Well, ok, it’s not strictly her castle. But it felt like it, as she hosted the most superb birthday, with the most lovely people. And me.
Near Campbelltown, I managed a rubbish surf at Westport Beach: on-shore slop, for the cognoscenti. The wrong sort of wind, for the ignoroscenti.
But then an excellent surf at Machrihanish: shoulder high, clean, peeling rollers (whether you’re cognoscenti or ignoroscenti, you’ll realise this is a good thing). Mostly alone, apart from a startled seal who was just idling around in the water when I paddled past. It woke up, slipped under the water, then eyed me up from a safe distance to work out whether to eat me, fuck me or avoid me. It did the latter, I am relieved to say.
Then no surf at all at Sanna, the most westerly beach on the British mainland, at the end of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Even the most resolute cartophile can afford to give the place a miss: two hours down a winding, single-track road (admittedly along a very beautiful loch), over a desolate, blasted moor to find half a dozen scowling houses huddled along some sheep-nibbled dunes. And no waves. Was going to fill up on petrol at nearby Kilchoan. Until I discovered it costs 1.22 a litre. Plus a pound service charge for anything less than 20 quid. So I crossed my fingers and free-wheeled down the millions of hills until I reached civilisation. Well, Fort William, anyway.
So now I'm in Ullapool, salivating over the prospect of the BBC's best chips 2004. Hope they haven't gone cold in the interim.