AN ORACLE IN A CORACLE IN A MAELSTROM

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ne Sunny Day in May…

We (Zofia, Tabitha and I) headed to Crinan harbour to board a sexy looking boat with Venture West written on it side

We were bound for the CORRYVRECKAN originally known as the Cauldron of the Plaid - a place where the Cailleach would usher in Winter by washing her plaid in the Corryvreckan.

The Corryvreckan is an almost mythical whirlpool off the North end of Jura

We were on board with the skipper Sandy Campbell and one other Passenger and off we went – we headed North West out of Crinan Harbour – which incidentally was originally called Port Righ ( Port of the Kings)

We headed towards Jura and boated up her east side until we got to the top of the island – we then bobbed and twisted and swung our way through the gap between Jura and Scarba

This is where the CORRYVRECKAN lives and at first it looked like a pot of water just ready to come to the boil with a rolling promise just under the surface – then Sandy took us towards a spot that his practised eye knew was about to erupt and in we went – spinning and tossing – waves splashing us on the boat – my daughter was on the boat with us and I’m ashamed to say I was too fascinated with the maelstrom beneath us to be aware of where she was – (in my defence – she is 18, taller than me and physically very fit – so quite capable of looking after herself, but even so – Bad Mother moment)

I LOVE these Mother Nature Red in Tooth and Claw moments – when you realise just how insignificant we really are in the big world/sea out there…

Sandy took us to more and more maelstroms and we were tossed and thrown about then we headed further West and went round the back of Eilean Mor and then we saw and felt the most amazing thing – the water was rushing towards a dip in the sea and just pouring into it (obviously this is what I THOUGHT was happening – I expect there will be a proper scientific term for it all) and Sandy being the professional showman and Skipper came and joined us on the outside bit of the boat where we were standing, which alarmed us as we very quickly we felt ourselves being sooked towards that very powerful and scary looking edge of water.   Sandy actually had the engine running but even then we were still moving backwards – but fear not – he shot back into the cabin and saved us all – but it was without doubt a very very amazing moment – another one of those where you think WOW… properly WOW.

We then headed up the side of Scarba, seeing Eagles, seals, deer and wild goats before floating, spinning and bobbing between Lunga and Scarpa and then back to Crinan.

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We could see Colonsay and Mull to the West – and Sandy showed us a wee place where St Columba, the Celtic Oracle and bringer of Christianity to Scotland stayed for a while in a Wee Cell – he stayed there after sailing from Ireland via Southend in Kintyre on his way to Iona– all in a tiny boat called a coracle.  

Big Respect to St Columba, especially if he had to cross the Correvreckan in his wee boat

Hence – the Oracle in the Coracle in the Maelstrom

A wild and exciting day out – I would highly recommend it to everyone x

We then had a delicious lunch at Kilmartin Museum Cafe x