Monday, November 19, 2012

Islay , Scotland














You know what they say about Scotland...if you are lucky and the weather is fine, Scotland is one of the most gorgeous places in the world. Unfortunately the weather is rarely fine in Scotland (based on personal experience!). 

In our early dating days, Scott tried to change my perception of the weather in Scotland. I clearly recalled him telling me that palm trees grow in Scotland and his granny has them in her garden in Aaran. I wasn't convinced - I am not sure how those palm trees survive (he wasn't lying, there are palm trees) but they are clearly a different type to those I am familiar with in Malaysia! As luck would have it, the first time I visited Scott and his family, Scotland was experiencing a heatwave and I remember going for walks in inappropriate footwear traipsing around Culzean Castle and Loch Lomond.

But they are right – Scotland is truly beautiful when the weather is right. We spend 4 nights in Islay last week and it was bliss. We flew to the island from Glasgow and we were filled with anticipation in the tiny propeller plane whilst overlooking the sunset landscape.

Jenna (sis-in-law) found the amazing house we rented at Port Ellen (the southern tip of the island) – underfloor heating, beach at our doorstep, fireplace, full length window and sliding door with views of the beach and remote enough that there is no mobile signal.

We spend our days walking and whisky tasting and are often back in the house for a cuppa late afternoon and chill on the sofa with a roaring fire before dinner time. On our second night, we ordered lobsters from the local fishmonger and she drove by the house with the 2 lobsters in her hand, still alive and wriggling, no plastic bag! Free range, green and value for money at £15! We initially made the mistake of putting them in the tub with hot water, thus ‘waking them up’ but we got smart quick and shove them in the freezer to ‘put them to sleep’!

We got lucky with the weather on our first day, the wind is still and you can feel warmth from the autumn sun on your back. But often the weather changes during the day and the in-between offers the most breath-taking view of the island. The clouds changing colour, the distant mist, the moody landscape, the sea salt in the wind and if you chance it for a second too long, that ‘wind’ might drench you. We caught sight of a beautiful rainbow after the passing rain on our first day.

I was hoping to see seals on the beach as apparently they are frequent visitors to the island. The last time I saw seals was in Sea World in Gold Coast Australia! Oh my, we got lucky and saw 4 seals playing hide and seek with a dog in a cove! The seals would slowly surface to air and the dog, standing on a rock close to the water would look out for them. When the dog caught sight of the seals, it would bark and the seals would disappear back into the water! The seals will slowly resurface again until the next bark. Those seals was a highlight for me.

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