My trip to Scotland is looming. The job which was to pay for it is still in abeyance, mainly due to the weather, and the van is stuck at home because I the sliding door doesn’t work properly. Even if I have to get a new door, it has to be fixed soon, because in just over 4 weeks, on 2nd May, I will set out very early to get a few miles under the bonnet before breakfast. I’m not a natural driver and since I can’t listen to the radio it gets tedious, so I break up the day with meal and coffee breaks. My first destination is Caerlaverock, near Dumfries. Being an enthusiastic member and supporter of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, I have visited most of their reserves, but not this one. There seems to be a campsite right on the estuary, but they only give a phone number so I’ll have to take pot luck on that. I’m sure there will be places nearby.
The next destination has nothing to do with birds! It’s a place I have visited before in May 2014: Easdale, a confusing name for a tiny, level island near Oban. This is from Wikipedia:
Once a centre of the British slate industry, Easdale had a community of more than 500 working as many as seven quarries, some of which extended to 300 feet (91 m) below sea level. Easdale slate helped to build major cities of the British Empire and can still be seen on rooftops as far afield as Melbourne, Nova Scotia, Dunedin and Dublin. The great storm of 1850 flooded most of the quarries. Lacking any means of pumping the water away, the slate industry on the island more or less came to an abrupt end.
It’s a truly interesting and beautiful place, but that’s not why I’m going there either. The road through the larger island of Seil runs out at Ellenabeich which is a fascinating place in itself:
However, On the 2014 trip I had a few hours to kill once its attractions had been explored so I took the little ferry boat over to the slate island. The ferry men have this little stone bothy on the Easdale side, with some chairs outside:
I exchanged a few words with him, and that brief encounter became the seed of a novel I have been trying to write ever since. It is set in a fictionalised ‘Caledonia’ in the near future, and I have the main character born and brought up on the island. The story begins in the middle of its time-span and is then told from both ends of the time span, one element moving forward from the past, the other moving backwards from the future until they again meet in the middle . No wonder I’m finding it difficult!
For a few days I will be wandering around the area thinking about my plot, but then I take the ferry to Mull and the search for eagles begins.