Wow. What a roller coaster of a day. This morning seems like ages ago. Yesterday I went to the Isle of Iona and had the most marvelous hike. We walked all over half the island, went through a cave/tunnel thing and then to the entrance of an actual cave. Spelunking is not one of my favored pastimes, so I perched on a rock at the entrance of a cave and waited while the rest went in. It was very boggy on the walk and I got my jeans very, very dirty [speaking from after the trip- the first of many very muddy sessions], at least the bottoms of the begs, and I learned the miracle that is GoreTex. I now harbor a deep and abiding love for my hiking boots as they kept my feet dry the entire time [the entire trip, actually].
Looking towards the town part of Iona from a higher elevation on my hike:
Looking towards the far part of the island where the hike was (very boggy).
End of the island where the cave was. It stunk like mad because of washed up seaweed (tons and tons of it that had dried out and some was wet) and there were roosting birds and birds poop. But the view was pretty spectacular:
Entrance of the cave that I did not enter. Sorry, even though I could walk under that rock, it just looked like it had been sliding for a while and I wasn't taking any chances.
Me on my perch while the rest of the hiking party went spelunking:
Natalie, Queen of the Rock!
I'M IN SCOTLAND! And it's flipping amazing!!
I slept in the Hobbit Hole as Natalie dubbed it- but what else can you call the back end of a converted cow shed that has a door four feet tall? It is very odd to sleep without a top sheet. This only duvet (comforter) thing is weird. I don't know why that's not very big over here. Not only for the purpose of cleanliness, but for keeping the heat trapped by your feet (very important when the sun goes down). Hobbit hole:
Okay. Now before we got any further, unless you know what Scotland looks like, you need to bookmark this page: http://www.itraveluk.co.uk/maps/scotland.html. Along with bookmarking my blog. Thanks. Now when you find the Isle of Mull (left side), there's a little tiny unmarked island just off the west coast at the bottom of Mull off this fingery tip. That's Iona.
The islands are just beautiful and rugged. We took the ferry back to Mull (http://www.explore-isle-of-mull.co.uk/) today where Camas is. Camas is at the end of a mile and half long footpath (a generous term for a sometimes chicken wire, sometimes plank, sometimes mud hole path) from the main road. The things that travel along this path: sheep, people, wheelbarrows. That's it. They want to get a donkey (which would be AWESOME!), but are asking for donations for a new wheelbarrow (one of the nice ones) instead. Path:
Camas: "Together, we seek to enable growth in love, respect and awareness of ourselves, each other, God and the Environment" -mission statement. Camas sits on the edge of an... inlet? small bay? [Just looked it up, more of an inlet. Not as big as a bay.] It's got a few huts, a kayak shed, a large garden, and two stone buildings that were originally fishermen's and quarrymen's quarters that were built in the early 1800s. There's a small pink quarry across the inlet that's no longer in use (except for rappelling). Camas is a center focused on sustainable living, fair trade products (mostly food), organic food, a wind turbine and very little electricity (they do have to wash clothes, occasionally). Not here on a week when they have a group [all kinds of people visit there- I'm won't do it justice, as this is just a blog/journal for travels, but check out their site at http://www.iona.org.uk/camas_home.php], but work week! Where they basically get everything done that needs to be done after the first few weeks of groups and before the rest of the season. One picture of Camas, from the other side of the inlet, more pictures to follow:
The sun has finally gone down and it's getting dark (at 12:04 AM). It will rise again in a few hours and a new day of chores, long walks, and these lovely new people will begin again. To Iona on Monday afternoon so Nat can give me a proper tour of the abbey, etc and I can take pictures. Staffa (another island) on Thursday to see puffins! To Edinburgh Friday and Saturday with Natalie and Margaret so Margaret can go to a family thing and Natalie and I can wander the city a bit. To Glasgow a week from tomorrow! And one of the best parts of today was finding out at 10:00 PM:
I GOT INTO CLEMSON!!!! YAY!!!
Scottish word of the day: phaff= when there's too much of something, unnecessarily so, droning on about the same subject. Example: That meeting was just so full of phaff- everyone said the same thing over and over and we had heard it all already. There are many uses of this word that are excellent. I shall use it more in my blog and you will understand and use it yourself and just like the sound of it.