Friday, 5 June 2009

Holy Island at last!

31st May 2009:
After several aborted efforts, I finally got to Holy Island with Hilary and Annie, on the most beautiful sunny day. Our house looks out over Holy Island, so it was great to finally get on the little ferry boat and go there to see the island for myself. Holy Island is owned by the Ropka Trust, and is home to Tibetan Buddhist monks who run closed retreats of up to 3 years on the Island. Although visitors are welcome, you cannot go near the retreat building itself. Recently a group came out after a retreat of 4 years! The Buddhists also run short courses at the Centre for World Peace and Health, in subjects such as meditation, Tibetan yoga and vegetarian cooking. See for more info on the project.
As it is in Lamlash bay, the hills on the island, Mullach Beag and Mullach Mor, allow great views back over the water to Lamlash, with views of Goatfell and the mountains behind. As you get higher up, you also start to get views around to Brodick to the North and Whiting Bay and Ailsa Craig to the South. There are two lighthouses on the island, as well as horses, goats, and rare Soay sheep.
We walked over the two hills, then followed the coastal path back round. On the path we passed St Molaise's cave, where the 6th century Christian Saint lived, as well as more modern rock paintings of Lord Buddha and Tibetan Buddhist Saints. We also passed the 'Old Man', a rock formation exactly like a face. As the bracken was too high to see it clearly, the photo attached is courtesy of Toosh, as is the one of the Soay Sheep and lamb.
Holy Island really is a beautiful place to visit, as hopefully the photos show. It is great to now be be able to look across to the water and know that I have been there - and hopefully will be there again before too long!

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