Saturday 10 September 2011

to Tobermory

Friday morning, awaking in The Corran, Lochgilphead...

I had every intention of going for an early morning walk but the mountains we could see clearly from our bedroom window the previous evening were now obscured by rain. So I wimped out and snuggled back into the warm bed.

Breakfast, as usual, was sumptuous but we couldn’t tarry as we had to check in to the ferry terminal by 11:25, 30 minutes before sailing time. And the ferry terminal, at Oban, was still about an hour’s drive over a winding, wet and hilly road.

Soon after leaving The Corran we came across the Crinan Canal, on the left so stopped to take a quick look at this shortcut from another era, still used today.

The miles were eaten up quickly as there was thankfully little traffic and we arrived at Oban with a good 45 minutes to spare before final check-in time. The terminal butts onto the edge of the main town and so we placed the car in the queue, locked it, checked in and strolled into the touristy and somewhat down-market Oban seafront to kill 30 minutes before returning to the car.

It was here that I noticed that I had a slightly odd banknote in my possession.

This note looks decidedly un-British but I’m assured by experts that it passes for ten pounds anywhere in Scotland although they couldn’t vouch for its credibility outside of Scottish borders. It’s even weirder on the back as it has a map of a portion of Africa on it. Why?

See here for answer

Anyway, to return to Oban. Soon after we rejoined our car, sheltering inside from the wind and showers, the ferry turned up.

We self loaded through the stern ramp and, as we were near the front of the line drove right through until stopped near the (closed) bow doors. Passengers are not permitted to remain in cars, presumably to minimize loss of life in the event of a sinking or swamping. Upper deck facilities were comfortable and included liquor and food outlets. Mary and I lunched on a hearty Scotch broth while watching the seascape pass on the other side of the raindrop-adorned window.

There was no swell and light winds so the crossing was easy and very soon completed. Returning to our car we drove out of the bow and turned right for Tobermory.

Thirty minutes later we were in Tobermory’s Main Street, right on the waterfront, but our progress blocked by roadworks. A further ten minutes later we’d found a way round and were parked, illegally but temporarily, outside Back Brae Lodge where we unloaded our luggage before finding a legal parking spot after downing a pint of Guinness in the Mishnish Pub. By then, 2:30pm, we were clear to occupy our home for the next week.

Now all we need is improvement in the weather.

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