Writing 101 Day 18: A map as a muse

View of island in the Outer Firth of Fife

View of island in the Outer Firth of Fife

As the boat is rocked by the sea and a few waves come to close for comfort over the edge of our small chartered fishing boat I am glad I am wearing my waterproof trousers. Although it’s early June I am glad I’ve brought my hat as it keeps the cold morning sea air at bay. We being followed very closely once we near the island by an array of seabirds. As we got closer we see very clearly that on one side of the Island is a cliff face home to what seemed like thousands of gannet nests. The journey takes about 45 minutes, Ailsa Craig is an island formed from a granite volcanic plug in the Outer Firth of Fife, 16 Km from the mainland and covering an area of 99 hectares.
I first came a cross Ailsa Craig watching the National Theatre of Scotland production of Be near me in 2009. An adaptation for the stage of the book by Andrew O`Hagan. Ailsa Craig was an Island that that was visit several times in the play at least in the first half. In my mind then I pictured it as rocky cold, desolate but with a decent beach for the characters to walk on.
A few months ago the opportunity to visit Ailsa Craig came up on a list of walks organised by a walking group I belong to. A difficult place to get to the group had charted two return trips to the island. It was a location that sparked the interest of many in the group. I joined the waiting list in case of any drop outs. 2 cancelled dates later due to unsuitable sailing conditions and a few days ago according to the weather forecast Saturday morning’s trip looked very likely and I potentially had a spot on the first boat leaving Girvan harbour.
This morning was a very early start a train from Glasgow to Ayr were I got a bus to Girvan harbour but I am very happy to be on the boat with a few familiar faces.
On arrival we disembark from the fishing boat glad again we had all worn our water proof trousers! We have a few hours to enjoy the bright blue sky, the peace of the island and enjoy the views from the islands peak and explore….

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