Seemed strange flying off from Bristol (in the POURING rain) on May Morning… with memories of our Oxford days and straining to hear the choirboys on Magdalen tower at 6am!Flight and journeys all pretty straightforward – although I was VERY unimpressed by the EasyJet check-in arrangements! Five staff on duty – four to deal with 200 odd queuing passengers and one to handle to the very short “pay-lots-more- money-quick-check-in-queue” people… then, on three occasions, having late passengers “pushing in” (ie. people who’ve clearly arrived very late at the airport) because their flight had just been called! It took me nearly an hour to eventually pass through check-in and security.
Arrived in Glasgow (dry and bright) before 8.30am and immediately caught the excellent airport bus to Glasgow Central station (dumping my heavy bag at Left Luggage) and then eased my way out on to the streets of Glasgow for coffee and a bacon roll (for a total of £3.08!).
In 2007, I travelled to Oban on the bus (which was fine) but, this time, decided that I should “treat” myself to the train ride (just £6.20 with my Senior Railcard – even though it’s a three hour journey!).
And WHAT a journey – just stunningly beautiful scenery, running alongside gorgeous lochs AND stunning, mountainous countryside (snow-capped too!) AND the sun shone AND the sky was blue!!
The Iona Community needs me to be on Iona by 2.30pm tomorrow so, inevitably, this means an overnight stop-over. On the basis that the coming 8 weeks are likely to be a little on the cramped side (note: I COULD be sharing a room with four other blokes!), I decided to book (online) into a cheapish hotel (the Columba Hotel on the north pier). This turned out to be a good move and I ended up with a very good room on the third floor overlooking Loch Linnhe (see pics!).
For simplicity, I also decided to have an evening meal at the hotel’s own restaurant (I was only SLIGHTLY embarrassed to be drinking red wine with my fish-and-chips, but hey!).
After eating, I walked up the hill to the Coliseum (McCaig’s Tower) – a folly built at the turn of the last century and then watched the sun set over the loch.
All in all, a REALLY wonderful day (reality will start to hit home tomorrow, no doubt, and the rain will start again!).
Photo: it seemed that EVERYONE wanted to take pics of the sunset from Oban's north pier!