THROUGH THE SOUNDS - STORNAWAY - THE SETTING UP OF THE
FIGURE-HEAD - FITZ'S FORAY - OH WEEL MAY THE BOATIE ROW,
THAT WINS THE BAIRNS'S BREAD - SIR PATRICK SPENS JOINS - UP
Stornaway, Island of Lewis, Hebrides, June 9, 1856.
We reached these Islands of the West the day before
yesterday, after a fine run from Oban.
I had intended taking Staffa and Iona on my way, but it
came on so thick with heavy weather from the south-west,
that to have landed on either island would have been out
of the question. So we bore up under Mull at one in the
morning, tore through the Sound at daylight, rounded
Ardnamurchan under a double-reefed mainsail at two P.M.,
and shot into the Sound of Skye the same evening, leaving
the hills of Moidart (one of whose "seven naen" was an
ancestor of your own), and the jaws of the hospitable
Loch Hourn, reddening in the stormy sunset.
At Kylakin we were obliged to bring up for the night;
but getting under weigh again at daylight, we took a fair
wind with us along the east coast of Skye, passed Raasa
and Rona, and so across the Minch to Stornaway.
Stornaway is a little fishing-town with a beautiful
harbour, from out of which was sailing, as we entered,
a fleet of herring-boats, their brown sails gleaming like
gold against the dark angry water as they fluttered out
to sea, unmindful of the leaden clouds banked up along
the west, and all the symptoms of an approaching gale.
The next morning it was upon us; but brought up as we
were under the lea of a high rock, the tempest tore
harmlessly over our heads, and left us at liberty to make
the final preparations for departure.