Friday, 30 August 2013

Day 7 ~ The Enchanting Back Roads

Today we moved from Blissful Iona to Powerful Skye.  It is a fair old distance across peninsulas and islands.  We took an alternate route from our norm and drove up through the Ardnamurchan Peninsula; a back road seldom used by anyone but locals and the adventurous.  As drivers, it was so much more pleasant than the main road as we wound our way through misty hills and we made a few stops including lunch, a castle on a lovely beach cove and a romp through gorgeous heather and bracken.

Caya:  Loooooong day, thanks Sam!!! You are an excellent driver! The views where just spectacular.
Sam:  It amazes me that with all I've seen in Scotland via our tours and our personal travels, I'm still enamoured with areas new to me.  I can only compare it to thinking you've had one of the best meals in the world, only to have another meal that equals it just when you thought food couldn't get any better.  So just when I thought Scotland could not get any better, I discover something as beautiful as the previous views.  We've had great company to
share all this beauty with which makes the journey that much nicer.  
Hector:  After a long day driving, three ferries and a great lunch in the middle of nowhere, we got to Skye.  Now in a beautiful country mannor, with a Talisker in front of a hearth fire...things can not be more beautiful.

In the evening we sat by the hearth fire, Whiskies,
wines and such in hand and had a small ceilidh and discovered many talents within our group, with shared songs, poetry and stories.  Oh, and we had the company of Harry, the wee dog.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

By sea, by boat

In addition to Sam's wonderful previous post, here's a video I made of the boat journey when we met seals on Soa.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Day 5 & 6 ~ By Land & By Sea

We've been taking in all the richness offered on Iona.
A quiet place to think
We've had some individual time these past two days while on Iona to do as our hearts please.

Iona Abbey Cloister
Sam:  One evening I walked back to the accommodation on a small road that crosses part of the island.  The crunch of the small stones and pebbles under my footsteps was enough to alert anyone, human or 4 legged critter of my journey.  Then I stopped.  I listened.  I looked around.  There was no other noise, not even the wind.  There were no other people, though I could see a light in a distant window.  I was transported back to my childhood, on a cool, misty evening as I walked another island path on the coast of Maine.  There is a time traveller in each of us. 

We had time to visit the Abbey, attend different services, have a group singing & chanting session, go sailing on a classic wooden boat and take a hike up to an elusive well to make Brigid's crosses.

 Some went for long walks to the numerous beaches to seek out coloured pebbles, different views and solitude.

We've had lovely meals here with the most amazing sourdough bread and the hot chocolate is dark and creamy.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Day 4 - Libra Escozia

Today we left our room-with-a-view and travelled across the sea, ticking off two more islands in our westward journey.  From Mull we went to Iona, the Holy Isle, leaving the vans behind as we did so.  This is a Pilgrimage after all.

We visited Duart Castle on the way to Iona and Scot told a Tale in the Banqueting Hall of the Macleans

Looking north from Duart Castle

Hector:  Just arrived to Iona enjoying a great view to the SOUND OF Iona, with a great single malt during a warm chat.

Maru:  Arriving to Iona has been amazing and our hearts have been filled with joy and warmth.

Gaby:  Fabulosas las vistas del camino, y solo de ver Iona se te abre el corazon. 

Loreen:  Thinking much about the symbiosis between People and The Land they're from... they make each other, I think.  You can't really meet one without meeting the other if you hope to get a glimpse of that...thing we humans seek when we're Seeking: a path to some truth or greater understanding, strangely, of our own selves.

Scot and Sam: We have a tour name, "The Humming Stones".  Why are they humming?  Ahhh!

I've processed the video we shot the other day on Arran at Fionn's Cauldron Place when we chanted.  It was an experiment;  each person took a moment to listen to the stone circle and decide what pitch they thought would be right for it.  I counted to three and everyone came in together singing their pitch to the sound of "ah".  Camera work is a bit ropey, but perhaps it adds a certain uniqueness to the event.

DAY 3 - Spirit of Scotland Tour

We leave the Isle of Arran today for one of the most amazing places in ancient Scotland.  A place of such a green atmosphere and filled with standing stones.  One of Scotland's gems, as I like to call it.  It has several hundred ancient and historical sites in a few miles of land.

Ramonet:  We crossed to the mainland by ferry and went into an abandoned village that had a powerful sacred well. After such a delightful experience we kept on visiting stone circle sites explained in a fun and detailed way by Scot and Sam. Oh what a day!

At the Holy Well

The deserted village
Cecilia: I am so thankful for having tasted the most pure and crystal clear water in all my life. I can see how there is generosity and beauty in this world.

Gina:  A Holy Well!  I am  very happy woman! Visits with the Sidhe, sacred chambers and stone circles. A beautiful and expansive view of the ocean . A blessed life. 

