I have spent some very wonderful times with my friends on the west coast of Scotland. I would hate to have to choose which days have been the best, as the most simple walks along a beach or on top of a hill looking down on Jura are easily as wonderful as the more dramatic days involving boats, mackerel, sea mammals and sausages!
At the weekend, I experienced one of these more dramatic days with Charlotte, Duggie, Iona, Fraser (and Daisy!). The hard work had been carried out the day before, whilst I slept in the air en route between Exeter and Glasgow. This work involved firstly rolling and then floating and towing, followed by winching and again rolling the Hot Tub on to a nearby beach.
The Hot Tub is a thing of great beauty. Its beauty really lies in its tremendous industrial simplicity. It resembles a wide and deep baked bean can with a chimney. It has a wooden floor and stone weighted creel seats which leave indelible netted imprints on ones buttocks!
Anyway, having let everyone else do the hard work, I was rowed over the next morning to put the tub to the test. Duggie had already started heating the water (by burning the wood in the integral wood burner) and the temperature was rising nicely. Iona’s small tender was brought alongside and filled with cold water from a stream. This was used to add cold water to the tub when it got too hot, which occasionally it did…….43 degrees was just verging on too much. Between 38°C and 42°C was perfect. The first time that I tried to submerge below the steaming water, my legs went into paroxysms of itching, which I think was my blood vessels going into shock. Actually, our blood vessels must have been in a state of complete confusion as we ran from 8 degree water to 42 degree water all day.
Can you imagine spending any day in March on a beach in Scotland in your swimming things ALL day?!! Well, with the Hot Tub, you CAN!……The day was spent alternating between lovely cold swims in the crystal clear sea, and then glorious soaks in the hot water, and then back into the sea again and so on. I had about 5 swims, with no shivers and after-drops. Add into the mix: sausages, bacon, chocolate and macadamia muffins and the day was perfect.
Well, by about 6pm as the sun was setting behind Jura, I thought that the day had been idyllic. I had had a final swim and was submerged up to my chin in sublime hot water, my fingers curled around the creel ‘seats’, pulling myself as deep as I could. Eyes closed, listening to chatting voices and laughter as a bonfire was lit, the sounds of of the sea slopping onto the shore……surely life cannot get better? Actually it can and it did, when Charlotte handed me a mug of wine which I slurped like a baby cocooned in warm amniotic fluid!
A massive watery Thankyou to my Scottish friends.
(By Anna Dunscombe)