Chapter 3: Aug 4 - Crinan to Loch Craignish

August 4th - Crinan Harbour. There was a singularly beautiful sunset last night. Smab had a book which gives the appropriate weather prognostic for each colour that is displayed. It seems you can only be reasonably certain of fine conditions, if pink prevails. Too red or golden yellow are for wind and rain and what not. What we actually get is south easterly winds and a cooler air. The sea is breaking on the shores of Crinan and Lorne which is indicative of considerable disturbance in the Sound of Jura and suggests thet SW is the true breeze.

Mr. Skipper was busy all morning 'plumbing' and alternately sacking McClumsie, The Mate and Maureen. A new Calor cylinder is fitted. I sit in the 'Potting Shed', the elegant appellation for Smab's beautiful deckhouse, where on occasions she has been known to place flowers in a window fixture. There is plenty of cookery below.

In my dream last night I was questioning John Buchan about his autobiography "Memory Holds the Door". I asked him why he did not mention his great college chum Jimmy. His reply was "I thought of doing so; but my publishers said it would add to the expense".

Bad weather now, slows things up. Had it been fine we should have been away to Loch Spelve. Ripples and sometimes waves keep us rocking gently on our salt sea cradle. Some of the ship's company called it an incessant roll, so after a very sumptuous Sunday lunch the anchor was extricated from its forest of weed, came up clean and we ran over to Loch Craignish. This is an odd loch, quite unlike any other. As a glance at the chart will show, its main feature consists of four of the oddest looking islands with sufficiently eccentric appearance and nomenclature. Eilean Mor obviously means 'big island' and is the smallest of the four. Who or what were McGaskin, McNevan or Mhic Chroin I cannot tell you. Eilean Righ however means 'King's Isle' and is associated with an ancient tradition. I think it was James I of Scotland, first of the Stewarts who conducted a punitive expedition to the Outer Isles and brought back with him to Craignish a large number of captives. These he slew and buried them on Eilean Righ. There might have been MacIvers among them, so it will be a comforting reflection for any of that clan, when next they moor twixt Mor and McNevan, to think their family cemetery is so handy. Be that as it may, we lay very snug below the rocky islet and were lulled to sleep by the infinitely soothing night notes of the oyster catcher. Before we retired however a visit to the farm on the west shore of the Loch was arranged.

The Evinrude was fixed to the Dinghy, the Mate embarked and much to his surprise the little engine fired and flew at the first pull of the starting string. McClumsie's equilibrium was nearly but not quite shattered. The shore party returned with milk but no eggs.

The night was quiet, save that the Skipper alleged that at 2 a.m. I had 'hailed the foreyard' and that the dinghy (tethered aft) had twice paid its parent ship a call during the small hours. Losh me! Some are light sleepers for, of neither incident was I conscious, but here may be is the explanation, lobsters were acquired at Crinan and were ate for supper.

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