To Bholsa and Beyond

It has reached that time of year when life has been getting firmly in the way of blogging. Days seem to be flying by and with so much sunshine it has been a time for happy island adventures. The ‘sun bursting out of the skies’ weather, has led to opportunities for hikes across the wilderness of north Islay, with my brother, who has been visiting Islay with his partner in their lovely ‘gin palace’. They decided to enjoy the ‘Persabus camping experience’ in their motorhome, which led to lots of late nights and happy times, as well as some great walking. The Happy Farmer declined to join us on our hikes, thinking we were quite mad wanting to walk from Killinallan through the Doodlemore Valley and back to Persabus. It was quite a hike, through the farmland and into the hills, and into a wilderness of splendid isolation, with only the herds of deer watching on from a far as they track your route, keeping a beady eye on your movements.

I have at last been able to really dip my toes in the water again and enjoy wild swims in the sea. I first learnt to swim in a loch at the tender age of four, and just love swimming in the open waters, be it loch, river or sea. Before the MacTaggart Leisure Centre was built in Bowmore all of the island’s children used to have their swimming lessons in the sea. Now the island has its own beautiful swimming pool, but when temperatures climb I still think you can’t beat a refreshing dip in the ocean, the sand beneath your toes and the salty spray of the waves carrying you back to shore.

The Happy Farmer is not a swimmer, or a fan of going for long hikes into the hills, so I have also been enjoying returning home to the Happy Farmer’s delicious home made lamb burgers from his bespoke ‘singer sewing machine’ barbeque. Islay living at its very best!

In between all this the Happy Farmer and I also managed to squeeze in a ‘wee jolly’ across to the mainland. With Loganair now operating flights between Edinburgh and Islay, as well as Glasgow, we took advantage of the fantastic new service. Hopping on the plane we headed to ‘The Royal Highland Show’ at Ingliston, where we had a fabulous time catching up with friends and family and enjoying the hospitality of this magnificent show. The Royal Highland Show is a huge celebration of all things agricultural and rural, with livestock shows, food halls, craft tents, agricultural machinery and of course the great craic of ‘The Scottish Farmer’ tent. The Happy Farmer had an absolute party to himself, and a well-earned break.

We returned to Islay to meet our fabulous guests. A large group of friends and family, they were staying in both of the cottages at Persabus, having travelled all the way from Malaysia to visit our island shores. They were such a happy group. The kitchen of Persabus Cottage was a hive of activity as the party set about chopping masses of vegetables and cooking up a feast, before we knew it bowls of the most delicious Thai curry were making their way across to the farmhouse kitchen. The flavours and spices were quite something and the Happy Farmer even got given his own bag of spices and a recipe sheet so he can recreate what he said was the tastiest curry he has had in a while. In the mornings the lovely hum of their sing song chat radiated across the yard. We were truly sorry to say our goodbyes when it came time for them to leave, but it is what we are about at Persabus, offering a unique and friendly stay, and when our guests leave as friends we know we have offered a true Persabus welcome.

Until next time…

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