Thursday, 25 October 2007

The most spectacular view in the entire universe! Perhaps.

Ok, there are other views in the world. But this one imprinted itself in a teenagers memory that lasted all his days.

You had to get to Mallaig by Saturday otherwise you were cooked. No ferry on Sunday. That meant you could not get to your first climb in the Cuillins before Monday afternoon.

As a lad of 17 I used to race up the Great North Road, hitching rides on lorries to try to make it before the last ferry, and I never did. Not once. But it didn't matter.

I spent all Sunday pitched in the tent above Arisaig and just kept looking at the view. Looking endlessly at the view across those golden sands and rocks. That view, looking out over the Inner Islands I've never forgotten in over fifty years.

Usually the sunsets covered the entire North West sky in a 180 degree arc the other side of those mountains I was headed for. You can see the self same sunsets from the living room at Ach na Skia.

The view has not altered for 40,000,000 years. Yes, that's the right number of zeros since the last volcanic eruption in Ardnamurchan nearby which formed this stunning landscape. You can still see the outline of the crater if you go there.

Sheila's cottage and lodges are in the most stunning area. But they offer a family playground, too, with slides and swings for the youngsters, and a playroom if it ever gets mildly damp, as it does occasionally. The croft cottage and lodges in Arisaig on Scotland's West coast

Here also is the little 9 hole Traigh golf course. You can lose your ball in the water here and not feel the least bit upset as you look out with wonder across Rhum, Eigg, Skye, you can imagine Newfoundland as the next stop once you get past the islands. Who cares about a little ball?

Here also is the most brilliant canoeing area, safe, too, from rapids, but with the occasional four foot breaking wave to add excitement. The Morar sands, world-famous, few people about, rock hopping for everyone. What a place!

Oh, and did I mention the real Monster in Loch Morar nearby? Oh yes, not like puffed up monster stories from other places, this female one is really there. Those fishing for brown trout in this freshwater loch will tell you about Morag.

I nearly forgot watching Whales and Dolphins playing around your boat as you go on a little day cruise out of the Harbour as Gillian and I did. You'll drop off parcels and post on the Small Islands, of course. This is the West Coast after all, it is what people do.

Go to Ach na Skia, you'll get a fine, warm welcome from Sheila. Off-season with no one about it is magical. The blog site for Ach na Skia with personal stories

Ps This is a little-known insider tip. If you want to know more about hitch-hiking up the Great North Road in days of yore, ask an expert. Such as Sheila..

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