The lifting of the wildlife jinx does not extend to allowing us a glimpse of the red deer that others have seen on our site. It is too late now as today we are leaving to head for North Ledaig site, just north of Oban. For some time we travel behind a tanker belonging to the firm Grant Henderson. It is clearly a Scottish company but their website has been registered in Italy. If I tell you that the first part of their URL is http://www.wemovesh. you may understand why. There is evidence of new building along our route. Most of this is Scandinavian in style and I suspect destined for second home owners.
Our site is spectacular and there are no difficulties with us having arrived an hour early. Despite only being here for four nights and the site being full we have a premier pitch, within yards of the sea, giving us amazing views across Ardmucknish Bay towards the island of Mull. The sun is shining and I can even forgive the lack of internet. I do have to add that the wind is rivalling Hurricane Bertha, either that or it is Hurricane Bertha, so it isn’t exactly sunbathing weather.
We go to see what Oban has to offer, passing some prestigious marinas and securing the last parking space in the car park. MacCaig’s monument towers over the town. This coliseum style, unfinished tower was constructed in 1897, giving work to unemployed stonemasons. At sea is a replica Viking longboat but no one seems to fear invasion. Oban is a busy, horseshoe shaped harbour and the annual raft race is about to begin. We discuss the potential seaworthiness and navigability of the entries. The back end of a long thin series of oil drums, piloted by four spidermen, gradually disappears underwater, until the oarsman at the back is barely visible. Tesco’s entry, which looks like a polystyrene pallet, takes a long time to get going but bravely completes the course. Chris’ seagoing experience enables him to successfully pick the winners. Four men in luminous yellow onsies, in charge of this entry from Autoglass, are first by some considerable margin. In the audience there is a lady with mauve hair who has two rats on he shoulders, I guess it takes all sorts. We are sat next to a couple with a white German Shepherd dog. Every one of the crowd who pass ask what breed the dog is. The owner answers patiently numerous times but must be tempted to hang a notice round her pet’s neck.
We enjoy resting in the sunny van enjoying our stupendous view and watching the sunset over Mull.
The awful weather that we were expecting on Friday has arrived two days late. Yesterday’s wind has dropped but there is a great deal of rain. We splash off to Inveraray Castle, the prestigious home of the Dukes of Argyll. The Duke is the chief of Clan Campbell and we have learned that the Campbells have not always been universally popular. The current ‘castle’, along with the town of Inveraray, was created in 1746 by the then Duke to replace the former defensive castle. The fact that they didn’t feel the need for a defensive structure at this time says plenty about the Campbells. The armoury contains 1300 pikes, muskets and swords and is thought to be the highest room in Scotland. It seems even the homes of the aristocracy have problems with damp and we learn that this has been the case since the roof had to be a replaced following a fire. The Georgian style is augmented by some Victoriana as Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise married a future Duke of Argyll when he was Marquis of Lorne. As always I find ‘downstairs’ more interesting than ‘upstairs’ and they have sugar cones and a smoke powered jack for turning the spit. I guess this works a little like the historic Christmas ‘angel chimes’. The rain even eased up long enough fo us to take a quick turn around the garden.
Back at the site I manage to tap into some local internet. I have been given the necessary password, although my attempt at guessing it was only one character out! I almost wish I hadn’t been told the secret as this is the most excruciatingly slow connection in the world and my emails gradually come through in tens before it drops out altogether.