The final visit of our trip to Mid-Argyll was to see my good friend, the artist Fraser MacIver. Fraser lives in a converted showman’s wagon on the bank of the Crinan Canal, his studio surrounded by his beautiful garden. Should you ever find yourself in Mid-Argyll, I highly recommend a visit to Fraser’s Wagon. He always has art on display in his studio and always has a warm welcome for visitors, whether old friends or strangers. Fraser introduced us to Fred the cat – a new companion since my last visit to the Wagon – and fed us with delicious banana cake, still so steaming hot from the stove that the frosting melted all over it. A special treat for the boys was a jaunt in Fraser’s dinghy. My oldest was given a brief and rudimentary lesson in rowing and took two of his brothers out for a whirl in the canal.
We checked out of our hotel in Ardrishaig with over an hour to spare before we had to collect our 9 year old son from his friend’s house, following his sleepover there. We, therefore, decided to take a jaunt out to Crinan.
The village of Crinan is at one end of the Crinan Canal – the other end being at Ardrishaig. The 15 lock canal opened in 1801 in order to connect Loch Fyne and Loch Gilp with the Sound of Jura. That allowed commercial vessels, including Clyde Puffers, to avoid sailing around the Kintyre Peninsula.
Even on a murky grey day with the rain battering down, Crinan is a picturesque spot. We spent an hour wandering over the lock gates, looking at the puffers moored in the basin, watching sailing boats moving through the final locks and out into the sound, admiring the view across the Duntrune Castle from the lighthouse, strolling past the lobster pots, making friends with chubby snails and creating a bow.