A grey Scotland

I drove some 250 miles yesterday, with a friend, to visit a few chuches in Argyll, one of the loveliest areas of Scotland.

It would have been, but when we started at 8.30, it was dull with lowering clouds. Even when crossing the Erskine Bridge about 9, we could just see the Clyde Estuary below (usually a wonderful, long-distant vista). Loch Lomond was wind-swept with few boats venturing out. Much of this road is new and wide, but when approaching Arrochar, we are suddenly into a tree-lined narrow twisting road which requires a lot of concentration in the driving. Puddles and fallen leaves were predominant here.

Tyndrum, with the famous ‘Green Welly’ shop, led us north to mysterious Rannoch Moor, which would be a perfect setting for a prehistoric film with dinosaurs etc, rising from deep brackish water. Eventually, as the rain and wind worsened, we descended through the very narrow gorge to the infamous Glen of Weeping, Glencoe . To Scots (and in fact, the whole civilised world), it remains as a reminder of what one person, or government, can do to others….formally-accepted murder.

The village of Glencoe sits in a marvellous setting, but seems uncomfortably close to the water level. Global warming and the rise in sea levels that it poses must be an obvious long term consideration for the inhabitants.

st-johns-ballachulishBut we were here to see two buildings in the neighbouring village of Ballachulish (famous for its slate quarry). A store house which was used as a very early Episcopal church, and the magnificent, (and very proud) St John’s Church which was built in 1842, and extended in 1888.

It holds the Communion vessels which were reputedly used by the Jacobite troops, on the night before the fateful Battle of Culloden. The building is badly in need of repair and has a Restoration Fund.

Our Choir, Angelus Singers http://www.angelussingers.wordpress.com (click the link) are helping to raise their profile by singing Choral Evensong there in March, so this visit was essential. It was of course freezing in the church as the rain continued to hammer down , but Highland hospitality in the local Tourist Information Office helped to warm us up.

We then headed through Rob Roy country via Appin, to the Church of Scotland building dedicated to St Oran at Connell. It was a subject of a previous posting ‘A little Gem’, and was no-less-lovely this time (The Header picture is of the sanctuary). Although it is Church of Scotland, we have been tentatively asked to consider coming as a choir to sing  the Anglican Service of Evensong for them!

The day’s work complete, we headed back through wonderful countryside, just visible in the gathering gloom. Maybe it had been a grey day, weatherwise, but none-the-less I wouldn’t have swopped it (except, maybe for a sun-drenched beach and a glass of beer!!).