Monday, 15 August 2011

Skye and MacLeod's Maidens

As I approached Idrigill Point , I looked back along the full length of the cliffs towards Harlosh and the safe landing places almost four miles away. I felt vulnerable and exposed knowing I was the only boat for miles around.

The boat rocked from side to side in the gentle swell as I checked my mobile phone. As I expected, there was no signal. I carry a couple of hand flairs in the boat but wondered if anyone would see them if I needed them. Soon I would be on the seaward side of the huge cliffs that would hide me from mainland view.

I thought of the Fourth Chief of MacLeod’s wife and two daughters who are said to have drowned near here in a ship wreck around the 14th century.

The sea stack on the very tip of Idrigill point also looked like the bust of a rock musician to me and I heard it whisper softly ....

“Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.”

I was now in the open Sea of the Hebrides and there was still no sign of the fair maiden’s that I was longing to see. There was another point to round.

I was leaving Idrigill point behind. Still the sea slumbered, only its swell rose and fell, gently rocking my little boat like a mother rocks a cradle. I hoped the maidens were not mermaids calling on me.

As I passed the weather beaten cliffs I saw they were riddled with holes and covered by strange rock formations.

Then at last, as I rounded a headland, I caught sight of the first of the daughter maidens. I felt like I did a couple of weeks ago when I first saw the summit of Ben Lui coming within my reach.

Then the view was filled with the sight of MacLeod’s Maidens. It was a magnificent moment for me and I felt I was on top of the world. It felt as good as reaching any mountain summit. The Mother maiden stood 200ft tall and her two daughters played in the swell at her feet.

I admired them for a few moments then turned the boat and ran as fast as my little outboard could carry me. I didn’t want to linger too long least the maiden’s broke wind and the waves start to rise. I felt lucky and honored to have been in their presence but didn’t want to over stay my welcome..I still had five miles of coast to cross before I could feel safe....

No comments: