Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER, zusammen mit Teil 6.
July 13, 1974 (Saturday)
The next morning, Margaret and Malcolm give us a lift to the main road near Fort William, for which we are extremely grateful, because the road leading there is totally ’deserted’. Apart from us there is no vehicle to be seen far and wide. A couple is already sitting at the side of the road and when we ask whether they want to hitchhike too, the answer is: “We’re waiting for the bus! Hitchhiking is WORK! „
We get picked up pretty quickly by two young men from Glasgow, David and Joe. In the meantime, the ’Glasgow Fair’, the industrial holiday in the second half of July, has started. During these two weeks the Glaswegians can be found scattered all over Scotland. David and Joe turn out to be very nice. David has long, straight, blonde hair and apparently a gentle nature that my best friend is immediately attracted by. Joe, on the other hand, is short and stocky, with dark, thick hair and a gorgeous mustache. His eyes sparkle with joie de vivre and humour when he jokes or tells stories.
Actually, the four of us want to go to Skye. „Failteach an Eileann“ is written on a sign, „Welcome to the island“, which I can easily translate later thanks to my little booklet „Gaelic without groans“. [At that time there was a ferry from Kyle of Lochalsh to Skye. The Skye Bridge has existed since 1995.] Unfortunately, all youth hostels are occupied (yes, yes, Glasgow Fair) and we have to go back to the mainland. There are still beds in Kyle of Lochalsh, but we are asked to continue to Achintraid as we have a car and they want to consider hikers. We’ll call them beforehand to see if we would find accommodation before we set off. David and Joe are so nice to take us with them all the way.
Achintraid is a tiny place on Loch Kishorn, overlooking the Applecross Mountains on the other side of the loch. [Applecross is also a very popular vacation spot with the Scots. The county was then called Ross & Cromarty, but was dissolved in 1975 and divided into ’Highland’ and ’Western Isles’.]
[Apparently not much has changed in Achintraid. One of the houses right on the waterfront used to be the youth hostel. It’s low tide in the photo.] Idyllic in sunshine, which is rarer here than cows. There are only sheep, and of a special kind, with thick, very white, neatly curled up fur, unlike the usual shaggy highland sheep.
We offer to cook for David and Joe. We want to do something special, curry bananas on rice. I’ll take care of the meal. Next to me, a young man is cooking a lonely clam. He looks into my pot with interest and thinks the contents is very ’exceptional’, after all, people are polite in Great Britain. I like him right away! I think he’s in his early 30s, his face is very masculine, but not macho, and his hair is like sheep’s wool, just black. We talk for a while longer until I bring the results of my cooking skills to the table. Joe and David are not very enthusiastic. I have to say that we have neither curry nor salt left, and I don’t have the presence of mind either to ask my new acquaintance, the one with the clam, for salt at least. Probably his blue eyes distracted me too much! Our two ’chauffeurs’ find the food “very filling” and only pick out the raisins and the bananas.
In return, they invite us to the pub in Strathcarron. It is very crowded there. Strathcarron is probably a kind of ’district village’ where everyone meets at the weekend.
I have the feeling that David and Joe have divided us up among themselves, my girlfriend to Joe and me to David. But that doesn’t work out, because I stick to Joe, as I know that my friend has eyes for David, and I’m actually thinking of the clam man. However, they make a good face to the bad game and the evening develops into a very nice one. A band is playing folklore, but only when we are on the way back to the youth hostel, because the front doors are being locked at 10 p.m. David and Joe are a little tipsy and drive extra slowly to extend the time together with us. „If the door is closed, we’ll just spend the night outside!“ they say. We are not so excited about that. But we arrive on time. Hardly anyone is in bed either. I ask black sheep hair about his clam. „I threw it away, it didn’t look good!“ he says. He made a drawing of the lounge, including the wet clothes drying over the stove. I think it is very good, and he shows me others too. „Is drawing your hobby?“ I ask him. – „No, it’s my job, so to speak!“ – He doesn’t give any further information, and I find it impolite to ask.
July 14, 1974 (Sunday)
The next morning my only worry is whether he is already gone or not. He is not! My girlfriend and I accompany the two boys to the intersection. On the way back we meet the curly black haired man. „I thought you left!“ he says. – ”No, just the boys”, we answer. – „I thought you were together!“ he again. – „No, they only gave us a lift up here,“ we clarify. A little banter follows, where from, where to next and a mutual, deeply regretful look.
We spend the afternoon in Shieldaig (approx. 15 km from Achintraid, on Loch Torridon). A German tourist takes us with him. „There are two girls standing all by themselves in the middle of the moor, it’s like Shakespear!“ he says. He clearly sees himself as our savior and protector. Shieldaig is a four-house health resort for retirees. But the tearoom is wonderful. (Pensioners always know where to get the best food and the best cake, especially the elderly ladies.) I also buy my Gaelic guide ’Gaelic without groans’ there. Due to bad weather, however, we are soon on our way back.
Towards evening it clears up, sunshine and blue sky over the bay! My girlfriend and I sit on rocks a little further apart from each other and play music. I’m afraid my flute can be heard across the loch. I have to admit, however, that my instrument has a good tone and it sounds wonderful outdoors over the water. This evening was really a nice closing of the weekend.
(To be continued)