Eventually I thought it was time to make a move and we drove on down towards Castlebay, and off to the right was a sign for Vatersay and having read the causeway was only opened in l990 I thought it would be an interesting place to visit. And I was right it was very beautiful, probably enhanced by the glorious sunshine that day (which I expect was a day late from yesterday’s forecast) Unfortunately the stunning weather had brought everyone out to enjoy the wonderful white sandy beaches at Vatersay, it being almost the last day of the week following the late May holiday.
The roads on Vatersay are narrow, and there is basically nothing there to sell to tourists so they are not really catered for. The few stopping places were overfull already so with a glance over my left shoulder towards the rather beautiful looking sandy beach on the way past and over my right shoulder after I had managed to turn up by the village that was as about much as I managed to see. Other than that we managed to stop in a layby near the memorial to the Catalina a second world war plane that crashed and when the debris proved too difficult to remove was just left and is still there today. It is on a very steep hill, but I started to walk slowly down intending to take a possibly take a photo, but Phoebe, who had come with me managed to do something I would rather she didn't do right in front of some German tourists eating their packed lunch, so having cleared up and apologised profusely for her lack of decorum I was too flustered and embarrassed to start taking pictures, and actually somehow it seemed rather too macabre to have taken photographs.
With the narrow roads and the amount of visitors driving was quite a challenge. All the locals looked a bit glum. I imagine when their causeway was first opened they thought it would be wonderful to be able to reach the outside world without recourse to a ferry boat, what they probably hadn't banked on was that it would work both ways, and now the outside world could reach them. I think there are currently about ninety residents, and it must be reasonably tiresome to have endless visitors jamming up the roads and parking in every available space. Though as I thought earlier when visiting Long Meg and her Daughters – really the only way forward in these sort of circumstances is to provide something people can buy, as in today's world if you live in a beautiful and interesting spot then visitors will come however you feel about it.
Leaving Vatersay I headed to Castlebay and having no internet yet again, thought a visit to the Tourist Information Office would be a good idea. Looking for it I passed a nice couple I had met at the Polochar Inn, and mentioned where I was headed. Good luck on getting any information there - was the reply, but I walked on up and had to agree, that if they had any information, they were definitely keeping it to themselves.
I wondered if it was a bit like those Japanese soldiers that lived on in the jungles of various islands after the war, and they had decided to follow the wartime slogan – walls have ears! When I asked if there was anything I really ought to see before I left for Oban it seemed there wasn't, so I popped along to the ferry office down the way and changed to the first available sailing which was in about a couple of hours, then parked up in the ferry lines and cooked myself some lamb chops and leeks whilst I waited
There was a beautiful sailing ship anchored in the harbour and I tried to take pictures but the sun was low behind it so it only came out in silhouette..
In the event after such a brilliant day of sunshine we had a wonderful sailing that evening. Starting out around seven the water was beautifully still, and I was lucky enough to be standing near to a young couple who were very interested in wildlife. He was actually employed at a bird reserve, and they had been touring the islands wildlife spotting. Before long he had pointed out two basking sharks, some porpoises and then several large pods of dolphins leaping and splashing in the water as they fed. That was a real treat for me and I was so pleased I had changed to the earlier crossing.
As I had no real internet for days if not weeks and was unprepared for the change of ferry times, I arrived in Oban just before midnight with not a clue where I was or where I was headed. I had looked at a map of Oban earlier in the year, and vaguely remembered that the town was off to the left as you left the ferry and the road out was off to the right, so taking a flier in the pitch dark I ended up wandering along a narrow lane/road with lots of parked cars outside the various b&b's leaving little passing space for us. Plus we were suddenly surrounded by trees. Quite a shock for me after the Northern Isles followed by the Outer Hebrides, but luckily there was a sign saying Caravans and Camping, so we headed blindly on down the very narrow lanes and eventually came to the place, where I crept in as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the sleeping occupants at such an unreasonable hour.