Planning a journey back to my homeland

 by Jack Crombie

Over 36 years ago I arrived on these shores, started a business, got married, raised a family.

My journey has been perhaps a little more exciting than most would find acceptable; including as it has, the many risky, sometimes successful and occasional failed business ventures, all of which involved considerable blood sweat and tears.

The rides at Great America pale in comparison to the bumps, turns, highs and lows that has been the roller coaster experience of these last 36 years.

Next month the prodigal son returns to visit his parents and the land of his birth. After 36 years of love and support from my Mum and Dad, I am at last in a position where people might lend me the money that I might now in some small way repay my parents by taking them on a trip round the haunts of our collective youth.

Kisimul Castle on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The castle was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra. - photo by Kenny MacAskill, Member of the Scottish Parliament
Kisimul Castle on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The castle was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra. – photo by Kenny MacAskill, Member of the Scottish Parliament

The time is never right, but I am now at the age where the parents of my wife, the parents of my friends and associates are failing and taking their final leave. The position is now starkly clear: If not now, perhaps never.

As Scottish poet Robert Burns once said, “Catch the moments as they fly, and use them as you ought.”

Therefore, my wife, her eldest daughter and myself, will shortly be flying from O’Hare to Edinburgh, Scotland, to visit my parents and embark on a trip that might be of interest, on a number of levels, to a wider audience.

The plan calls for and allows, but one short night at my parent’s house on the east coast of Scotland, to catch our breath from the inevitable jet lag.

Day two will find us rising early and no doubt exhausted, to jump in to our euro sized rental car, two in the front, three in the back bound for the west coast of Scotland, and Oban, the capital of the highlands.

Here we plan on catching the one o’clock ferry for the isle of Barra, the most southerly of the outer Hebrides.

At this point I should say that my wife and I have never been on a cruise as she gets sea sick merely approaching a boat deck, never mind actually getting on a boat.

The distance from England to France is 30 miles, a voyage done by ferry in about an hour and by high speed train through the chunnel in minutes.

The distance from Oban to Barra is almost one hundred miles and the ferry takes over five hours!

In addition the waters to be crossed are legendary for their rocky shorelines, their winds, their weather and their treacherous storms.

Needless to say, things are a little tense on the matrimonial front at this time!

When we get to Barra, population 1,300, we will find, well let me tell you next month what I find.

Jack Crombie is originally from Scotland and lives in Winthrop Harbor.
Jack Crombie is originally from Scotland and lives in Winthrop Harbor. – JackCrombie/Facebook

 

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