Monday, 30 October 2017

Carers' Waterstory, Loch Lomond 21st October 2017

by Pat Sutherland

By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water-wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.
The poet was talking about Loch na Keal, but last Saturday the water-wraiths had wheeched down to Loch Lomond and they were giving it laldy.  Waterstory trips are almost always sunlit, but this time the weather gods were not best pleased.

It takes more than winds blowing a hooligan to dismay Captain Bev, however, and there she was in the prow, waving us all on board:  Ahoy there, sweeties!  The boat was high in the water, which caused embarkation shenanigans for the Elders, but many hands combined to haul us aboard.  Tourists, keen for a taste of authentic Scotland, had turned up in undaunted droves, filling every seat in the cabin, while a few armed with selfie sticks braved the weather on deck.  This was me when the wind inflated my poncho and I took off into Loch Lomond....

In the mooring, the boat rocked, causing a few exits even before we were underway.  But once out on the loch, we found quieter waters.  Bev, who probably invented multi-tasking, took the wheel and broadcast her commentary.  We learned about the loch's beginnings, its botanical and geological significance, and its bloody history. The surrounding hills had wrapped themselves in cloud; the bonny banks lay dripping and still, and beneath us surged six hundred feet of dark, mysterious water.  Scotland on the gloomiest day is still magnificent.

The Arklet Falls at Inversnaid were in full spate, powerful white torrents roaring into the loch.  It was the perfect day for reciting the poem that sent this  corner of Scotland across the world:

This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

We could see that galloping cuddie in the crashing water, and wished we could match the poet's inspiration.

Once safely tied up at Tarbet, there was tea and Cathy's Gingerbread, a confection that would have Mary Berry spitting tacks.  Writing time followed, and much of it featured memories brought to life by our morning on the loch.  Childhoods by the sea  and river bank picnics grew on the page.  As the day darkened, 

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;

Scotland's weather seems to be a preoccupation among its poets.  It was hoods up and heads down to the car park.


But as Glasgow folk always said after a wet Fair Fortnight: It didnae keep us in!

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