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Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour

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My favourite highlight! Interview Express North Magazine

Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour

My Favourite Highlight...
It has been almost one year since Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour was published! My interview with the lovely Lucy Richardson for Express North magazine was one of the years highlights. 
(link to the interview in Express North magazine at foot of post)

Did you have a settled life before Shemaron arrived?

Life was settled in the usual way of working and bringing up a family. In my spare time I enjoyed traveling round Northumberland and the Borders with my husband on his motorbike. I loved this aspect of travel it was so exhilarating. As a family we enjoyed cottage holidays in beautiful places, sometimes we went abroad. There was a sense of comfortable adventure that surrounded this but it was nothing like the adventure that followed our involvement with Shemaron.
What was your reaction when your husband told you he’d bought the boat?
There is a gentle eccentricity about my husband coupled with a drive and determination to make things h…

Under Starlight


Today Facebook threw up a memory, it was of a post I had written in December 2012.  On a very beautiful night back in the early days when Chris and I were on Shemaron we had the most exceptional time and it gave me much pleasure to remember it - so I have re-posted it...

Somewhere in the world of latitudes and longitudes fifty five degrees north and five degrees west, north but not so far north as Lapland and on the western fringes where the light defilement is minimal we find ourselves on the deck of our boat, it is night, it is dark, and there is a sharpening in the breeze.

In a lonely marina far enough away from all other boats to feel happily desolate we are sitting on deck wrapped in the woolly quiet of the night. All time is thrown open above us in random light, the past the present and the future an unfolding event on the astral plains. We are the smallest speck on the particular meridian that holds us in time and space, we sit afloat bathed in the supernal illume, …

Strange Mythological Blue Men of the Hebrides

From - Shemaron: A Beautiful EndeavourMythological Blue Men of the Hebrides
"The “charmed Islands” of the Hebrides that lie off Scotland’s west coast have their share of myth and legend; the myth of the Blue Men evolved from ancient Greek mythology. They are the sons of Glaukos Pontius, Blue Man of the sea, and are collectively known as Glaukidai.
The Scottish Blue Men migrated to Ireland from the Mediterranean and are said to live in caves under the Minch. If a sailor saw a Blue Man he could be sure that a storm was to follow. They are reputed to have attacked ships or sailors who had been unkind to Selkies (seal people) or other sea folk. Engaging the chieftain in rhyme could avert their anger; if the wit and rhyme was deemed impressive enough, the boat and its crew would be left alone.
Boats often sailed round the Shiant Isles, which lie to the east of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, to avoid the “stream of the Blue Men” or “the current of destruction”.
Seeing these words on the pag…

The Wonderful Ladies' Well in the Heart of Northumberland

"Near the spot where the Roman road to High Rochester crossed the Coquet was a holy stone where a missionary preached the gospel; and in his footsteps a little community of nuns who built a priory near a sacred spring which to this day is called the Ladies' Well.

It is a big basin of clear water in an enclosure surrounded by tall beeches, and from it springs a swift sparkling stream which flows rapidly between the banks of greenest grass. In 1780 the pool was given a rim of masonry, and in the middle was raised a tall stone cross with an inscription perpetuating the doubtful legend that " In this place Paulinus the bishop baptised 30000 Northumbrians. Easter 627." At one end of the pool stands a moss-covered statue of Paulinus brought from Alnwick, and at the other are two stone supports bearing an altar named the Holy Stone.

In 1291 there were 27 nuns here, with four lay brothers, three chaplains and a master. A few years later, when Bruce was devastating the nort…

Old Tale of a Mysterious and Powerful Bodach

I came across the following account in an archived copy of the Campbeltown Courier. It describes an encounter with a Bodach, the Gaelic word meaning “old man”. I thought it was interesting, as it was set round the ““wee toon”” (Campbeltown) where I have spent so much time. Old Tale of a Mysterious and Powerful Bodach

"Good folks and honest, it was in the days of the drift net fishing, and never a trall was in it, from the Cowal shore to MacCrummon’s Point that on a night o nights a boat from the “wee toon” was at the hauling of the nets, and never a tail in them, but many, heavy was the last of the nets. And when aboard it came, my wonder: on there in the meshes was an old Bodach with a blue fish’s tail on him, and he webbed between his fingers like a prize duck. Well: Well: aboard they got him and a fine job they had getting him out of the net – but they got him out, and here he sat glowering at them from the fo’c’s’le head. “What’s the next move now boys,” said the owner of the…


The Rowan tree grew precariously on the side on the old Dun, its roots stretching under the fallen stones had found a tenuous hold. It was late September and the bushy branches supported a few clusters of bright red berries. From where I stood on the highest point the sides of the Dun fell steeply down to the ancient valley, where, the river Add meandered its final course before emptying into Loch Crinan. The Vale spread wide below and beyond the river’s reach it ran in a rich verdure towards the sea in one direction and the Moine Mhor Bog in another.

Seaward the valley stretched evenly, beyond the small cup of blue that denoted the ocean the northern tip of Jura lay gray and low beneath the sky. Rising in a gentle rocky fold at the eastern edge of the valley the land began to climb, here pockets of trees grew on the hillside, on the following downward slope a band of green conifer tops spread wide until the land climbed once more. The distant rocky hilltops rose under the moving sha…

Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla

Remembering The Commonwealth Flotilla
Two years have passed since we took park in the Commonwealth Flotilla - here is an excerpt from Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavourdescribing our journey from Princes dock in Glasgow back to Campbeltown... 
One of the great things about writing this blog is that I can include as many photos as I like - I really feel they help illustrate the atmosphere onboard!

We left Princes dock the next morning in the rain and sounded the Claxton as a goodbye to the remaining boats in the flotilla. Soon all we could see was the mass of flags that ran to the tops of the masts still sitting in the dock. The riverbanks were wet and quiet but we still enticed a wave or two from people out for a Sunday stroll or a spot of dog walking. We continued on to Greenock where we said goodbye to our crew and helped to unload their gear. Then it was just the two of us again alone on the water heading for home.
The forecast was for winds up to force five, occasionally gusting to force…