I have a list of thirty things to do before my thirtieth birthday, a bit over a year from now. Yes, really, I am that old. I have achieved a decent percentage of them now – buying expensive underwear, drinking an energy drink, wearing shorts in winter, getting an article published, attending a derby at Tynecastle, walking the route of the Glasgow Subway and walking across the Forth Road Bridge. Another item was ‘going on a ferry to somewhere new’. I managed it about a month ago. I went to Cumbrae. Now, for those from the west, that isn’t that exciting. Having grown up in the east, it was never on my radar. It happened on a stunning day at the end of April and keeping up a fine tradition, I got sunburnt, which last happened on a CalMac ferry to Arran.
Millport is a pleasant village at the southern tip of Cumbrae. It has low property prices and only one shop that could be found anywhere else on the planet. In short it is a place out of the Daily Mail or the 1950s. That doesn’t make it bad at all, quite the opposite. It is an hour and a half from here, served by SPT buses but it feels like another world. We went for a walk to one end then another, sitting by the harbour, looking out and across to Arran and Little Cumbrae. The Cathedral of the Isles, the smallest cathedral in these islands, was rather nice too, a pleasant church with a labrynth etched out in the grass outside.
One of the main thoughts I had was ‘how have I never been here before?’ I’ll be there again, definitely. I was reminded that while I love the east, the Clyde has some incredible places around it and in it, Cumbrae not the least of them. I plotted a trip to Arran which has yet to materialise but that’ll happen too. It needs the right day, the right moment. For Millport it was that day.