Across The Water


No time to read? On the move? Listen here!

We crossed water on two ferries during this trip, each one being exciting yet unremarkable in their own right. Exciting because we don’t get out much and unremarkable because nothing awful occurred during either crossing and we were delivered to the opposite shore as anticipated, in a timely, professional and maritime manner.

Our first crossing from Armadale on Skye to Mallaig took place in bright sunshine, with a chill breeze whipping the wavetops – and provided a rare opportunity to examine the tree-scraped roof of the Knumptywagen from our elevated position on the tiny passenger deck.  We’d made the crossing as a short-cut route across the southern half of Skye, as an alternative to a longer trip inland via Shiel Bridge, Invergarry and Fort William.

The second ferry crossing was also a short-cut from Ardgour to Corran across the throat of Loch Linhe, which proved far more entertaining as we found ourselves accompanied by a fleet of six or seven souped-up Porsches, a Mercedes SLGoesVeryFast and a very low-slung Ferrari as Wing Commander. All bearing Dutch plates, we’d been soundly overtaken – at alarming speeds on blind summits – by the entire squadron just before we reached the ferry. So unexpected and so fast had been their passing that we became convinced the sleekly diminutive Ferrari might conceivably have ‘undertaken’ us by simply driving beneath our lumbering bulk.  Despite ‘Back To The Future’-induced-speeds, as we arrived at the simple roadside ferry-boarding lanes, we found ourselves rather incongruously parked up in line amongst their number, like an austere, pallid and slightly down-at-heel maiden aunt sitting tall and serene in the middle of an unruly kindergarten of boisterous, snot-nosed children.

The all-male entourage of drivers emerged from their walkie-talkied cockpits sporting expensive haircuts, racing jackets and unleaded aftershave, complemented by a smattering of brightly coloured driving shoes. Each dwarfed by the size of their cameras, they snapped away at themselves, their cars and the passing scenery as their drone – launched from the deck of the ferry with casual aplomb – hovered above us and then flew on ahead to record the physical impossibilities implicit in disembarking low-bodied and well-spoilered sports cars from a steeply-angled steel ferry-deck onto a complementarily angled concrete dock.

Oh, how we smiled  to ourselves self-indulgently as we manoeuvred our prehistorically slow, lumbering bulk around high-performance cars made inoperable by scrapings of carbon-fibre and – waving gaily out of the windows at the hovering drone – sailed off into a proverbial sunset.

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