Wednesday 18 March 2009

Kerrera from Oban

sunset over Kerrera from Oban
There are two fantastic rail stations in Glasgow. After docking at Glasgow Central we walk round the corner to the compact Glasgow Queen Street. I'm struck by the stone work of the buildings and pavements, glowing in the morning sun, reminding me of Prague. People are rushing to work, we stand and watch.

Catching the 8:21 to Oban we roll for 20 minutes through some of the most depressing looking housing in Europe. Grey, dank, peeling blocks; randomly erected. Then, bursting through some trees: water and hills. We run along the Loch, past sand flats, distant trees, an imperceptible horizon. The sun breaks out. In a sinuous rising and lowering line three hours long, we pass through steep hills, look over to snow streaked mountains, skim lochs, cut through forests. The default landscape being grey rock, bent brown fern, moss and spindly trees. These basic ingredients are repeated over and over again in unique patterns.

After the usual wrong turns with the back-breaking bags we find a small door for the Jeremy Inglis hostel. Passing through a second door, we ascend some stairs to a buzzer by a pink door. A nice European girl answers, still half asleep, she hands over a key, telling us to go up another two floors, unlock a yellow door then go to room D. A bit Kafka, but with bright colours. Room D presents a quandary. There are two sets of bedding. Which is clean, which is dirty? Further questions arise. Where are the curtains? Which blind Slav painted these terrible pictures? Luckily, the first question is answered by a kindly Scottish lady who comes in to make the bed. T is not overly impressed. Our room also has a sink, mirror, chair, stool, table, heater, plug socket and electricity meter. At least a dozen windows look into our uncovered window so I hastily MacGyver an orange blanket into a make-shift curtain over the old stretchy wire.

We wander up the walled coastal road to the small, sandy bay at Dunollie. A single swan half walks, half swims in the shallows. On the way, we look across to back-lit Kerrera. The first island on the itinerary. It fills the bay at Oban, beckoning us. After a lazy stop at the Oban Chocolate Co. we plod uphill to McCaig's Tower. At the lookout we watch the sun drop almost vertically behind Kerrera. The colour drains from the sky and we head off to try and find Tesco.


Brian said...

Looks lovely and peaceful, what a great place to relax in..X

Brian said...
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