’t know it, but a million midgies exsanguinated
me last weekend, only now starting to itch less. I think I got the worst of these on our side-trip along the banks of Loch Voil
on Saturday evening to see the kirk with yews (burial place of Rob Roy and his family). We were turned away for a meal at the end of this track, but stopped off along the banks to find the now obvious crannogs
at every turn, bee orchids, unusual ferns amongst the birch woods.
After my trashing by white wine and pool on Saturday night, we took a more modest breakfast Sunday morn, then took off again over the Duke's Pass for our early appointment on the Loch Katrine ferry from Trossachs
pier to Stronachlachar
and back. Despite the forecast for storms, Loch Katrine was a mirror, ripple-free, all the way out to Stronachlachar
, providing the most aesthetically beautifully optical illusions. The captain's commentary, lifted from his guidebook (R. buys every guide going, with educational benefits), was idiosyncratic, of the purple school of prose, and uplifting in the best possible way.
We're the bad girls at the back of the bus, reading out purple paragraphs from the guidebook whilst astounded at the scenery, and corpsing
to hear the cap'n's
abrupt pronouncements over the tannoy
. Unless I'm a Dutch uncle, the Factor's Isle at Stronachlachar
was originally a crannog
, about which they promote a story about Rob Roy (the Scottish Robin Hood) holding there a landlord for ransom.
The tourism agency has decided that Rob Roy is the hook for the Murrcan
tourists, and if I heard one more word about him I would puke. He's grown a Walter Scott spin (much like Mel Gibson's Braveheart
) I can do without. Gimme a crannog anyday
But on Saturday, I'd forced R. to stop at the Rob Roy Motel between Callendar
, to view their much-boasted New Tartan Room. They were holding a wedding function that night so we couldn't decently intrude more than to peer in the windows to behold its true plastic tartan glory before being (rightly) chased off.
After our cruise, we had to pass back to Aberfoyle
to drop off the forgotten keys for our room at the Inn, then on to the Lake of Menteith
. The heavens opened on that run, forcing us to enjoy a simple and delicious lunch at the Hotel by the shores, and more old yews guarding the kirkyard.
It being a high season weekend, we had to wait at the quayside for our motorboat to make its return journey from Inchmaholme
, allowing time to PeepTom a flycatcher (with splendid yellow waistcoat) along with the always entertaining dance of the pied wagtails. Pumped up on one glass of prosecco
, we were so indelicate as to cheer for being the last 2 admitted on that boat-capacity: most un
-Edinburgh. Then disgraced ourselves further by cheering and punching the air again when Historic Scotland's sailor guide informed us his cursive route from the pier to the island was due to a submerged…crannog
We were beginning to hit heavy weather on the run home that evening, but I'll never regret the sidetrip
R. encouraged to The Pineapple at Dunmore
- a feat of folly architecture seldom rivalled.
Thank fuck R. (used to tropical storms) was driving as the monsoon hit on the homeward motorway. Without her fortitude and commonsense, we'd be in a ditch now. Or are we there already? In the gutter, looking at the stars.