The End

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Well, here she is: not sailing the Minch, not riding to anchor, but tucked up in Dunstaffnage Marina at the end of the voyage. Phoebe, who joined me for the last week, and I were very lucky to get onto the mooring before the worst of the tail end of Bertha hit Scotland.

I met Phoebe on Sunday evening at Mallaig and together we took Coral back to Dunstaffnage near Oban where the voyage began in May. Highlights of the week were an exhilarating sail down to and past Ardnamuchan point; seals, jumping fish, porpoises; and above all two close sightings of white tailed eagle in Loch Sunart. Phoebe and I scarcely knew each other, and so had to negotiate space and mutuality within the narrow confines of Coral’s cabin and cockpit. I think we did this well. We talked about sailing and travel and illustrated children’s books (Phoebe is about to start a Masters in illustration). And while we didn’t rush, the focus of the week for me was getting Coral back to Dunstaffnage. We motored the last leg from Loch Aline to Dunstaffnage in pouring rain, and moored Coral safely alongside a pontoon.

So now the voyage is over, although the pilgrimage continues. I have been away a long time, too long in many ways, and although I am sure that as the weeks and months pass I will get a more balanced perspective, just now I really want to get home.

What stays in my mind? It is too early to be definitive, but forefront in my mind is my greater understanding and appreciation of the rocks which form this part of the British Isles; I realize more clearly that while we tend to see rocks and mountains as fixed structures in our world, that they are always themselves in process. The ecological phrase “Thinking like a mountain” does not mean that nothing changes but that the whole of creation is in process. Another important theme is my deeper appreciation of the silence of the world that underlies its noisiness. And I have been blessed with a few occasions when the boundary between me and the wider world has seemed permeable, even if momentarily. Not that much, maybe. Or from another perspective, a very great deal.

For the moment, I rest with feelings of sadness that this, probably my last voyage in Coral, is over. And of relief that I can now go home, that I no longer have to worry about the wind and the weather, whether the anchor is holding, and whether I have enough fresh milk for tea in the morning.

With thanks to everyone who has followed our adventures, ‘liked’ and ‘retweeted’ the blog announcements; to Steve and Phoebe for their companionship; and to Elizabeth for so gracefully accepting my absence from home at a difficult time.

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Comments

  1. Welcome ashore matey! It will be good to see you when you are back home in Bath. Chris and I are here for the summer. Geoff x

  2. Jane Shemilt says:

    Hi Peter,

    I liked this.

    The economy was powerful,I had a compressed sense of the last days of this adventure with your companion and that it had gone well.There was a moving  sense of just touched on sadness,an elegy to the  voyages which may now,in the sense of great adventures,be done,

    I liked the reflective process which I sense has only just begun,and the fact that you saw what you had done or achieved lay somewhere on a(probably shifting) spectrum of not much and  a great deal.

    Most of all I liked the homage to Elisabeth,the unseen muse.

    Look forward to hearing more on Weds,

    xJ

    Elisabeth is warmly invited to my launch shoudl she be interested.Not completely sure whether it  will be Thursday 11th Ssept. or Sat 13th.Will know tomorrow,hopefully  

  3. Safe home Peter… Tara and I were on Iona over the weekend … Just realising you were near… All best
    Nick Wilding

  4. Kathleen King says:

    Peter, I have loved reading your … – well I am not sure what to call those lovely punctuations of mundane emails and the humdrum of daily life but ‘blog’ doesn’t quite cover it. I will miss them greatly. Very glad to hear you are back safely though! xxx Kathleen

  5. Christine Bone says:

    Well done Peter a real achievement, glad you are home safe and sound!
    Must get you to sign a copy of your book, all the best Christine xxx

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