After 6 and 1/2 - 7 hours of sleep, I woke up, had a bath (no shower in my room) and took a seat in the B&B dining room. Half way through my Scottish fry up, a Dutch couple joined me and we struck up a conversation. They had traveled to Iona to explore the monastery and to find out more information about the modern Iona Community (an ecumenical/transnational affiliation of Christians who are interested in spiritual transformation as well as social justice and other global causes - although the group is formally based out of Iona, most of the members are spread across the UK and a few other countries). This Dutch couple are a part of an independent (free church - autonomous congregations) Dutch reformed church. I would have enjoyed chatting with them longer, but alas, my ferry was about to leave and it was imperative that I make all of my connections.
After the short ten minute crossing back to Mull, most of us on the ferry then climbed on the coach to take us back to Craignure. As I waited in line to board the bus, Gavin Fox, the bass player tapped me on the shoulder. He and Seonaid (the fiddle and keyboard player, not to be confused with Hanna) were also heading to Craignure and then onto the ferry back to Oban on the mainland. As we talked, we discovered that we were both on the same flight from Edinburgh back to Dublin and so we arranged to meetup in the airport later that evening.
Although the weather was mostly good the first two days of the trip, on this day it was a typically Scottish wet, windy, misty, and dare I say, mystical if not a little mythical kind of day. It was amazing to see how large the mountains on Mull were. Each one seemed to have a beautiful waterfall cascading down its slopes. If this area hasn't already been used as a film location, it needs to be!
The ferry crossing to Oban was uneventful (probably a good thing), and after we docked I had a little time to kill before my train took off, so I wandered the little streets and found a coffee shop on the corner, called The Coffee Corner, fittingly enough. I read some scripture, spent some time in prayer and then found a newsagent and bought a couple of newspapers for the journey south. I had spent most of the trip to Oban listening to music and admiring the scenery, so on the way back down I mostly read the newspapers.
Once I arrived in Edinburgh, I decided to take a stroll through the Scottish National Art Gallery. It's free and open late on Thursdays. I appreciate that there are a lot of talented painters, sculptors, and other kinds of visual artists out there, but my general take on these works is something like, "That's good, nice, huh?, interesting, that's weird, cool, different...". But, every now and again I need to do a culture top up and after my walk through the gallery, I think I'm good for several months.
The weather, by the way turned really nice by the time I arrived back in the capital. So when I left the gallery, I walked through the park before jumping on the bus to the airport. I had a simple time navigating security and the usual duty free shops on my way to my gate. When I got to the gate, the line for boarding was already a half mile long. Thankfully, Gavin was doing the sensible thing and letting everyone else stand, while he sat and waited. I joined him and we talked about our trips down to Edinburgh, music, life, Dublin, faith, the past, and the future. Our conversation extended onto the plane and through the flight back to Ireland. Once we had safely landed and made our way through immigration, we exchanged e-mail addresses so that he could inform me of any future gigs that his present band, Little Matador (this band includes the guitarist from Snow Patrol) might be playing. I received an email from him only this morning letting me know that they would be playing a gig soon at Whelans, here in Dublin. Hopefully I'll be able to make the show.
Overall, my trip to Scotland was a far better experience than I could have imagined it to be. The sights, sounds, and especially the people were amazing. I look forward to many more musical journeys in the months and years to come. - Shay