Back in May a team from Wild About Argyll arrived at the farm to shoot photos for their new ‘Heart and Soul’ campaign. They needed a ‘stile’ and wanted to take some photos in the Pottery and Ceramic Café at Persabus.
I immediately set about photographing every stile I could find in the local area so they would have a selection of stiles to choose from. There are the wooden stiles which allow easy access over the old stone walls into the fields beyond. At Bunnahabhain there are the large ‘step ladder’ stiles, allowing access over the high fences which were erected to try and stop the deer population of the northern shores of the island making their way south. What a difference those deer fences have made. Gone are the days when the Happy Farmer and I were up in the ‘wee small hours’ driving around the fields chasing herds of deer away. Whole gangs of them used to make their way along the road to Persabus. They would happily dine away in the early dawn, eating all available grass crops, which the Happy Farmer was cultivating to make hay and silage from. On one occasion I even narrowly missed being trampled by stampeding deer when walking the dogs up to the trig point on the farm. Ahead of me racing round the hill the dogs disturbed the herd grazing. They took fright and came charging round the hill racing towards me at a rate of knots.
The trig point on Persabus is at the top of Cnoc Abhail. It is well worth the climb. It can be reached on foot in half an hour or so, or in ten minutes in the Happy Farmer’s case. At this point it must be noted that the Happy Farmer has the distinct advantage of rarely venturing up the hill without his trusty quad bike, which has been known to get bogged on the odd occasion, allowing the Happy Farmer to at least walk down the hill every once in a while. From the top, at the trig point, you can see all the way across the farmland and beyond out towards the coastline of the Rhinns of Islay. Ahead are the Paps of Jura and on clear days, the mountains on Mull reveal themselves out across the sea in the distance. You can watch the ferry, fishing boats and yachts sailing up the Sound of Islay. There is a fantastic bird’s eye view of Persabus farm and steadings. This is the 360 panorama of course. Do remember to turn your head, or for the wildly enthusiastic a pirouette on top of the trig point is always an option.
Back to the stile hunt, on the farm we have a few stiles of our own. The stiles on Persabus have been here for generations. They are traditional stone stiles. Built into the old drystone walls. Huge slab stones jutting out, forming small neat steps. I was convinced the team would be looking for a more obvious stile. The Happy Farmer was highly amused at my enthusiasm, smiling at me heading off on a ‘stile’ hunt. In his usual laid back manner he assured me it would be the old stile leading up to the old stackyard, which is now the garden at the front of the farmhouse, that the team would choose. As usual then the Happy Farmer was completely right. The views from the top of that particular stile are breath-taking. If you follow Persabus on our Instagram or facebook pages you will see those ‘views’ on a regular basis. It is something I don’t think I will ever take for granted. I am forever photographing the views out across to Jura and down the Sound of Islay from the farmhouse. The colours change constantly throughout the day depending on the light, clouds drift in and out of focus. Each season bringing its own unique colour palette to the landscape, from the purple, golden and deep blue hues of the winter months, to the myriad of softer shades of greens, blues and pinks of Islay in the summertime.
The Wild About Argyll team arrived on the island and our local marketing manager was enlisted as ‘model’ for the day. At Port Askaig she got to feast on seafood fresh from the sea as the ferry came in. At Peatzeria she was treated to seafood pizza. At Glenegedale House she dined on amazing whisky barrel platters loaded with the finest of Scottish produce, smoked salmon, chutneys, delicious pies, and cheeses as the sunset. She got to race across the vast expanse of the Big Strand on the Fat Bikes. Drive in the golf buggies at the Machrie. See the eagles soaring across Loch Finlaggan with Wild Islay Birding. At Persabus then, she got to step up and down the old stile, several times, as the camera clicked away. Coffee was on offer but such was their busy day there was no time. A few clicks of the cameras and lights capturing the now infamous old stone stile, a quick visit to the pottery and they were on their way. Of course they did get to sample some of Islay’s finest whiskies, all in the name of work. Whilst Glasgow makes for the ‘Heart’ of Scotland, Argyll feeds the ‘soul’. Look out for Wild About Argyll’s Heart and Soul campaign, if you happen upon it you might just spot the Persabus stile….oh and a smiling Happy Potter.
Until next time…