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  • Kylie Sprott

Exploration and discovery

My Mum visited Rothesay many years ago, for a couple of very cold and wet days. She still talks about how bleak it was. Suffice to say, she did not fall in love with the place during that very quick visit. Although she has been supportive of my adventures on Bute, she was a little unsure if she would love it as much I do. I am happy to confirm that the second time was a charm.

As we drove from our delightful hotel in Paisley to the ferry at Wemyss Bay, we realised with great amusement that we had managed to dress in near identical outfits. Nothing like twinning on the ferry! The trip over to Bute was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing it all again through her eyes.

My Mum and I had a blast exploring the island during our visit. Although we had a hire car for a portion of our trip, a lot of our adventures were on foot. It is easy to get around Rothesay from my flat, as it is very centrally located and nothing is too far away. Before long, we were making daily visits to Bonnie Bling for the best coffee and regular trips to the local butcher, Macqueens, for all sorts of treats. Even potato scones!

I am still learning about all that Bute has to offer - I suspect that I have just scratched the surface to be honest. But one thing that I am clear on is that the weather is very changeable. One minute things are delightfully sunny and the next, it is moody and dark. It makes for a remarkable contrast in the scenery, depending on when you venture out.

On one of our drives around the island, we took a lot of photos for Mum to remember the trip. As I look at those now, I can see beauty in every shot - regardless of the temperature or the natural light.

One of the great new finds, very close to my flat, is Bute Yard. This is a fantastic space, where there are local markets, events and plenty of food and drink options (including Bonnie Bling coffee, Isle of Bute Distillery, Bute Brew Co. and Bute Kitchen). We happily mingled with locals and tourists alike, purchasing cakes, flowers from Mount Stuart and truly delicious smoked salmon from the Isle of Bute Smokehouse. I highly recommend the oak smoked whisky cured salmon and the smoked salmon pate.

In this photo here, you can see my flat up the hill from Bute Yard (I have marked it in red to make easy for you!). It is very easy to keep an eye on things from there. ;-)

One of my favourite purchases from the market at Bute Yard was a beautiful hand turned wooden bowl (pictured) and cheese knife set from The Bute Wood Spoiler from Rothesay. The bowl now sits in my kitchen, to keep my keys in one place. It is truly a beautiful piece and I really do love it. There are so many artisans on Bute and I am very happy to support them.

My Gran used to talk to Mum about Canada Hill - a spot on the island where the locals would watch the ships depart for Canada. This is located at the top of the Serpentine Road, which is very close my flat. So, we ventured up there to have a look and marvelled at Gran doing so, as she injured her leg as a young girl and suffered mobility issues for the rest of her life.

To give you a sense of the degree of difficulty, here are some shots of the Serpentine, winding up the road to Canada Hill. I have marked where Mount Pleasant Road comes off Serpentine Road, which is where my flat is (& where my Gran used to live). As you can see, it is a long way up to Canada Hill!

But what a view from the top! Although my Gran and Great Grandmother sailed to Australia rather than Canada, no doubt this is where their friends and families waved them off to start a new life. It is a beautiful spot and it was really special to reflect on their journey with my Mum by my side.

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