Bill Mills' room

Bill Mills

Fairy tale

by  Bill Mills

We had left Kip Marina on a Friday night in September to a very ‘iffy’ forecast and headed for Millport.  It wasn’t a very pleasant passage.  The drizzle, the nasty chop, the wind not being very friendly and it was cold and very dark.

          Somewhere around 2100 we got round the south end of the Big Cumbrae and thought we had nothing to do then but get the sails down, the engine on, pick up the red leading lights into Millport and then the George for a welcome pint.

          Wrong!  The Illuminations were on.  Have you ever tried to pick up leading lights when the esplanade, the pier and practically everything else is festooned in fairy-lights.  It is practically impossible. 

 We traversed back and forth across the bay and slowly moved shorewards dodging the Clach and Spoig reefs, then tentatively made our way between the Spoig and the Eileans islets with the uncomfortable feeling that we were closer to the southernmost off-lying lump of hard stuff than we should have been.  When the Wee Cumbrae light flashed, it either gave a weak glow shorewards, or blinded you for a couple of minutes – depending on which way you happened to be looking at the time.

Eventually and thankfully enjoying our pint and a ‘wee goldie’ at the George, we heard from the locals that the innermost leading light had been extinguished for a couple of days, which certainly hadn’t helped our approach through the blinding myriad of twinkling fairy luminosity.

         Bill Mills