Chapter 15: Loch Tayvallich to Loch Craignish and Return South
August 20th - Loch Craignish. Leaving in the morning at 10 we are going down the long length of the loch. The sun glints on the water and lights up the Poltalloch Hills. As we come out of the mouth of the loch I noticed on a ledge of rocks at its eastern point a really charming house well sheltered from the east and facing the dream isles of the race of which the chief is Garreasar. The rocks formed a natural dock in which was moored a cutter of about five tons. This minute slice of fairyland appeared to be inhabited by a lively little family who were off just at that moment for a bathe and a sail. I mention these particulars because I could imagine no more delectable spot in whioh to live and to which to retire on my royalties. Will the occupants kindly advise my publishers when they are tired of the place?
We had come to the last day of our wonderful cruise perhaps the most varied in weather and incident that I have known. Though it has all been so peaceful that really nothing called for special comment. "A fortiori" as the lawyers say, "Why all this then?"
It was a delightful sail down the Sound of Jura and when we had once more entered Loch Sween and passed the ancient castle I took over the wheel. I was a bit out of practice and produced such a wavy wake that one of the hands was sent up to put me on the course which by the way is NE ½ N in case you want to go that way yourself. This clears the rock in mid loch which is generally covered with cormorants, but is apt to disappear from view at high water. Smab took over near Tayvallich.
In Tayvallich moorings had to be laid. The process took an hour and a half, as at a critical moment the chain and the wire got mixed up inside out, as it were, and had to be disentangled.
It was another perfect summer afternoon, and just the breeze for a ripple so I went up to Loch Taynish and fished diligently from a rocky point, but without success so I wandered back down the hill gathering hazel nuts and admiring the rowan trees which were now resplendent in scarlet berry. Had a chat at the smithy and admired the flowers growing in the garden among which were the delicate white belled malvas which were new to me.
As a fitting curtain to the cruise, there was a lovely pink afterglow on Craig Lusach perhaps the chief of the Knapdale mountains.
August 21st - Tayvallich. Bade farewell to Pandora and being put ashore with my old jib bag I joined the schoolchildren in a car which ran me into Lochgilphead in good time to catch the Glasgow bus.
Grimalkin: "I thought you had rung down the curtain. Have we got to have any more of this?"
I was collecting new ground. I treasure Rum and Port Ramsay and even Dunstaffnage as new friends and now I was to see Inveraray about which everyone had heard so much. I confess I was fascinated by the old world air of it. It reminded me of Fontainebleau though its setting is far finer. We rounded Loch Fyne, went up to Rest and be Thankful and Loch Restil. It is wild and beautiful and there were hundreds of little allts streaming down the steep rocky slopes into the foaming torrent below. A pause at Arrochar enabled me to appreciate that extraordinary peak The Cobbler, the weirdest thing in Scotland outside Sutherland. There too I had a nearer view of mollyhawks, a long file of them perched head to a very little wind on the rail of the pier. Though there were plenty of other gulls; the mollyhawks kept themselves to themselves.
And so by the twisty bands of Loch Lomond to the murk of Glasgow and the South.