Friday 21 October 2011

The boats go dry...

The seasons here in Argyll are marked by many things. The rains gets warmer or colder, and even eventually goes white and falls as snow. The leaves appear as buds, and grow (obliterating the sea views) and whistle with the wind. Then they go brown and fall (this year twice, with storms!) and have to be blown from the drive. The holidaymakers arrive in larger and lesser numbers. Caledonain MacBrayne change their timetables - the last ferry from Bute is suddenly an hour sooner.

But one seasonal barometer that I am rather drawn to is the sailing boats. They are in the water for the good weather, the spring and summer, but they come out every year for the autumn and winter. I believe yacht insurance requires this - but the sense of making a boat safe ashore before the autumn gales arrive and start tearing out moorings is a very practical aspect of seasonal life. I'm not a yachtsman at all - I am no expert on such things. My canal boat stays in the water for several years at a time. But she's made of thick steel, pitch coated, on inland water away from storms.

As the moorings in Port Bannatyne empty, you know that winter is finally on its way. Warmer clothes are needed, the heating needs a service, salt needs to be stockpiled. But the boats are just dry, not gone. Their owners will do all the jobs that the winter holds - fixing, painting, varnishing, preparing. Because come the spring the sea will beckon again.

There are many seasonal heartbeats - but the boats coming out is one of the best!

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