After four days in London and many hours on the train today (feeling a little weary), we pulled into Port Patrick this afternoon (South West corner of Scotland), all primed to begin our hike tomorrow morning.
And were greeted by gale force winds, temps below 10 degrees, driving rain and sleet. A storm was howling across the Irish Sea. Our guest house was shut, so we headed to the pub next door. This is the kind of little village where the publican asks if you are OK, and then rings the owner of the guest house to get her to open up.
Two women greeted us from the next table and made a big effort to welcome us to the village, especially after hearing we’d come from Australia. Told us to come back at 5 for dinner. We went for a scary stroll around the harbour in the kind of wind that shoves you around and knocks you over, and staggered back to our room, wet and buffeted.
The only solution – after repacking our bags in preparation for starting – was to repair to the pub. Order two glasses of Chilean Cab Sav and two Loins of Cod in butter sauce (I am still trying to picture the loin of a cod), as the wind dashed rain against the harbour-facing windows and puffed coal smoke from the fire back into the room.
And then, in what felt like a delightful omen for the rest of our trip, we joined the two friendly women – Kath and Julie – and over the course of the next three hours, accompanied by a glass or two of wine and two damp dogs, became new best friends.
It was one of those beautiful moments that come when you travel – the meetings that can change your day or your life, where you connect deeply and quickly.
And while we were getting to know each other, the driving rain stopped, the clouds blew away, the sky turned blue and the sun came out. The wind is still throwing up waves against the harbour wall and two seals are poking whiskered heads out of the foam. We’re pulling the curtains shut against the long long evening and falling into bed.
And tomorrow we walk! I might kidnap Molly the Spoodle and take her with us.
News of London will have to wait…
Love to all