Last weekend I had the most wonderful opportunity! I sang with the Scottish Plainsong Choir at the Cathedral of the Isles on the Isle of Cumbrae. I’ll tell you about it over two posts. Having prepared Michael and the Dafter for my three day absence, on Friday I took the train from Glasgow to Largs (about an hour), and walked down to the pier to take the ferry across to Cumbrae, just a bit more than a mile away.
Largs used to be a very popular summer destination, especially before the era of package holidays abroad. As the ferry slipped away, I could see Nardini’s distinctive Art Deco restaurant near the waterfront:
It must be one of the shortest ferry journeys on the Cal-Mac timetable, just ten minutes to cross:
The bus was waiting, and in another few minutes I was in the town of Millport.
I recognised the peak of Goat’s Fell on the Isle of Arran from our visit there in 2014. I was a bit sad to think that the Dafter had enjoyed those months of improved health before her relapse in January 2015 – but she is making steady progress. I was made very welcome at my B&B, where I once again (as in April on Harris) experienced the delicious feeling of being able to read for a while, knowing I was responsible only for myself and wouldn’t have to jump up.
Just before 7 pm, I walked up through a beautiful back lane to the College of the Holy Spirit, which is attached to the Cathedral of the Isles. It was originally a theological college, but is now a retreat and guest house.
There I was warmly welcomed by the staff of the College (and a beautiful golden Lab), as well as by the choir members themselves. Most of them were staying at the College for the weekend. We all had dinner together at long tables in the Refectory. A few of the people there were friends I’ve made in the choirs I sing in regularly, and I met many more people over the weekend. It was a very friendly atmosphere.
After a filling dinner, and coffee in the Library, I went for a walk. Having come to the Cathedral by the back way, I went out the front entrance. Millport is a popular holiday destination amongst Glaswegians, and several people had told me how lovely it is. But a few of them had never realised there’s a Cathedral there. When I looked back from the front gate, I understood how you might miss it:
I walked down to the seafront, and enjoyed the smell of the sea and the sound of the oystercatchers.
As in many parts of the West of Scotland, the Gulf Stream makes for a microclimate that palm trees enjoy:
I was amused by “The Wedge”, which claims to be Britain’s narrowest house:
Presumably it widens at the back, as the painted design of its name suggests! It must present some interesting problems in terms of furniture arrangement.
I ran into a friend also out for a walk, and we went on further together. The weather forecast had been pretty grim, but we didn’t get wet. There were beautiful evening skyscapes to admire over the water:
It was a lovely walk. I did feel a long ways from my life in Glasgow! Back at my B&B, I read some more, and had a few message-conversations with my two ones (phone reception was pretty minimal but I had WiFi). And I slept very well indeed.
In my next post, I’ll tell you about Saturday and Sunday!