Yesterday we accidentally ended up going to the island of Jura. We didn’t really have any plans besides visiting Loch Finlaggan, tasting whisky and walking the dogs. Loch Finlaggan has an island which was the seat of the Lords of the Isles – I think. Although I am a historian I am not interested in history per se. That is I am not particularly interested in finding out what happened, when and why. I am more interested in thinking and writing about how and why people have chosen to narrate past events, what they use them for and what explains differences between accounts. So it is no surprise that I simply wanted to visit the loch and see the ruined chapel and old tombstones, but didn’t want to spend ages looking at the visitor centre and I certainly didn’t want to watch the Time Team archeology programme about the dig there.
It was a lovely, slightly mysterious spot, only slightly spoilt by the fact that the tomb slabs were covered by glass which was in turn covered in condensation so you couldn’t actually see them.
Apparently the glass is there to protect the tomb slabs from further decay and weathering. Historians, archeologists and heritage managers seem to have a compulsive need to preserve snapshots of ‘the past’ – to hold it as it supposedly was, presumably so it can be studied and we can establish what actually happened. I think the glass spoils the beauty of the place. The people who carved the stones knew they would slowly weather, change and decay over thousands of years. The site has been documented, photographs have been taken – I would prefer to see it left as is. I appreciate I might be in a minority here, but hey …
We then went to Port Askaig to get an early lunch. We sat right by the water in the hotel garden and I had Cullen Skink which was delicious. It was there we hatched a plan to take the next ferry across to Jura.
Jura was grey when we visited. Not grey in a bad way, grey in a misty, quite beguiling way. The hills were shrouded in mist, the rocks were grey, the water was clear, but grey and the sand was grey. It was quite beautiful, but grey.
There were splashes of colour though
We walked on two beaches – one north from the ferry stop towards the lighthouse. We stopped when we met cows on the beach and I was too scared to go past them with the dogs as they had calves with them – I am such a coward. I did see an otter though.
The other was north of Craighouse. We walked there after stopping for a quick taste of whisky at the distillery and a coffee at the very nice Jura hotel.
There were daisies on the beach, which I found cute and Daisy Dog reluctantly posed next to.
N.B. After foolishly declaring that Daisy Dog had a good recall she decided to show me that you should never make rash declarations about working sheep dogs without checking with them first. While waiting for the ferry back I was pomming along the beach with the dogs and they wandered ahead round a curve on the beach. I called and Kainaat rushed back – Daisy Dog didn’t. I called again. Eventually she ambled back round – there was nothing distracting her, she just couldn’t be bothered to come back straight away – typical Daisy Dog – very head strong, very independent, not entirely convinced that I am worth listening to. We had words and hopefully the issue is resolved!