The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.

We had bid farewell to new friends and with a few hours of daylight left decided to take a trip up the west coast of the island to see the ancient sights of the Callanish Stones and slighty less ancient Carloway Broch and Gearannan Blackhouses. We had also intended to reach Ness to take a tour of Fivepenny Park home to the mighty Ness F.C. and grab some famously good marag dubh from the butcher at Cross Stores. On they way back we’d hoped to drop in on a friend in Earshader too but all this was to no avail.

Ten minutes into our journey we could smell whisky. A strong smell of whisky that had nothing to do with the stuff seeping from our pores.

Pulling into the first passing place we raised the boot to check our precious cargo. Sure enough there were drips and bubbles from the bung, not much but just enough to give the fear. A little leakage but leakage nonetheless. We turned around and head back to Abhainn Dearg to let Marko look at the keg and make call on what to do.

On the way back our photographer chum spotted a balloon headed monster standing mid-croft in Carishader, arms akimbo and clad in the ubiquitous blue boiler suit. It was the world’s freakiest scarecrow and he just had to have shot of it. Three old bodachs stood at the fence of the croft passing the time of day and we approached to ask if we could take a picture of it. With a mixture of disbelief, laughter and bemusement they ushered us in to get the photo so desired.

“It’ll not be for the crows though, you understand…it’s for the bloody geese” bodach number 1 said.

“Pardon?” one of ours said.

“The geese!!!” they all squawked in unison, flapping their arms maniacally.

Pushing on before Marko pushed off for the day, we skidded back into the distillery to drop the cask back off for a minor repair and rebung with plans to collect it again next morning before we set off. Our minds turned from drink to food and with the light fading we made for the Uig Community Store to pull together some eating but a passing butchers van en route proved a better option and provided two great big steak pies instead.

Before we went home to call it a day, we dropped in to see a friend in Mangersta and over coffee caught the sun set from the great glass windows of their home, dimming the cliffs and crofts over to Brenish and dropping down past the dots of St Kilda flushed on the horizon.

When finally we arrived home, all slumped in front of the fire once again, this time consuming the hard stuff with a lot less gusto than the night before. Tired but pleased with ourselves that we had made it this far. All we had to do now was collect our fixed cask and take her home.

No problem.


>>>Pt. VI