is, unfortunately, not much to see just now.
Before I can get back to the car, there is a terrific squall, buckets of sideways rain. Hooray for rain pants.
My B&B in Tobermory is up the hill from the distillery, well off the road up an unlit lane. After settling in, I stroll into town and have dinner at the Tobermory Hotel, then pints at the Mishnish Hotel. It's very quiet in the bar there, or at least it is until a small group of overexuberant lads comes in. One particularly rambunctious fellow punctuates his boisterous proclamations with a number of
f-bombs. "Rory, watch your language," the barmaid admonishes him. "There's a gentleman there." She nods vaguely toward a tweed-jacketed bespectacled graybeard sitting quietly by the fireplace. That would be me. I almost spit my beer out. "That's a ****ing gentleman to you," I think to say, but don't. Honestly, specific words don't offend me. Loud, rude, obnoxious persons do.