Across Continents

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Heading south

The road south from Oban towards Lochgilphead is an ‘A’ road, although with all its twists and turns, and some cheeky little climbs, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.  It was also wet.  Very wet.  A supposedly brief stop at the Quaich Cafe in Kilmelford late in the morning easily became an early lunch.  The seafood chowder wasn’t quite ready, but I could wait.  Caroline ran the cafe, and Anne the well-stocked shop below it.  I chatted to Caroline for a good while.  We soon stumbled on my favourite hostelry north of Loch Lomond that prided itself on its supposed Scottish authenticity.  She quickly guessed where I meant.  I suggested that Scotland was a justly proud nation with a distinct national character.  It did not need to resort to such gimmikry.

I continued south, enjoying a much brighter afternoon.  A brief stop in Lochgilphead.  Then Tarbert.  A police officer loitered on a street corner.  At least you could see him.  I toyed with camping on the mainland and catching the early morning ferry to Arran, but quickly succumbed to the challenge of making the last sailing that night.

Claonaig ferry terminal

Claonaig ferry terminal

I’m not sure what I expected to find at the Claonaig, a few cottages perhaps.  But in the end there was just the slipway, a small shelter and a toilet that resembled a sea container.  Nobody wanted to leave Arran that evening, at least, no one got off the ferry, not a single car or foot passenger.  Embarkation was brief, just myself, a car and a camper van.  I wandered around the vessel.  A sign in the elongated passenger cabin advised that there was a toilet on the upper deck.  Was there also a bidet I wondered?  Probably.  In rough weather.


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