Fishing, Camping and Sleeping on a Boat

There seems to be a lot of camping goods on offer right now, and while this might make some people think of lovely summer evenings sleeping under the stars and of spring mornings exploring beautiful countryside, the thought of  camping cots and backpacks still cause me to give an involuntary shudder. A few of the other items which I had come across this week also helped me piece together a memory I would rather forget but have now decided to share in a type of blog therapy.

I need to take you back in time to near the start of the 1990s and a typically wet Scottish summer when I decided to go fishing on the West coast. I think it might actually have been poaching rather than fishing to be honest, so I won’t mention the name of the place in case the Fisheries Commission or whatever they are called look up their 1993 CCTV footage and track me down. Actually, that sounds a bit unlikely so I can confirm that I had decided to go saltwater fishing on the Island of Arran.

The ferry was, perhaps slightly unusually, filled with Germanic motorbike dudes dripping with chains and who looked like no strangers to the odd bout of fisticuffs. As I hurriedly left the ferry the only thought I had in mind was to find the beach where a friend had told me that I would be able to camp.

We're off to Arran as well

We're off to Arran as well

It was getting dark by the time I arrived and as I asked for directions in a strange looking garage, which seemed to be aiming for the world record in rusty vintage car parts and idle employees, I remembered all the things that the boy scouts would have taught me had I not been too busy playing my spectrum to go and join them (don’t camp in a field with a bull, don’t camp  where the tide will soon be, don’t camp two feet from the edge of a precipice). Pleased with myself that I had saved all those years of scout lessons and could still look after myself I found the place and started unpacking my backpack…when disaster struck. I had been so unnerved by the Teutonic Hell’s Angels that I had left my blooming tent on the ferry, and it was probably even now being carried home by some spotty Adrossan youth who would use it for acid rave parties, smoking haddock in or whatever they do for fun in that part of the world.

Anyway, I managed to find an old guy at the waters edge who looked like he had just stepped out of a 1960s National Geographic story on the ravaging effects of living too long beside salty water and he showed me some ancient boats for sale (whether for sailing in or as sawdust I am not sure) and let me stay the night in one. The one and only time I have ever slept on the water on a wooden floor and been woken by a giant seagull pecking my window.

By the way, my journey home was, rather predictably, fishless.

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