Friday, 18 May 2012

Long John Silver eat your heart out

FRIDAY - Six find treasure

What a WONDERFUL finale today turned out to be.

Last breakfast round the huge table, all so sad to be at the end of this amazing week and wondering how to spend this final day of sunshine.

Then Gillian suddenly dropped in the golden ticket suggestion - we might like Erraid.  An island on the tip of the Ross of Mull accessible over the sands at low tide.  We could park in her mate John's field and very few people go there . . . . .

So, it was over to the Fionnphort ferry cafe for more butties from Teresa then off along the single track road over beautiful open moorland with the Sound of Iona blue on one side and hills gently rolling on the other.  Past the sandy inlet where we'd seen the mountain hares with Bryan and onward and upward to the end of the farm track at Fidden.

Then it was just a hop, skip and a jump (for joy) onto the most amazing incredible fantastic beach ever!

lunar patterns in the sand 

And is if that wasn't enough, it turned out the whole island was ours for the day.

Didn't see another living soul.

Wondered far and wide across the granite strewn landscape with absolutely no footpaths.  Huge erratically dumped white boulders, steep drops high above rocky bays, incredible views across the deeper blues of the Atlantic and white beaches below bordered with basalt columns.

Sang at the top of our voices as we marched along - got lost loads, squelched in peaty bogs, scrunched through heather, clambered up rocks and got blown to bits by gusty sea breezes.

Even found ancient hut circles.

And all around the horizon loads of little islands dotted out to America.  Absolute bliss

 After a couple of hours we headed back to the bay we'd arrived at but it took some finding

and found this incredible rocky cove on the virgin sand to have our picnic.

Paradise . . . that was until the tide came in around us and we had to up-butties and hop to safety

past the amazing shipwreck

And that was when we spied the gigantic burrows . . .

Here is Miss Marple investigating

and footprints too

and then, walking back up to the farm, our first sign that humans had ventured here before us 

or was he the guy from the giant burrow . . . he retained his right to remain silent so we shall never know - but he was cute!  The jury is currently still out on the footprints, but we're voting for either otters or mountain hare.  Votes in the comments box at the bottom please.

We joked as we drove back that we'd found our own Treasure Island - a Robert Louis Stevenson / Enid Blyton / Famous Five / Secret Seven sort of a day.

but wait to hear this . . . .

Later, back at Ardness House, it was a quick google to bring up the amazing discovery that it really was Treasure Island!!!!!  Robert Louis Stevenson's father was a lighthouse builder and he was building the Dubh Artach lighthouse off Erraid between 1867 and 1872 when our Robert was just a young lad.  So of course, Robert spent visits with his family on Erraid, loving the landscape and the huge granite rocks and wandering around the island fervently wishing he could be a writer and not a builder of lighthouses, so the story goes.

He subsequently used Erraid as a backdrop to part of his novel Kidnapped, where the hero, David Balfour is shipwrecked on the Torran Rocks and washed ashore and in Treasure Island, Jack Hawkin's chart bears a resemblance to Erraid. 

So basically, when he wrote Treasure Island and Kidnapped he based chunks of them in Erraid.  Isn't that just incredible.

I'm probably boring you rigid with this - cos I kept on reading I was so amazed.  But to keep it short I'll just put in some webpages you can click and read if you feel the urge:

more about Erraid  more about Treasure Island - - - and even more

and if you really want a detailed piece of research on the history or Erraid, try here.

And Andrew Motion has just published his sequel to Treasure Island (read reveiw here
So that was our most wonderful final day on Mull and, for our last supper, more amazing fresh mussels, copious wine, lots of laughs and final hugs from Gillian, who was off to the market at 5am the next morning selling calves in Oban.

There'll be a final report on our journey home tomorrow if you have the energy to read more then click here

oh and yes, as Colombo would say, just one more thing . . .

this is going to sound so soft and corny - but we did find real treasure.  It was in each other's wonderful company and friendship in one amazing week in May.


  1. The footprints look like Sheep to me but the hole may just be an Otter holt!

  2. oh wow - thanks for identifying Bryan - fantastic if it was an otter holt!! There were a few of these holes along the bank