As the song says, "the weather outside is frightful ...and since we've no place to go" let's remember somewhere we've been.
Oban. Before the visit I only knew it from Alan Warner's Sopranos and the guide books weren't entirely complimentary so maybe not the best destination for a landmark birthday? The weather wasn't auspicious either as clouds gathered, but at least the Rest and be Thankful was open. Alt na Craig house proved to be a great find once we did. Lovely big room with a view over the harbour. Ah but the view, it was getting a bit less lovely as the clouds had followed us in. Dinner was booked at Coast, a nice walk into town, we were offered a taxi but declined, we also forgot the umbrella. Or rather we remembered the umbrella just a little too far on to make it seem worthwhile turning back. Then the rain started. Big plops, slowly at first but soon finding their stride. By the time we arrived at the restaurant I looked fresh from the shower. My mood wasn't the best, even after a session with the hot air blower in the bathroom. Poor Mr Starke, it was his birthday.
I needn't have worried, the food and surroundings cheered me up and we left to clear skies. Our walk back was much happier, even tho it was uphill. And so to bed.
Next day and for the rest of our stay, the sun shone. Perhaps the fairies came and looked kindly on us. When they do it's hard to believe there are more beautiful places than the west coast of Scotland.
On our trip to Kerrara did we disturb their more mischievous kin? We'd missed a turning on the path to Gylen castle and were resting enjoying the view, suddenly the sheep began to run as a huge hairy goat materialised. Alarmingly it ran towards us, sitting quite close to the cliff edge, over which it seemed to disappear. Was it my shakes that stopped me taking a picture? Later looking back to our perch from Gylen castle, no goats could be seen. Our nerves were settled by tea and cake from the Kerrara tearoom. There was even a puppy to play with ( no Dogstarke back then ).
Exploring Oban we bought chocolate and whisky, scrambled around Dunollie castle tho' never made it up the hill to McCaig's tower and bought fresh fish on the seafront. Car free we sailed to Mull and visited Duart castle. Enjoying a dram outside we watched the Laird, his Lady and their dog brambling.
Back in town we ate well, never a bad meal in fact. And what could be better than delicious seafood from Ee-usk watching the lights of The Lord of the Isles coming in to dock? A Cal-Mac ferry has never before seemed so romantic.
Then all too soon, time to go home. The long drive east. Through the rain.