Tuesday, April 20, 2004


(You can find it here.)

Yup. We had a great time. The family and I have been there several times now, but this was the first time at Easter. Some years ago we found a little house that we like so we have kept going back. It had never occurred to me before then how much difference the right place to stay can make to a holiday. It is more than simply a base from which to explore. Comfort counts! Perhaps this is just an age thing…

The journey was good (400 miles from the Midlands to the Mull of Kintyre via Glasgow to pick up Susan’s Mum) and the weather was reasonable: 2 days of rain, 2 of dry-but overcast, 2 of glorious sunshine.

We did a bit of walking and exploring the towns. They are very small in comparison to the mainland. The main industries are farming/crafting and the whisky industry. Islay is a famous for its peaty whisky. It has eight distilleries and a ninth coming soon. Bunnahabhain (pronounced boona-haavin, emphasis on the first and third syllables) is my favourite: peaty, yet a rich honey smoothness. Mmm.

On Easter Sunday, we went to the local Church of Scotland in Port Ellen. It was a communion Sunday so I think that is why it was pretty full, maybe 100 people. The hymns were great (good singing). Communion was well led.

Shame about the preaching. In the Easter sermon, the preacher denied the importance of the bodily resurrection of Christ. Rather the experience of the resurrected Christ is the most important thing. The influence of 20th century liberal writers was clear. There was a distinct note of the Christ-of-faith vs. the Jesus-of-history distinction made by these writers. As ever, truth is mixed with error. Experience is important, but history is vital. Otherwise there is no gospel, and we would be in no better position than buddists and others.

From experience this is par for the course in Islay. There is no gospel witness in the CoS. There is a small conservative Baptist church in Port Ellen, but it is very weak. Spiritually the picture is grim.

But overall, we had a good time. It all ended too soon. I had to be back home for Sunday, so we came home a day early.

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