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Jul '11

Isle of Canna

On Wednesday I got up early and finished grocery shopping before getting on the ferry for Canna. It was a bit difficult to be able to grocery shop for absolutely everything I would need for the next nine days – by far the longest duration I have had to carry food provisions for. Without my two weeks on the farm in Bristol this task would have been much more difficult, but I actually felt pretty prepared…and it looks like I will be a vegetarian for 10 days or so. I am so incredibly blessed to say that it has been years since I have gone that long without meat. It shall be good though. For my first dinner, I had mashed potatoes (homemade of course), cheddar cheese, yoghurt and muesli. For dessert I made a loaf of bread (from scratch, thank you.) and had black-current and rhubarb jam (which I both picked, AND made in Bristol, thank you again.), along with a glass of Jameson Irish Whisky (in Jameson glasses I carried from Dublin, of course). For a college kid backpacking onto a remote Scottish Isle, I think I did pretty well.


My rocky outcropping for the next week and a half!

Ok, enough of that tangent and back to the ferry ride. I got on the ferry at 945, and it departed at 1010, about five minutes early actually. This ferry only services Canna on MWFSat, so I had to time my entry to Mallaig accordingly. The first stop was to the Isle of Rum, which is much bigger than Canna, and fairly mountainous. We had good weather for the ferry ride, but it was cold. I was still pretty tired from the late night previous, so I slept for the first half. Anyways, we made it to Canna about 1245, right on schedule. I had met a family on the ferry who knew where Magda lives, so they pointed out which house was hers when we were approaching the island. So, with my exceedingly large backpack (I might have picked up a few souvenirs along the way…), and three large grocery sacks, I began the walk to the house.


Doirlinn - Magda's house, where I am staying

Just about when I was passing the small tea room/café, and right as my arms were going to fall off it felt (I was carrying a total of about 90lbs to my best guess), a jeep came up behind me and a woman jumped out asking if I was Brian, to which I admitted I was. July (think Julie) was very nice and gave me a ride to the house, which I was very grateful for. I had missed her at the dock since I was not expecting a ride, but it was an extremely nice thing for her to do. She showed me around the house (Doirlinn), and introduced me to Willy-bag (the cat) and the dog.

So, after getting settled in, I made myself some lunch, and then began to walk around the island. The weather has been great so far, and each of the past few days has been spent exploring. On Wednesday I found some great beaches, on Thursday I walked around the western end of the island, and today I found the King of Norway’s grave (a Viking grave) and some man-made caves.


My island paradise - it includes a lovely beach!

I am making all my own food, and am eating well. My daily rations include Muesli and yoghurt for breakfast and fresh fruit. For lunch is cliff bars or Muesli and milk, cheddar cheese, an apple, some peaches and a few cookies. For dinner I usually have some form of potatoes (I brought enough for a pound a day!), cheese (enough for a quarter pound a day, for protein of course), onions, garlic (I plurged!), pasta, fruit, fresh bread and some more cookies. I also brought a small bottle of whisky for the occasional drink while reading at night.


It's windy, and I'm happy!

Last night I finished reading Margaret Fay Shaw’s book, From the Alleghenies to the Hebrides, which was a very good read. I read most of it with Willy-bag on my lap. Interestingly enough, Willy-bag was Margaret’s cat, and the cat’s great-great-great-grandfather was mentioned in the book. So I was reading my great-great-aunt’s autobiography, on her island, with her cat in my lap. It was a neat connection.


The island lies along the same fault line as the Giants Causeway in Ireland. Yep, really cool.

Anyways, that is probably enough for one post. I am really enjoying my time on the island so far, and the weather has been great – sunny everyday, but chilly (high of 60 and windy). Now that I figured out how to turn on the gas range, the central heat and the water heater, I am much more comfortable. Willy-bag is my constant companion, even bringing me such treats as fresh rabbit in the mornings…


And yes, I am staying away from the edge of the 600' cliffs. I promise.

Tomorrow I plan to continue exploring, especially towards the eastern end of the island – we’ll see how the weather is though. I am adjusting well to ‘island time’, and it is hard to believe that in nine days I will be on the plane home, but I still plan on enjoying every minute here on Canna!

1 Comment »

1 Comment » to “Isle of Canna”

  1. Boone Groves Says:

    I just received your first blog on Canna. I want to congratulate you on figuring out every thing at Magda’s house….the sign of a great engineer!!! I’m pleased you read Margaret’s autobiography. She was a great lady! There is much to see 0n the eastern end of the island.. Please be careful if you decide to investigate the prison. I’ve never been up there, but if you get into trouble no one will know you’re there. I was interested in your planning for meals…balanced diet etc. Can’t wait to see you…give our best to Willy Bag !!

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