• Mark

Whatever floats your boat

By Asha

People are amusing in their diversity. What is considered absolutely gobsmacking for one might be quite dull for another. What is the ultimate peak for one, can be the pit of a dumpster for another.  You get the idea.


A trip ashore in Loch Aline led us to a silica quarry, with mountains of white, smooth sand spilling out through drainage holes and cracks in the containing walls creating beautiful but ephemeral formations. When the silica dries out it becomes formless like quicksand but when it is wet it can be used to build awesome white sandcastles. I found the damp silica formations really pretty and the sand so enticing that I took some photos and videos and sent them to my WhatsApp sisters’ group. As expected, all three were amused and liked it so much that they came up with plenty of reasons to have some of the silica and asked how much it would cost!! I found that really entertaining because the video of the whales didn't stir nearly as much interest as this apparently sensational silica! We are daughters of a stone mason and I guess this bizarre level of interest shows that! Personally, I get goosebumps just talking about experiencing the encounter with whales but for others, sand is all it takes!


Silica sandcastle - fabulous, isn't it!

The same rule applies to everything including the choices we all make. I know Mark and I bang on about choices all the time, but here it is again. We have chosen to sail north and here we are in Scotland with a firm plan to sail further north. Is it cold? Yes, it is. Is it rainy? Absolutely, most of the time. Is it windy? Yes, and thank God for that. Would I change the direction? As tempting as it sounds, no! Scotland is absolutely stunning.

The walk on the shore of Loch Aline is a good example of why. The narrow, not so well travelled footpath led us through trees overgrowing hill slopes on one side and a row of trees along the waterfront. As we walked, we found two beautiful waterfalls which explained the white-water noise that we could hear from the boat. We climbed up the slope along the smaller waterfall. The branches of vegetation all around were covered with moss and the air had a moist, earthy scent. We drank the cold water from the stream, and it tasted clean and wonderful. If this was happening in a tropical climate, no doubt we would get a water massage standing under the waterfall, like I did on my trip to Bali, but here taking off my clothes and jumping into the water is a no-go! Maybe I will consider some training with Wim Hoff, maybe...

Walking in the other direction from where we left our yellow-wheeled dinghy led us to a castle on a steep rock with a fabulous old stone bridge arching over a wide, rushing river and a beautiful Scottish Manor with a lovely old boathouse further down. The capricious weather of these northern latitudes served us scattered showers, beautiful sunshine and a stunning sunset after a long summer day! So much beauty that Mark is pondering the concept of wintering in Scotland. I’m not so sure but if I go along with this outlandish idea, I would be kissing goodbye to my dream of wintering under a palm tree!


Sunset at Loch Aline

Scottish Castle

Boat house

Scottish manor

The waterfall in the forest on the shore of Loch Aline


More silica ;)

The silica looks like snow.

Silica spilling out of a drainage hole.

Beautiful waterfall in the forest on the shore of Loch Aline

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