Hey Gang, back in the states once again. We arrived safe and sound Friday and are experiencing the joys of trying to launder the highland mud off our cloths and catch up on some sleep as our last day in Glasgow was spent at the historic Quality Hotel, apparently located in the middle of the bar and pub district. The party raged all night as those Glaswegians are second to none in their ability to throw down. The place sounded like Michigan and Trumble right after the Tigers won the World Series in 1984 until about 4 am.
Anyway in order to keep the friends and family up to date, the travel log takes us to the tiny Island of Iona just off the Isle of Mull. Iona holds an important place in the history of Christianity for all of the northern half of Great Brittan. In the 6th century St. Columba founded a monastery on the tiny island and proceeded to convert all of Scotland and Northern England to Christianity. The monastery was sacked during the reformation and a Nunnery was founded in the twelfth century. Steeped in history the small Island allows only a few cars and is still considered a Christian place of pilgrimage. The Abbey was restored in the 40’s and 50’s while the nunnery remains a ruin. Several Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings are buried on the Island and the Abbey is home to the Iona Community, an inter-denominational ecumenical group founded in 1934, and is committed to peace and justice.
Shaun and the young master stayed behind to catch up on some work in Shaun’s case, and sleep in Julian’s case, whilst I accompanied Dawn and Truly to the island. We toured the ruins of the nunnery as well as the abbey and made a trek up to the highest peak on the Island island. From there we could see the entire island which is a mere 1 mile by 3 miles. On our way to the peak we were treated to the “running of the sheep” when a heard of the woolly buggers were herded down the street to the delight of tourists like us who have never seen anything like this outside of a petting zoo. As they say, if you want to test your grit, you must run with the sheep.
The visit to the island was wonderful, we took the ferry back to the Isle of Mull and then ran into a bit of trouble with the local not so wild wildlife. The road that circles the Isle of Mull is a one lane affair where you are constantly having to pull over and let other cars pass. On the way back to our B&B, we ran into two pairs of hielan’ coo who were nursing their young right in the middle of the road. Now mind you, I’m a city kid, I don’t know how cows work. I thought they might charge or step on me to protect their young. What the hell do I know?
So, I got out of the car and tried to make them move off the roadway. I did this by pointing to where I wanted them to go and whistling at them like a you might at a dog, and saying, “over here, come on …”. The whole thing must have looked retarded. Anyway, before too long some Euro-trash weenie came along jumped out of his BMW, walked right up to the beasties, and started waving at them to move; which they did. In my defense they did look like killers.
The whole thing was nerve racking, we were so shook up by our experience, first with the running of the sheep, and the killer coo’s we had to spend dinner in the pub tossing back pints of Guinness’. Next up … the trip to Inverness and Pitlochry.
More pics below the fold
Dawn and Truly in Nun tryouts
The Nunnery flora
The fun happy people of the Isle of Iona
The ninth century cross of St. Martin
The trite victory photo at the top of the Iona peak (just a glorified hill really)
the stunning view off the coast of Iona looking back at Mull.