There was a good deal of drama concerning taking the ferry from Fionnphort to Iona yesterday. The weather was dark and overcast and extremely blustery. There was an 'amber alert' at the ferry dock which meant the ferry might stop running any time and the chances of our getting back off the island to the hotel to Mull were not good. If we did get stranded on Iona we would miss our bus and plane connections for our return to Canada
Nevertheless the decision was made to venture forth into the storm and hope the ferry would stay running for the return voyage at 4 pm
As a special surprise treat arranged before hand, Norman's son Duncan was standing there playing the bag pipes as we stepped onto the island. Duncan took us to the Argyll Hotel where he works and the thirteen of us shared a scrumptious lunch together at the same table.
Afterwards Duncan showed us the extensive hotel garden which he is totally responsible for starting and maintaining. He's planted many kinds of vegetables and berries as well as flowers, and also does some of the stone wall repairs there. It seemed like a harsh climate to be trying to grow anything but Duncan has some good looking produce coming up in all the beds.
After visiting the abbey we went to the nunnery ruins to check out the different styles of stonework left from different periods of construction over the last 800 years. The part I was intrigued by was this alternating jumper/thin stone gneiss pattern which was reminiscent of some of the dry stonework I had seen in the Lake District on a previous stone wall tour in 2011.