A winter in Argyll – part five

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In this edition, we conclude our serialisation of a short story by an Edinburgh writer with an enduring love for Mid Argyll.
We hope you have enjoyed reading it over the past few weeks.
By Carolyn McKerracher

At a talk in Lochgilphead Joint Campus, I heard John Aitchison talk about the Blue Planet, whilst reminding us all to rejoice in the bountiful wildlife right here in Argyll.

And, of course, I wrote.

Not only on my own, but at a night class at Argyll College, enthusiastically led by author Marian Pallister and encouraged by a host of talented classmates, most of whom will continue after Easter.

I saw Local Hero in the MAYDS youth centre cosy sitting room and even made it to Screen Machine, securing the last seat for Murder on the Orient Express from someone who hadn’t managed to make it. I only hope they had had a better offer that evening and they weren’t caught up in some Agatha Christie drama of their own.

I shopped locally. The veg shop, the deli, the art shop, the excellent bookshop, the antiques shop, the flower shop, the Salty Dog and the Rumblin’ Tum.

When I couldn’t find dad’s cousin’s house, I popped into the estate agents and met some relatives on the other side of the family. I swam lengths in one of the few pools that still has a proper deep end. I visited local artists. I hit it off with Louise Oppenheimer, landscape weaver and home baker extraordinaire.

I met Fraser MacIver and watched him work methodically, slate by slate, on his next local composition. I sought out Rob Walker, after I was struck (not literally) by one of his magical sea-contour inspired paintings on display in the Corryvreckan pub in Oban. And I need to come back for one of Kate MacDonald’s masterclasses in sewing.

I’ve had sunshine, rain (of course), hail, snow, wind and no midges. Red skies in the morning, red skies at night. Stars in the dark, dark sky. I’ve seen snowdrops blossom and the buds start to appear on the trees.

Sadly, this was my signal to leave. Overdraft creaking, I headed for Edinburgh as soon as the Beast from the East fell asleep.

So, I made it back to Edinburgh, with a detour through Glasgow, to shovel over a foot of snow from my Mum’s front drive.

One hundred and forty miles – and 40 years, from the harbour in Edinburgh, to the harbour in Argyll. Five thousand years from the stones at Achnabreck, to Ocean Terminal shopping centre where I now write, overlooking the Firth of Forth.

Landscape and seascape, what magic do they possess?

At Achnabreck, the story board says: ‘Their makers may have believed the landscape itself was alive and had powers of its own.’

There is something magical about the landscape of Argyll. And if it does indeed have power, then I will be back.

Shore to shore.

[Bold please] The end.


The author bids farewell to Argyll – but she’ll be back. no_a17ShortStory01

Does this landscape have its own innate powers? no_a17ShortStory03