Words & photography by Judy Armstrong
I love my sister. I do. Generally, I love her from a distance: she’s in New Zealand, I’m in sunny Yorkshire. I ‘go home’ every three years and visit. All good. But when she quit her job and sold her house, I heard myself, for reasons I can’t remember, inviting her to stay in my village for a month…
The day she left, my husband Duncan and I loaded our sea kayaks onto our campervan and headed north. We needed silence. Solitude. A secret place where nobody would knock on my office door at 6pm and suggest another drinking session. We needed Scotland. Specifically, the island of Mull.
Reason one: it’s easy to reach: hotfoot to Oban, short ferry ride, perusal of porpoise slicing through the water beside the boat and – bam. You’re at Craignure. Reason two: silence and solitude. Reason three: white sand beaches with absolutely no people on them. Reason four: life is slow. Really slow. Like backward time travel. Slowly.
“We needed silence. Solitude. A secret place where nobody would knock on my office door at 6pm and suggest another drinking session…”
Reason five: beside the Oban ferry terminal is a seafood kiosk where greedy travellers tuck into mussels cooked in wine, oysters on ice and razor clams in garlic. It’s not pretty: we squash onto wooden benches by a long trestle table and wrestle shellfish into our mouths as though we haven’t eaten in years. After we’ve drawn breath, we also buy eight fat, fresh scallops weighed down with a crescent of pink coral roe, to take away…