My desire is always to be here...

August 18, 2018

We drive down the long narrow driveway of the 18th century country manor, past the clipped rhododendron hedge, through the gateposts to reach the main road. Turning right, we follow the road for a few kilometres.

There are stone walls on either side of the road. not like the dry-stone walls we have seen in Ireland and in the northeastern region of Scotland. These walls are solidly-built; stones cemented together, with rounded headers. 

Behind the walls are green fields, beautifully kept, and filled with sheep or dairy cows. The paddocks are large, and in the bright sunlight, produce an idyllic country scene.

 

We come to a fork in the road; a signpost points to the right, and we follow it for several kilometres. I notice that the farmhouses are not the usual working farm abodes, but large mansions, built centuries ago, and set amongst rich pasture land. I think the whiskey barons of the nearest town have built their country properties as elaborately as their city homes. I would love to have the opportunity to have a peek in one or two.

We come to another signpost, and again take a right turn. Almost immediately the road narrows to a single lane, as we drive down into a small gully. Rounding a bend, we cross a narrow stone bridge. I jump out of the car, camera in hand. The stream trickles gently over the small rocks, tinkling quietly. Along the banks of are large,old trees, which have formed an arch, whilst little ferns burst through the mortar between the stones on the shaded bridge. Leaving the stream behind, we emerge out of the woods to bright sunlight as we begin climbing a hill. The sea is on our left, and farmland on the right. Despite the closed windows. I get a faint whiff of manure, as farmers take advantage of the fine weather to spread their fertiliser.

Just as we arrive at the peak of a hill, I see the sails of a tall ship coming into view. If I look behind me, I can seen the curves of the coastline, green farmland, and rocky shores.

And we continue on this little narrow road, sometimes stopping to take photos of the scenery or to allow oncoming vehicles to squeeze past in farm driveways or little widenings designed for passing cars. We climb above the treeline, where forests of pine plantations are grown and logged for wood-chips, until after about an hour we arrive at our destination.

 

Far have I traveled and much have I seen 
Darkest of mountains with valleys of green 
Past painted deserts the sun sets on fire 
As he carries me home to the Mull of Kintyre

 

We have arrived at the carpark above the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse. Donning coats, we walk through the gateway. A couple are on the other side of the gate, faces red, shallow-breathed as they walk the last few metres towards their car.

We walk down the steep bitumen road; the means of vehicular access to the lighthouse. The original lighthouse was built in 1788, and was replaced by this one in 1820. It was automated in 1996, and a lighthouse keeper is no longer required on the site.

We continue to walk down the hill. I admire the many beautiful wildflowers, which are still in bloom, probably due to the fine weather.

Despite the fairly easy walk down the hill, I am horribly aware that whatever goes down, must come up again. No matter how long we try to put it off, we do have to turn around and walk up that almost perpendicular hill.

Sweep through the heather like deer in the glen 
Carry me back to the days I knew then 
Nights when we sang like a heavenly choir 
Of the life and the times of the Mull of Kintyre

 

 

Mull of Kintyre is the extreme southwestern tip of the Kintyre peninsula. It is approximately ten kilometres from Campbeltown, which was once one of the richest whiskey-producing towns in the world. 

From my vantage point, I can look across the Northern Channel and I see the east coast of Northern Ireland. The rain has held off, and despite clouds in the patchy sky, I can just make out the green fields of the Antrim County, which is a mere nineteen kilometres away.

Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain 
Still take me back where my memories remain 
Flickering embers go higher and higher 
As they carry me back to the Mull of Kintyre

 

Tom turns to walk up to a cairn on a nearby hill, as I start on my trek back to the top of the tall, steep, heather-covered hill.

The cairn is a memorial to the people killed in a chinook helicopter disaster on the 2nd June, 1994.

I have been watching the fluffy clouds building in the sky, and am interested to see that a large misty cloud is forming over the sea.

Mull of Kintyre oh mist rolling in from the sea 
My desire is always to be here 
Oh Mull of Kintyre

 

As I walk up the hill, white fingers of misty cloud wisp in front of me, and I understand how the Paul McCartney/DennyLaine song, Mull of Kintyre perfectly describes this natural phenomena, where mist is gathered from the ocean and pushed by the wind to the land at this southernmost point.

Title Quote: Mull of Kintyre by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine

Song lyrics: Mull of Kintyre by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine

Accommodation: Oatfield House, Campbeltown, Scotland

Interesting website: click here

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