A dampish and windy day.
We went, by bus (I had to pay because my bus pass doesn’t work in Scotland) to Bridgend and visited the Islay Community Garden at Bridgend, the large (4.5 acres) walled garden attached to the “Big House” which is now being managed as a community garden. There is a full time gardener and she is supposed to be augmented by volunteers. We talked to her for a long time. She had emigrated to Canada where she had a son but had to come back because her parents (who are “Ileachs” i.e from Islay) needed some looking after. She didn’t think much of the Ileachs who came to help her (i.e they got in her way) or the Ileachs who didn’t come and help. And she didn’t think much of the committee either. What was clear is that, if the committee decide to extend her contract, she has a monumental job to do. The produce, which can be bought, was really good.
I’m surprised I took so few photos
After the Community garden we walked through the woods to Islay Woolen Mill. And that was wonderful too.
It is a fabric mill still operating under the auspices of a Yorkshireman, Gordon Covell since 1981.
The owner showing off his products
Proud to have woven the tartan for Braveheart (and Rob Roy) –
you can buy a number of Braveheart garments
– on two Victorian looms.
And they are not the only Victorian thing in the building.
The amazing thing about this place is that most of the Royal Family have visited. Do they clean up before the RF arrive? The story I liked best dates back to the days of The Royal Yacht Britannia. The Queen was doing the usual cruise around Scotland on TRYB and tied up on Islay and decided to visit the Mill unannounced. I imagine her turning up in the shop with a headscarf on and her specs on the end of her nose and Gordon, taking a bit of time but finally recognising her when he said “Oh my God, The Queen!”
As we were walking we didn’t buy anything but I went back a couple of days later and bought a lot of things…BUT DEFINITELY NO BRAVEHEART TARTAN.
We spent a lot more time than we expected to in the Mill so had to march pretty quickly back to Bridgend to catch THE bus back (there would have been another but several hours later). We made it but with not a great deal of time.
Not finished with walking we stopped off at the north end of Port Charlotte to walk to the lighthouse
Port Charlotte was an early model village