Aims and ambitions
|09/08/2009||Filled under Canal, Crinan, Scotland|
Before starting to sail the length of Britain way back in April this year there seemed to be a clear plan to follow, a route around these islands, with maybe some detours on the way – a beginning and an end, even if the middle was a little fuzzy. We had no signposts to follow, although clearly there are many who have been this way before, and if there had been, those signs would have been new and strange to us such that we might have ignored them anyway. This is a sign I thought I knew well but it appears hereabouts slightly transformed, although the meaning is obvious when you consider the rough forest tracks beside which it appears. For me, in some strange way, this represents the way our original conception of ‘sailing around Britain’ has shifted as we have moved on; we are still on the bike but we may have gone off-road, just a little.
I blame the Scottish mountains for this. They have enticed us and captivated us, the land has drawn us in to itself, until the signposts of our clearly stated plan have changed into something else. This change of plan may have happened anyway but it is the recent failure of one very vital piece of equipment which has acted as a trigger, that equipment being part of my own body, and this is preventing us sailing south to our original timetable. (Too much medical detail here would not be appropriate but for those interested, follow this link. Warning: this is pretty explicit!)
But like the Clyde Puffer, VIC32, which has been repaired and made to run smoothly after 66 years then, I too can be fixed up. The vital part of me will soon be operated on and once ‘run-in’ I expect to be as good as new, if not better.
At first this seemed something of a disaster to us as our trip is very much predicated on us both remaining fit and healthy but on reflection, and Kate and I have done a lot of this, we have come to a different viewpoint. It has always been in our minds that we might just stop somewhere along the way and leave the boat in Scotland for the winter. This is something we can do because the boat is our home and we have no base anywhere else nor any timetable to get there. So now that we may be forced, by circumstance, to stay here longer than we originally planned, it merely becomes a question of adjusting our mental maps to this new scenario and getting on and enjoying life.
For the moment, Cirrus Cat remains on the Crinan Canal, still our floating home but now a base from which we can explore the country around us in more detail, experience being settled in an area we love, with plenty of time to enjoy and get to know the land and the people. The fact that this course has been thrust upon us is only relevant if there was some particular reason for a ’round Britain’ ending elsewhere. And there isn’t. If, as now seems likely, Cirrus Cat were to spend her first winter in Argyll & Bute she will be just as happy here as anywhere else.
At least we have a warm home to protect us, unlike this tiny wee shrew who went a-hunting without his good luck charms and fell foul of the beasties of the night, one of whom then dropped him on the path for us to find.
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