Featured Image: Paul Terry
“You can’t see Mull, it’s away for cleaning at the moment”, said Dougie, pointing to the cloud-cloaked horizon. And if it was being cleaned, Mother Nature must’ve put it on an intensive wash. With a high spin speed. Because the rain lashed down and a bitterly cold wind howled, as we set sail from Oban towards the remote Loch Spelve on the Isle of Mull. Ahead of us was a weekend of sailing and hiking in a remote, wild, seldom-visited part of western Scotland, courtesy of VentureSail Holidays and Mammut Mountain School. I just hoped Mother Nature’s washing chores would be over soon.
Rachel, the ship mate, pointed at a tangle of ropes. “James, can you pull that red rope, loop it around the winch, pull that jammer down and turn the handle clockwise please?” “Erm, yes boss”, I replied, clueless as to what I was doing, but thrilled at the prospect of getting stuck in and helping out the crew. My sailing experience was zero; yet in my mind I was now an intrepid, rugged seaman setting sail in the storm-battered Inner Hebrides.
“You can’t see Mull, it’s away for cleaning at the moment”
The following morning, after a surprisingly luxurious evening featuring a hot shower, an indulgent nap in my comfy double bed, and a three-course meal courtesy of Sergio our on-board chef, I woke and peered out of the window. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Storm Hannah had passed us by, skirting south to batter western England instead, and now it felt like we’d woken up in paradise.
Blue skies dazzled above a backdrop of handsome, rocky mountains; bright sunshine poured down onto the deck of Zuza, our boat; and, best of all, the western end of Loch Spelve was perfectly still, its surface glazed like a sheet of glass, reflecting clouds, coast and mountains in a pristine mirror-image. Mother Nature had put the Isle of Mull in the wash – and it had come out looking sparkling.