The small village of Arisaig lies on Scotlands West coast to the North West of the town of Fort William. The name ‘Arisaig’ means ‘safe place’. This remote part of Scotland is steeped in history and in particular the history around that most troublesome period known as the Jacobite Rebellions. When ‘Bonny Prince Charlie’ began his disastrous attempt to regain the throne he landed on the small island of Eriskay in the Hebrides. He was then taken to the mainland in a small rowing boat, coming ashore at Loch nan Uamh a sea loch south of the village. A few miles inland he raised the Jacobite Standard at Glenfinnan and this spot is now marked by a magnificent monument (and a equally magnificent railway viaduct that has become famous as it features in the Harry potter films). After the Battle of Culloden, Charlie fled to the hills to escape the government troops attempting to capture him. He once again left Scotland never to return at the very same spot he had arrived on the mainland’ Loch nan Uamh.
This is a sleepy part of Scotland; nothing happens in much of a hurry here and the pace of life is delightful. As you drive up this winding coastline you are taken aback by the breathtaking beaches, some of the best on mainland Britain with pure white sand and a scattering of small rocky islands. This beauty has not gone unnoticed by everyone and every little cove seems to shelter a campsite of caravan park. There are literally dozens along this stretch, so close together they almost join into a single ribbon of white fibreglass and coloured canvas.
You really cannot blame them for coming here though, if only for one reason; the sunsets! Sitting on the beach here the sun drops down behind the little islands of Rum Eigg and Muck. Known as the ‘Small Isles’ each has its own character; Rum with its sharp volcanic peaks and wild landscape. Eigg, the most populated island looks like something from ‘The Land the Time Forgot’ with its huge basalt cliffs. The island was also the site of a horrific massacre in 1577 when a force of Macleods from Skye slaughtered over 390 MacDonalds in one murderous act with only one family from the island escaping. By contrast to the other two the tiny island of Muck is a little arable oasis where cows graze by the beach.
And so as evening begins the campers who flock to this stretch of coast make their way down to the beach, camera in one hand and a drink of choice in the other and get ready for the show and for many night if the year they are not disappointed! The sky becomes awash with fiery reds and deep blues, its a painters dream! You can’t help but feel spiritual in a place like this.
Whenever the time comes to meet my maker I really must congratulate him on the excellent works he’s done at Arisaig!