We had a very sociable second half of August, something we always enjoy.
Friends from Sussex were having a holiday touring Scotland and had managed to squeeze in a night on Rum to their very hectic schedule. Due to our ferry schedule and their adventures being by way of public transport their original plan to spend a whole day and night on Rum and see some of our island home didn’t work out and they ended up spending just 15 hours on Rum, most of them asleep! In order to maximise the time with them I hopped aboard the ferry on it’s outward journey from Rum first thing on the Saturday morning, touring all four Small Isles before calling back to Mallaig and then doing the islands again in reverse finally arriving back on Rum 10 hours later. It was an epic day at sea, much of it in rather stormy waters as it was a windy day, but well worth it for half of the trip being in the company of our lovely friends.
I did some crochet, read some of my book, spent some time chatting to various people on board and did a bit of wildlife spotting although it was mostly too choppy to see anything. There was a period of about 90 minutes when I felt as though I was part of a zombie movie as everyone else on board was staggering about and groaning. I think the only non-seasick people were me and a woman from Switzerland who I’d been chatting to earlier about ‘over-tourism’ and that was because she was asleep and snoring loudly. I am very glad to be in position of pretty good sea legs, particularly as neither my mother or daughter have them so it clearly doesn’t run in my family.
The rest of the family joined us for an evening meal and a condensed socialising time together before wishing our friends well on their continuing travels around Scotland. At least the prolonged ferry trip all around the Small Isles meant they saw Rum from all angles at sea even if they didn’t get to explore much of the island itself. Haste ye back, we’d love to show you more of our home.
A few days later we were off adventuring ourselves. Croftsitter Jen was here for what must surely be edging close to double figures of visits and we were off with stuffed rucksacks on a 12 hour journey to Northern Ireland. A ferry, a car club drive (with a swap over from me driving to Ady driving way later than I’d planned as I’d wanted to swap before the scary bit through Glasgow!), a second ferry across the Irish Sea and a drive to our friends’ house, arriving in the early hours. Fortunately the early hours is peak awake time for teens so Davies and Scarlett were straight into their socialising. We managed tea and toast before retiring for the night like proper middle aged people.
We were staying with friends who we manage to spend a fair amount of time with despite two ferry trips and several hundred miles between us. Our family friendship began about 15 years ago between C and myself on an early-days-of-the-internet message chat forum and has changed to a real life friendship with our children – then just infants, now approaching adulthood themselves now firm friends too. Our lives are very different to each others and in the same way as a visit to Rum is an escape from the rat race and work pressures for them when they come here we had a fantastic time stepping back into all of the delights of a busy town within easy distance of a city has to offer.
Ady and Davies finally got to see the Giants Causeway, a trip which had been put off earlier in the year due to bad weather. Their experience of the Carrick Reid rope bridge will have to wait til another time though as it closed due to high winds while we were actually standing next to it waiting for our chance to cross. Scarlett and I (having already done it last year) are determined we will get them across it one day though. We visited the cinema (Incredibles 2), 2 iconic Belfast city pubs (McHughs for the Irish music session and the Crown, where we were fortunate to get a snug) for Guinness and Baileys and Irish whiskey and Irish gin, we had a day trip to the beach for ice creams, a takeaway pizza dinner and went ice skating. A full couple of months worth of excitement and treats in just a week.
It was a fabulous trip and a really memorable return visit to Northern Ireland which we have now been to in both summer and winter. An equally epic return trip saw us leave our friends at 10pm for the midnight sailing to Scotland, drive up the country via the supermarkets of Fort William to meet the afternoon sailing to Rum from Mallaig arriving home at 2pm. The teens managed to nap part of the way in the car but Ady and I barely snatched half an hour sleep while we pulled over just after sun rise in Glen Coe. It was an early night all round back on Rum.
This weekend we’ve seen August out and September in with Croftsitter Jen able to stay a couple of extra nights as a friend rather than a croftsitter – lovely to be able to cook dinner for her and spend time hanging out hearing about her planned adventures. And to get a helping hand from from her on catching up on bramble picking too after a week away at the start of the bramble season. We did sterling work and this afternoon Scarlett and I made 52 jars of jam which are all now labelled up and ready to go on sale in the shed, nicely topping up the rather depleted stocks after a very good season.
It’s good to be home, even if (as you’ll soon be reading) it’s not for long as we’re off again on continued adventures very, very soon.