Monday, 10 June 2013

Day 6 - A day of sailing

An inspired change of plan for today. We're going to do everything on the programme AND some sailing.  Mark Jardine has a 1930s Danish gaff-rigged Ketch and we're going out in it this morning.

Birthe Marie

Our Skipper Mark, Sam at the helm

This detour onto the water is a wee taster for the guests for the kind of tour Sam and I are offering next year.  It's called SlowScotland (TM) and it's about getting nowhere fast in Scotland, by sail, by pony, walking, kayaking etc - real depth of experience of Scotland.  You might have heard of the SlowFood movement.  We're going to add on to that concept and indeed, we'll be embracing SlowFood.

Anyway, back to THIS tour.  The boat was fabulous!  Mark's a really nice guy, knows the waters and took us on a circumnavigation of Iona.  We saw it as the missionaries did, as the kings saw in their final crossing to Iona for burial.  Mark told us the stories of the promontories and beaches and how they got their names.
Our own Salty Dog.  Happiest with a heads'l sheet in hand

Sheila on watch, Mark and Greta pull the helm into the wind

In the afternoon, we visited the Abbey and had the tour which was a lovely change of energy.  So far we've been about solitude, outdoors, birds, personal experience.  The Abbey tour is all about Iona as a place of politics, religion, community for 1450 years.  Gerry, our guide, was great and covered the broad movements of Celtic Christianity, Catholicism and Reformation in an easy way.  He's a funny bugger too.

This evening, we go back to the Old Religion, the Fairy Faith.  We're visiting a powerful site and I'm frankly a bit nervous because we're visiting it at a time between times - at the gloaming (sundown).  That's when there may be a few of the wee folk about.  All the party know to carry iron and to be respectful when sat on the home of the Ever Living Ones.

Now for some words by the guests.

Jim: Down to the sea in ships today. Reconnected with my salty roots. Inspiring and refreshing. Captain was informative and professional. He allowed us land lubbers to steer his vessel, very trusting and gracious of him. Although he kept a weather eye on us at all times. Plenty of local land marks and tales. Stunning weather continues.

Scot: Ahh, satisfied travellers.  Bliss, as was the Hill of the Wee Folk this evening at sun down.