After a terrible nights’ sleep, I got up at 8am. The sun was flooding the room, with no dark corners to be found. There was also a bird who sounded like he was sitting right beside my head screeching. However, after breakfast and some chat with fellow hostelers, I headed out to explore. I drove to Gott Bay and began to paint. Soft purples and blues, interrupted by flashes of green. The bay stretched for ages, I could see the Calmac ferry at the end, by the pier. A woman passed by with her dogs and she said how lovely it was to see someone painting outdoors en plein air. And watercolour!!! She was a fellow artist, from Edinburgh of all places. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I sometimes use photos too. I shoved my camera under my spare sketchbook and nodded in agreement. I also didn't mention that I'm not a watercolour purist. I am greedy with media and fling in everything that describes how I see things. A scribble of pencil, some crosshatching of fine liner, a smear of pastel here and there. This fellow artist kept a studio on Tiree and visited a few times a year for weeks on end. At that point I wanted us to be best friends forever. She invited me to her studio, said to pop in during my stay on the island. I nodded enthusiastically as I watched her dogs disappear into the distance. It didn't occur to me to ask her where the studio was.
Driving around for a while, I began to get my bearings. Although there are really only a couple of roads (no traffic lights or roundabouts), I had a knack for going down the wrong ones. I ended up at Caolas. I abandoned the car at a farm gate and trundled down a cow pat ridden field to the bay. It was utterly breathtaking and looked over the Sound of Gunna. It was incredible. Deep purples and vibrant turquoises shimmering together under the sun. I did a wee painting which will never do the scenery justice. There were more beaches in that area however, I needed the loo and food.
I headed homeward where a hosteler recommended Port Snoig by Hynish. I grabbed a bag of Revels and headed there. There was a wee museum in dedication to the Skerryvore lighthouse and a closed cafe. I walked up past farm houses and through fields with livestock, sticking to the coast and climbed up a nub to get a view. Trying to find where I was on the map was not easy as there were no real points of interest, just the sea. However, coming down I realised that the "remains of a fort" the map promised was what I had been sitting on. There was a gorgeous wee bay, quite different from the almost tropical stretches I had experienced earlier that day. Happy Valley, the locals call it.
As the light changed and evening came in I began my journey back to the main road. I was set upon by a gang...of vicious birds. They squawked and squealed and began to dive bomb me...with admirable precision. I knew they must have had nests somewhere close by. Trying to avoid the wrath of mama birds, I changed direction. They dive bombed again, clipping my shoulder. In panic, I picked up the pace, not wanting to upset them any further or incur injury. I ended up in a swamp. The goo sucked my feet in until ankle deep, seeping over the tops of my boots and into my socks. The birds continued their protest as I flapped my arms around, trying to shoo them away and also trying to balance. To a stranger it may have looked like a signal for help. In fairness, it was. Across the fields and over the style, I escaped the angry mob and made it to safety. An eventful day to say the least.