The deserted village

Gabriela:  The donald [the hill fort] hill was amazing, I remembered another life. Scott and his story telling are great and is a pleasure to share this travel with him and Sam.

Adriana: I had experience through out the day a lot of different sensations and felt a variety of energies in every place we went. The sacred well was just amazing and the sacred stone circle when we all sat together was awesome, it was an incredible day!

Ma. Emilia   The Sacred Well was A precious experience, without limit in time and space.  The cairn  was a enormous conection with the female and sacred energy!!!! I enjoy the story!!!

Erika:  Today was for me a very very especial day, the well place took me for complete. Thanks!!!

Laura:  Amazing day, lots of wonderful moments but today, the smell of the grass when we arrived at the sacred Glen I will never forget.  Thanks Scot and Sam for taking us to the sacred well and thanks Gina for her beautiful song

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Spirit of Scotland ~ Day 2

A bit of relaxation
Cait: Magical morning at Machrie Moor. The heather is in bloom, the stones are humming.  We are so blessed with a sunny, warm day.

Kathy:  A beautiful day: Machrie stone circles, meditation on the beach on the Isle of Arran. How wonderful!

Maru: The peace and happiness it's just here, only need to be open and see the beauty of Arran.

Laura: Merrily vibrating!

A bit of hiking

Ramonet: Geometry, sound, elements, connection, joy and peace.

Caya: Magical day!! Everything goes in peace and gracefully. Ramonet almost became a tree. :)

Erika: I'm very happy to be here in these amazing and beautiful places.  They have very interesting woods and very different views. I feel Scotland is my home. I think am part of it.

Adriana: I had a wonderful day in Machrie Moor.  It was a day of experimenting different things and being in touch
with nature and it makes me feel more energized.

Samantha: The stones sang today.  Lunch was fab; a true winner with everyone...yum!  Our surroundings at the hotel are lovely and our accommodation is first rate.  The isle of Arran is wonderful.  Can I please stay?

And a bit of castle stalking!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Spirit of Scotland ~ Day 1

Scot:  We began our journey with a gathering circle in the deep, dark grove of trees in the Glen, which is a special place.  From there we moved to the Chapel which is a church that I find very special.  It reminds me of Iona's church a bit in that both sites are HEAVILY visited, but still retain that serene, pilgrimage energy because of the extant services of worship.  I spoke to the lady who held the short prayer service in the Chapel today, thanking her for the simple beauty she brought.  She was softly spoken and brought some of the Celtic Christianity into the nave for the many foreign visitors.

Our group is composed of two solo travellers (from NY state and Auz), a couple of friends from US and twelve travelling together as a spiritual training group who meet regularly in Mexico City.  I don't yet have a photo of us all, but our time in the Glen has produced a different image.  Sam found an amazing tree she has called The Monks' Tree in honour of the brethren of the chapel who probably planted it several hundred years ago.

The Monks' Tree, photographed by one of the party

So now a few words from some of our pilgrims.

Laura:  After hearing for so long about Roslyn Chapel, it is amazing how different it is to be inside.  I cherish the privilege to be there with so many loved ones.

Maru: The joy to be here with all.

Maria Emilia:  Scotland is a beautiful country!!!

Hector:  Hey!!....Just got to ride with Samantha and Scot from Roslin Chapel to Arran!....wonderful Sacred Tree Grove meeting circle!!

Cecilia: Wonderful beautiful and expansive energy here.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bedlam and Serenity

The night before a tour is bedlam; tomorrow's journey is serenity.  We're off to the Western Isles leading Mara Freeman's Spirit of Scotland tour.  Sam has been working very hard of late, as you will suspect, getting her Jamie and Claire tour dates finalised and published for next year (first people have booked already!) and she's creating the itinerary for two new tours for next year.  
For the next two weeks we will be guiding sixteen seekers who have come to Scotland to experience our particular brand of the sacred, the ancient sites, Celtic spirituality and the Fairy faith.  See Celtic Spirit Journeys here
Some blog-followers will recall that this is a tour we are guiding for our friend and fellow tour-guide, Mara.  We ran it in June this year and this is the second edition, by excessively popular demand!
Tours are always bedlam (behind the scenes, or like a swan, all grace above but paddling like mad below) but this one will also be filled with meditation and serenity and calm time.  I'm looking forward to it, especially the sailing around the sacred isle of Iona and sitting quietly with a group of like-minded people on some of the most sacred places on our planet.
Now, just got a van to pack, the checklist to go through again...

Us sailing around Iona in June

Our pilgrimage destination

Monday, 19 August 2013


The 2014 dates are now on line for our tours.  We have three different destinations and themes this year for the Outlandish Spirit in each of us:

The Jamie and Claire Tour

The Romantic Borders Tour

Dragonfly in Amber ~ France Tour

Brought to you by:
The Jamie and Claire Tour & MacKenzie Adventures