Wed 12th July we had a 1 hour row booked but the weather was so fabulous and the sea so inviting that after a brief discussion we decided to row round Holy Isle – even though we had 2 new rowers (including myself) in the crew. Still with 2 more experienced rowers and an experienced cox the decision was an easy one.
Prepared and with skiff Seabhag in the water we set off clockwise to circumnavigate Holy Isle. We soon noticed how calm and clear the water was as jelly fish drifted by unperturbed by our rowing technique. What a glorious day. We had several stops along the way for breathers and water and on the eastern side of the island we stopped to admire a few porpoises as they effortlessly moved passed us occasionally breaking the surface to breathe. With a swap of cox we started off again past the the light house rounding the southern edge where we saw little ‘hobbit houses’ occupied by monks and the rather nice beju residence of the chief monk. It never occurred to me that monks might have a chief. I assumed they were too egalitarian for a hierarchy.
We picked up the flooding tide which helped us as we started heading back to Lamlash and on our only stop on the return western side of the island we formed the impression that Holy Isle is definitely much bigger on one side than the other! One crew member commented on the welcome sight of the first marker buoy as we reached the navigation channel to Lamlash pier. Albeit with an odd blister appearing and the onset of rower’s buttock we reached landfall safely. On such a beautiful day nothing a good PIMMS couldn’t sort. As ST put it a delicious cure. All in all a wonderful row – even for a beginner.
Text by Stephen Brown