Waterfalls, wild sea and whisky
“When we seek to bring out the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” William Arthur Ward
We chose the remote Isle of Skye for our final gathering, because it is the home of the 200-year old Talisker Distillery; official sponsor of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
The weekend visit promised remoteness, a brush with the elements, adventure, and an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the spirit of this premium brand of fine whisky, made by the sea.
I knew I would love this other-worldly outer-Hebrides island, but I didn’t realise how wholly it would claim my heart.
For a short break, the journey to this Scottish outpost is not for the faint-hearted. And, to add a touch of drama, it was made during a wild storm in the dark of night. What a relief to navigate through the horizontal rain and gusting gale force winds to arrive safely at our destination. The warming welcome we received, long past midnight, from our host Andy, set our stay off to a great start.
A quick explore
First stop was a visit to the magical Glenbrittle Fairy Pools at the foot of the Black Cuillins: On the agenda? Fording rivers, rock hopping, mud sliding and non-stop belly laughing! I’m sure Isaac will be back for a wild swim in these pools after the row.
Our Talisker Distillery tour
Scottish proverb: “Todays rain is tomorrow’s whisky.”
As promised, the distillery - which operates 24-7 at full capacity to meet demand - is perched on the edge of the Loch Harport. It’s easy to imagine, standing there, that it’s founders — the MacAskill brothers - rowed from Eig to Skye to establish the distillery two centuries ago.
Friendships forged by fire
This weekend was about connecting. About removing ourselves from the project management, negotiations and deliverables for two days of freedom and downtime. About remembering how much we enjoy each other. Touching base with our characters and strengthening our friendships. About how we’ve got each other’s backs now, and on the row, and how our different strengths have built a mighty powerful unit. And especially, about how much we need each other on this life-changing journey.
The power of determination
While we were on the beach, something truly remarkable happened. Cameron spotted a buoy in the distance and decided we should all go over to it for a photograph. When we got closer, we realised the buoy was named Rose. BOOM!
The Atlantic sea tides delivered this buoy to the Talisker beach for us to find this weekend. I am convinced this is a marker of the power of our determination to achieve our goal and make a difference to MS sufferers. We are ready to #row4rose.
I feel hugely privileged to have been included in the visit, along with my trusty camera, as an observer and facilitator, to learn even more about these incredible men - really my enlarged family - whom I affectionately call “my boys”. I am, as ever, deeply proud to be part of the Atlantic Discovery journey, and to be entrusted to tell their story. Thank you Ben, Cam, Isaac and Jack for sharing it with me.
Watch this space @virtualstowaway Penny Bird is a professional photographer and writer documenting Atlantic Discovery's incredible journey.