Oh man January started quietly but finished incredibly busy. It meant that a couple of posts I had planned in for the month didn’t happen when they were supposed to, so that means you’re going to hear all about my Christmas in February. To be fair it’s not really about Christmas, and more about the time I spent up on the Isle of Mull, which just happened to be over Christmas. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know that it’s where my parents live, and you’ll also know that over Christmas it has a habit of being pretty dreadful weather. From hurricane force winds through to torrential rain it generally means that I spend more time indoors there than I usually do, with less walks, more cooking and baking and generally hiding away from the elements. On this trip I didn’t even really get outside until Boxing Day, but it ended up being one of the more stunning, if short, walks I’ve done on the island. This was mainly down to the weather actually adding to the scenery. I’m ahead of myself though.
Unlike some previous trips I decided to travel up all in one day. I even managed to make each leg of my journey line up almost perfectly, which meant that I left the house at about 5.30am from Walthamstow and walked through the door at my parents less than 12 hours later. This is almost unheard of. I flew for a change and got a taxi from Glasgow airport to a station just outside of Glasgow which would allow me to pick up the train that goes to Oban. The taxi was expensive, but this meant I didn’t have to wait two hours in Glasgow in the cold. As much as I love Glasgow, that wouldn’t really have been long enough to do anything worthwhile at 10 in the morning. I was extremely lucky to get the ferry from Oban that I did. The weather on the crossing changed from minute to minute. After the one I was on they started to be cancelled regularly and, in fact, they were cancelled completely on both the Thursday and Friday. With Saturday being Christmas Eve they ran a one off service, despite the conditions and high wind speeds, because they were determined to get people across in time to meet their families for Christmas.
Once I was on the island, the weather kept me indoors for most of the first two days, so I had little to do other than play Pokemon Sun on my DS, cook, bake and play with the dog to stop it distracting my dad while he tried to work. In gaps in the weather I’d take the dog on windy walks around the loch, watching as the mountain on the other side would appear, disappear and appear again all in the space of 5 minutes as the wind blew through thicker cloud of heavier rain. On Christmas Eve itself, we ventured up to the far end of the island to visit a couple of shops in Tobermory and get a snack at the Tobermory Bakery.
Christmas day itself we went along the Loch to visit my parent’s friends, and their visiting daughter, so that we could have a little group of us together for the festivities. They were cooking most of the food but I was put in charge of a veggie option for the main (their daughter is vegetarian) and dessert. This meant that much of Christmas morning itself was spent in the kitchen as I through together a squash & goats cheese wellington, Christmas yule log (my ganache split at the last possible second causing much stress) and a batch of nutella cinnamon buns. This was more than I should really have tried to fit into a couple of hours on Christmas morning but all three were a success, as was resoundly beating a room of significantly more educated people at Scrabble later that evening.
With only a day or so left on the island and having been cooped up I expressed my desire to get outside properly on Boxing Day. We wrapped up in as much windproof gear as possible, got the dog into the car and drove along the Ross of Mull towards Ardalanish beach, next door to the Isle of Mull weavers. On the way we passed the school my mother teachers at, stopping to look across the sea loch at the waterfalls coming down off the opposite headland which were being blown directly upwards by the fierce winds. As we drove over to the south side of the Ross the sun started to force its rays between the the cloud, and once we were on the beach proper the rain held off.
The water around large areas of Mull is often relatively calm, as far as Scottish seas go. The gales had whipped it up into a foaming frenzy. Waves were coming crashing in to the beach, easily as high as a person and sending swells well up the beach. The surface water and sand covering the beach had constant shifting patterns darting across them caused by the wind. I’ve seen the island in many ways, from bright sunshine to thick fog and torrential rain, but this is probably the most dramatic. The seas were in complete turmoil, with a golden light covering them and dark clouds threatening to throw down rain looming overhead. Another trip to Mull came to an end, but I’m back in April to celebrate my dad’s 60th Birthday, and you’ll get half the same pictures in different weather once again.