THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Another superb day
Journey's End


Yesterday, I spent hours navigating single track roads to get to the CalMac terminal at Kennacraig to catch the last ferry of the day to Islay. After some nervous moments watching lorries bounce up and down the boarding ramps I gingerly embarked Vittoria without grounding as I feared. One fellow passenger was a young man about the age I was when the sight of a Ferrari Dino made it essential for me to make a real effort in life. His enthusiasm reminded me of that day. I hope Vittoria inspires him to aspire as that Dino did me.

She has inspired words of admiration wherever we have been so far. Every male service station cashier, every male hotel employee has admonished me "enjoy your car" I am not one to respond well to the imperative voice, but I fully intend to comply.

The roads on Islay are built on the peat that flavours the local whiskies and in consequence rise and fall alarmingly. Given Vittoria's low ground clearance, and the locals' better knowledge of their terrain, I was cautious enough to have the humiliation of being overtaken by a landrover towing a trailer. I must finally be growing up, because I saw the joke. I hope the local farmer enjoyed telling the tale.

After a superb late dinner, I tore myself away from the live music in the Port Charlotte Hotel so as not to keep up mine host at the B&B where I was to lay my head. He was genial enough about my late arrival to offer a "dram" as a nightcap, over which we exchanged as much data as men will in such circumstances. Now, well rested and well breakfasted, I am off to tour the distilleries of Bruichladdich and Laphroaig, with lunch in the cafe at Ardbeg in between. This programme will not be much affected by the fine, soft rain that is making Scotland look like herself, rather than the strange sunny paradise of recent days. Slainte!