Sunday was my last full day with Rebekka and Philippe before having to head home. Because of that I really wanted it to be special but things conspired against me. I woke up in my little tent decidedly wind-blown and damp. Rather than risk it blowing away during the day I took it down and put it back in the car; I could pitch it again in the evening for my last night. We were staying in and around Oban for the day and camping in the same place that evening, so it wasn't even as if we were going to be discovering a new patch or anything. The rain was relentless as we drove into Oban for breakfast. In the cafe I told Rebekka that I was officially grumpy today because of the weather and feeling down and not knowing what to do for the best and not knowing what to do to entertain them and...and she gave me a great big long hug which made me feel so much better.
After breakfast we drove up to McCaig's Tower which has a view out over the town to the sea and the Isle of Mull beyond, or at least, it would have if the sky hadn't been so full of water.
|The ferry to Mull from McCaig's Tower.|
As luck would have it, because I had a car with me, it meant that we could go off and tackle things that the VW campervan, Kyla, just wouldn't have been up to. One of those things was a visit to Loch Awe. There is a road that goes right around the loch and we decided that, in the absence of anything more exciting to do, it might be an idea to do that drive. Once on that road it became very apparent very quickly that we weren't going to see very much apart from the dripping trees and the grey sky every now and then. But we had all day. At one point I saw a place to pull in and have a break and just as I stopped the car it was like entering the eye of the storm, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared away and we had a few moments to see what it was all about. This was our cue for a little project we had planned.
|First of all I had to prove that The Birthday Bear had been on holiday too, so wearing my (ironic) sunglasses he had a bit of a pose. Then it was time for the main event. |
|A photo session with Philippe in his kilt|
|A Highland man if ever there was one. |
|Rebekka almost swooned but recovered enough to be able to celebrate being with her Highlander. |
|I think this is my favourite photo from the whole trip, these are my very special friends and this is the Rebekka that I met and instantly connected with in New Zealand, Rebekka who I adore as a friend and who I have a special bond with, Rebekka whose friendship means so much to me, and Philippe who I have come to regard as a real 'mate' and who accepts me as being important to Rebekka. And all that means so much to me that I can't put it into words. And most important of all, don't they look good together?|
|Back in Oban, this is McCaig's Tower from the harbour.|
|After a meal, and back at the campsite, we went for a walk to take in a bit of the coastline. The stormy weather had died down a bit and allowed the odd break. These next photos, by the way, were taken late at night, long after it had got dark back down south but still light up here in the northern half of Scotland.|
|The sun going down behind the hills of the island of Kerrera|
|And in the opposite direction, a rainbow.|
|Next morning, after a coffee, goodbyes and hugs, I was away and on the road just after eight. I had a long, long way to go. I stopped at a very fortunate layby to take this photo of a tumbling waterfall.|
I didn't have the best journey. For various reasons (including stopping the traffic on the motorway south of Glasgow for the local authority to....cut the grass) I was still just in Scotland six hours later. It was very tiring but I plodded on. Once I got back into England I could make better time. I wasn't actually going home. My aunt lives at Welshpool just on the Welsh side of Shropshire and I had planned to break my journey with her and complete the journey home the next morning. I was so glad that I did because it took me ten hours driving to reach her and then it was a further three and a half hours to get back to Somerset the following day.
I slept well that night, on a real bed that I had enough room to sit up on and could guarantee my clothes being dry when I came to put them on in the morning. I had had a great time but it was good to get back south and to find warmth and sunshine again. I would go again like a shot but I would like to order some variety to the weather next time. What makes me feel really bad is that, following weather reports since I came home, it seems that the bad, wet, stormy, windy weather had followed Rebekka and Philippe wherever they have gone. I have had a mental image of a little cartoon campervan negotiating highlands and coasts and all the time it has had a black cloud hanging over it with little rain lines pouring down on it wherever it was. I haven't been in touch with Rebekka and Philippe since I left them and they will be heading back to Switzerland this coming week-end. I think I ought to phone and tell them it isn't always like that, and that sometimes the sun really does shine on the greatest British country of them all. Scotland, why did you pour on my friends' holiday in the way that you did? My heart goes out to them.