Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It is always about this time of year that a tremendous hankering comes upon me to visit Mull and blether to my mother whose ashes we scattered near Pennyghael a long time ago. I don’t know why Mull has such a pull because though she was born there I associate and remember her more from Lochaline in Morvern, and when the pair of us used to go up north it’s there we headed for, as most of her own childhood memories and acquaintances were focused there. We used to rent a cottage from the Glasgow Morvern Association and walk through Kinlochaline and Ardtornish Estate to the castle on the point.

Since we were mostly poor we went the long way to get there- across the Ballachulish ferry, then across the Corran ferry on a gruesome single track road to Strontian then Lochaline. It was quicker but more expensive to go from Oban to Craignure, or Lochaline on the car ferry. At least I presume that’s why we always went the long way. Maybe there was another reason: a romance with small ferries maybe. Nowadays of course there’s a bridge at Ballachulish but the Corran Ferry is till there. Last time I tried to get there by that route was in the great year of madness- 1997?-when Eric Booth Moodiecliffe, (see below), who was driving, had a strange back spasm near Benderloch and we had to go home, via St Andrew’s and Hawick (don’t ask).

I think Mull is the target because I have my own layer of crazed memories now and also Mull has traditionally been a place visited as much in the mind as by the ferry. This year my pal Paterson and I intend to go to Mull to watch the Scotland Italy game. This is a proposition that in common with nearly all schemes involving Paterson, is impossible to achieve, or, at least, even if the gigantic logistical problems are overcome, has so many terrible consequences that it is hardly worth anyone of sensible mind contemplating. So that’s what we’re doing. Other completely impossible feats have been achieved in the past, after all. I need only think of the Dumfries to Tobermory on a fiver expedition which involved a landslide, a 22 mile walk in the middle of the night, a riotous night at Ian Crichton Smith’s house and the Taynuilt Highland Games.

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