Atmospheric Places

It’s been a great weekend. Sometimes last minute plans are the best kind of plans, especially those which you don’t really plan at all but instead choose to go completely with the flow. I’m the first to admit that this isn’t something which comes naturally to me – I’m an organiser to the core, and I’m married to someone who similarly favours schedules and itineraries. And yet this weekend we headed away, a spur of the moment trip, with no forward-planning of what we might get up to or what we might see.

It was brilliant.

So, where did we go for our weekend escape?

Beautiful Bute lies just off the west coast of Scotland, a short ferry journey across the Firth of Clyde. I last visited Bute as a child in the late nineties and have vague but happy memories of hot summer days along the seafront in the island’s main town, Rothesay (why is it that childhood summers were always long and hot?). I have always wanted to go back and revisit the island, to enjoy the scenery and to do some serious walking (I wasn’t quite as keen on that as a child).

And wow, did we walk?! On Saturday we decided to do an 8 kilometre/5 mile walk called the Kilchattan Bay circular. As the name suggests, this walk is a circuit which begins and ends at Kilchattan Bay at the south of the island. The walk forms part of the West Island Way and took us along rugged and rocky coastline, up small hills (since Bute is fairly low-lying) and along a lot of pretty boggy ground! It also took us via St Blane’s Church, the ruins of a twelfth century chapel.

Walking on the Isle of Bute in the lethargic winter daylight was a different but utterly magical experience. The views were incredible, both on the island and out to sea, with the snow-capped hills of the neighbouring Isle of Arran in the distance. The weather was cloudy and grey but that only made it more atmospheric. I just loved the sense of being in the wilderness – we literally didn’t see another living soul for hours. And it did take us hours – the route is estimated to take about 3 hours but it took us nearer to 4 to complete, mainly because the soggy conditions underfoot slowed us down (clearly Bute has seen a lot of rainfall recently!).

So all in all, it was pretty awesome. I have perhaps mentioned before that I find a lot of inspiration in nature, in getting out in the country and surrounding myself with beautiful places. I will often take photographs or simply commit certain images to memory, recalling them at a later date to use as backgrounds or settings for my writing. No doubt this will be true of yesterday’s walk on Bute. However, while I was walking, something else occurred to me. In so many ways that little piece of the island reminded me of Ethersay; it was like walking through images and settings in a world I had already created. It was quite a strange feeling, like I was seeing my imagination reflected back at me.

Tonight I’m going to finish sorting through my photos. I’m also going to put my feet up, because muscles I didn’t know I had are feeling pretty achy and tired. It’s a good sort of tired, though. The tiredness which comes after having fun, after enjoying fresh air and atmospheric places.


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