The Ferry House …

… a return to Ard Neakie.  There are no ‘Keep Out’ signs nor are there indications of rights of way.  We are in the homeland of ‘right to roam’.  No signs would have stopped us, I have been hankering to get back here since I wrote the previous Ard Neakie post in mid-March.

It is much as I remember except there is now no trace of the quarry workers’ lodgings. The final approach sits between the shingle, north and south; the Ferry House a design in symmetry; the pier still solid where no boats call; the lime kilns with their cavernous openings sensibly fenced; the convenient limestone quarry, just a wheelbarrow’s walk from the kiln tops; the climb, higher still, such that Portnancon can be seen across the loch – the departure point for the Heilam Ferry.

The skies are clear, the sun intermittently shines but there is a strong Arctic wind blowing in from the north. As we make to leave between the shingle shores, a gust of wind opens the front door to the Ferry House. It seems like an invitation, an invitation that we are too polite to refuse.  Alec Mackay has summoned us into his family home:

It is not the sound of the wind we hear blowing through the rafters and ill-fitting windows, it is the sound of distant voices.

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21 comments

  1. sustainabilitea · April 22

    I like the use of B&W and color and I like your last line.

    janet

    • northumbrianlight · April 23

      Thanks Janet – I can’t resist using a virtual red filter on blue skies with cotton wool clouds 😉

  2. Cate Franklyn · April 22

    That last sentence sent chills down my spine. Wonderful post!!! Loved every photo. I have to ask what is meant by the “shingle?” Is it the shore line?

    • northumbrianlight · April 23

      Many thanks Cate – a shingle beach is made up of a mass of small pebbles and possibly broken shells. The beach at Ard Neakie is not true shingle I guess, because the pebbles are mostly too large but, I enjoy the alliteration – ‘shingle shore’.
      Didn’t mean to spook you – I am too sceptical about most things but you still wouldn’t catch me staying there overnight – old buildings ‘talk’ too much.

      • Cate Franklyn · April 23

        Yes, but they have great tales to tell.

  3. Maureen Sudlow · April 23

    beautiful – and all those layers of wallpaper…

  4. Sue · April 23

    Great post…marvellous images and a very well crafted last line, Robin

    • northumbrianlight · April 23

      Many thanks Sue, always good to hear from you. I struggle to keep up with everyone’s posts, I am always chasing around somewhere – this week we are on Orkney overlooking Scapa Flow – the weather is exactly as you might expect this Sunday morning 😦

      • Sue · April 23

        Oh, I’m looking forward to some moody images from you, Robin!

      • northumbrianlight · April 23

        Will try Sue but weather is not too clever at the moment 😦

  5. northumbrianlight · April 23

    Many thanks Sue, always good to hear from you. I struggle to keep up with everyone’s posts, I am always chasing around somewhere – this week we are on Orkney overlooking Scapa Flow – the weather is exactly as you might expect this Sunday morning 😦

  6. J.D. Riso · April 23

    Such haunting images and words. I like the idea of “the right to roam” very much. Hope you’re having a marvelous time in the land of phantoms.

    • northumbrianlight · April 23

      Thanks Julie – freezing temperatures and howling gale today but we persevere 😉
      Similar right to roam legislation was introduced in England a few years back but somebody forgot to tell the farmers.

  7. restlessjo · April 23

    Good grief! It’s a best seller, Robin! 🙂 🙂

  8. Thom Hickey · April 24

    Very evocative .. whispers of times eddies

  9. Karen Thorburn · May 29

    A fascinating post. I love the photographs and the last line.

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