Just back from a few days away with a friend in Arisaig. We had all kinds of west-coast weather but mostly rain and mist and midges. The highlights might have been Marine World in Mallaig (10 large fish tanks with a few crabs and prawns and a very shy small octopus in a rusty shed), or the golden sands of Morar which were quite muddy and not so golden really, or the lack of fresh seafood on the menu in our hotel which couldn’t have been closer to the sea, or the Jacobite monument at Glenfinnan which was spoiled by the presence of a large white tent beside it for reasons unknown.
But I think the real highlights were the little churches we found on our travels:
St Mary & St Finnan at Glenfinnan designed by E Welby Pugin (son of A Welby Pugin) with a glorious window and a view to die for;
2 well-cared-for RC churches in Arisaig and Mallaig where we lit candles;
St Andrew’s in Fort William which was a real gem with baptistry and tiles to adore and doors copied from the baptistry doors in Florence (and noisy Italian tourists to match);
and St Bride’s, Onich with its fading beauty and grave of Bishop Chinnery Haldane.
It was so lovely to find churches open and welcoming to visitors of all faiths and none. So it was disappointing to find St John’s, Ballachulish and St Angus, Lochearnhead locked and not even a keyholder mentioned.
Didn’t see any puffins or minke whales (whatever they are), but my friend did buy me a fluffy puffin whom we have named Pius Puffin. He is dangerously cute.
So, back to work tomorrow, refreshed and renewed and ready to share lots of tales of my foray into the countryside in my sermons in the weeks to come. I know my little flock will expect nothing less.