Monday 28 May 2012


Dolphins from Armadale-Mallaig ferry
Thirty degrees. We don't get thirty degrees. I don't remember us ever having, in the north west of Scotland, a spell of weather as hot, blue-skied and all-round gorgeous as this. I hardly recognise the place: The mountains look Alpine, the sea looks Aegean and the sunburned faces look like stop-lights.

Our trip across to Mallaig on the Armadale ferry turned into a nature cruise when the skipper announced that we were heading towards a school of dolphins. All we could see at first was a dark patch in the flat calm water - a dark patch which, upon inspection with the small binoculars my wife had the foresight to bring, turned out to be caused by the leaping and diving of a school at least fifty dolphins strong. (I assume that these were of the Common variety Delphinus delphis.) Tourists surged forward to catch the action on tiny and expensive-looking camcorders. I pointed our camera in the general direction of the dolphins and started pressing the button pretty much at random, as I couldn't see the view screen due to the glare. We got a few reasonable shots but not as many as I would have had if some foolish camera designer hadn't decided it would be a good idea to get rid of optical viewfinders.

By the time we reached Mallaig the wee seafood shop by the railway station was pretty much cleaned out. We had to make do with 350g of Gravadlax-style thick cut smoked salmon to accompany the spelt loaf we had picked up in Armadale earlier in the day.

After a dip in the sea at Morar we settled on our blanket, laid out on the glistening white sand, to eat our picnic late-lunch in the (did I mention thirty degrees) sunshine. Life doesn't really get much better than that.