Sunday, April 18, 2010

Footprint Finally Underway Again - Loch Linnhe

Kyle enjoying moving at last

[Kyle]After Florida, I had a really easy week at work with a good crew, including a wonderful night of live Irish music at the Old Triangle in Moncton, NB. As usually happens on this 30 hr layover, after sleeping in from the night before, it is almost impossible to force myself to fall asleep early enough to be well rested for the 5am ride to the airport the next day. I did alright during the day, but by the time my flight to Glasgow left that night, I was flagging. I got an aisle seat next to a couple of ladies who kept ordering drink after drink and then getting up to use the lavatory every twenty minutes through the whole flight. No sooner would I nod off than one of them would jab me in the ribs and brusquely tell me to get up, already looming over me. It was clear my choices were to either get up or be plowed over.

Once in Scotland, I kept nodding off while waiting for my buses home. I couldn’t let myself sleep because I didn’t want to miss them. Once on the bus, I finally succumbed. I don’t even remember leaving the station. I woke to the sound of my own snoring about an hour and a half later and did a quick, embarrassed scan of the bus for any amused or annoyed faces. Everybody else seemed lost in their own business. At least they were pretending not to notice me. I managed to stay up for the rest of the very pretty ride to Dunstaffnage, realizing this would be my last trip down this road in a while, maybe forever.

Maryanne met me at the bus stop. She had just arrived home from the grocery store and hadn’t even had time to stow everything yet. I needed to get the rig tuned before we left. I hadn’t done it when we went in the water because Maryanne was planning to re-bed the chainplates and needed to disconnect everything to do so.

By the time I was done, tools and parts and the detritus from Maryanne’s provisioning expedition were strewn all over the boat. We had to clear space to even sit and have dinner. I wanted to get everything all shipshape and tidy, but after a couple of days with no sleep, I just didn’t have it in me. We looked the other way and went to bed.

Oh how I hate waking up to a dirty boat. With a clean boat, the whole day is spread out before me as possibilities. With a grubby boat, I know what I’m going to be doing – cleaning. Bah! I was sitting there trying to enjoy my morning coffee when everything that I could see was a reminder that I was going to be busy all morning doing stuff I didn’t want. Double bah!

I was thus in a foul mood as I chipped away at the impenetrable pile. What a great vacation, I thought. Why do we have so much crap? Why can’t we find a place to put anything? Stomp, slam, stomp, slam! Maryanne was extremely patient with me and just quietly went to the other corner of the boat and made it look beautiful so that, just as I thought I was halfway through, I looked up to see the job was done. Much better! Now we can get going.

So we did. We left Dunstaffnage and headed northeast up the Lynn of Lorn towards a village with the wonderfully Scottish name of Ballachulish (the c is silent). We had to motor as there wasn’t enough wind to even make our flags twitch, but the day was gorgeous. There was not a cloud in the sky and the water was a crisp reflection of everything above it. We made our third pass past Castle Aaargh and entered new territory for Footprint. Maryanne and I had been here a few times before on what has to be one of the prettiest roads in Scotland. On one of my first trips to Scotland after meeting her, we stayed in a B&B on that road. I remember looking out the window at the Great Glen and thinking it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Now, years later, we were making our way up the same glen in our own boat, a boat that we sailed all the way here. There’s going to be a lot of that in the coming days. Many years ago when our relationship was still young, Maryanne and I pretty much covered the whole length of the Great Glen between Oban and Inverness on various car trips. Over the next few days, we’ll be doing it in our own boat. I can’t begin to describe how cool that is to me. I keep thinking that I can’t believe that we’re really here, we’re really back.

To top it all off, we passed under the Ballachulish Bridge at the mouth of Loch Leven and, after finding nowhere suitable to anchor, were offered a mooring at the anchorage on the northern shore, nestled between rocky islets. Every time Maryanne and I have been to Ballachulish, we have walked out on the bridge to take pictures and gasp at the view and every time I have looked at that anchorage and thought there could be no prettier place on earth to keep a boat. Now we’re here swinging on a mooring in that very anchorage. It is unbelievably pretty here. Don’t try to believe it. You can’t. It’s unbelievably pretty. The mountains launch out of the water and climb at ever and ever steeper angles to the tops. At the tree line, the forest gives way to heather and then tundra and then bare rock. In the distance, framed by the glen are even bigger mountains, their tops still covered with snow.

Then the sun started going down and everything got all orange. It’s almost too much to take.

Ballachulish Bridge at sunset

1 comment:

Mommy Dearest said...

Just as it was with your first dolphin sightings and your unhinged laughter at Maryanne's cry for *help* while you were washing the windows, your reaction to your surroundings is at least as enjoyable as the surroundings themselves. What a shame that some people would see that beauty and pass along, worried how long before they can park the car and find something to eat. This beauty is not lost on either of you and you, Kyle, especially, have a way of describing things the rest of us would probably simply have to call breathtaking and let it go at that.

Of course that boat was going to get tidied up in no time--don't you know that by now?