Angus MacPhail: Marathons, music and some sublime sailing

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Half-marathon finished!

I am happy to report that, despite the fears highlighted in last week’s article, I managed to complete the Edinburgh half-marathon comfortably and my injured ankle held firm without any hint of a grumble.

My time was two hours and 22 seconds, which I was delighted with, and thanks to generous support from many we exceeded the target for fundraising.

Compared to the sweltering heat of the 10K run in Manchester the week before, the fog and cool breeze coming in from the sea made the temperature of Edinburgh’s event much more suited to my body. The refreshingly cold weather, coupled with an easy course, including some lovely downhill sections, definitely helped deliver my surprisingly reasonable finishing time.

Skerryvore Lighthouse

It’s been a few years since I was at Skerryvore Lighthouse and the majesty of that beautiful sea tower has not lessened in that time.

The tallest lighthouse in the British Isles and given the accolade by Robert Louis Stevenson as being ‘the noblest of all extant deep sea lights’, Skerryvore is an impressive spectacle to behold.

RLS could have been accused of family-born favouritism, as it was his uncle Alan Stevenson who conceived of, designed and led the building of this pinnacle of marine guidance 12 miles to the south-west of Tiree.

This was one of our most frequent destinations over the years when running Skipinnish Sea Tours, and even when visiting the lighthouse sometimes twice daily, its power of presence never failed to have effect.

It gives me great pleasure that Donnie and Fraser MacInnes, another Tirisdeach uncle and nephew team, have restarted running boat trips from Tiree this year and it was with their new company, Tiree Sea Tours, that I travelled on my recent voyage to Skerryvore.

The weather was sublime, there were basking sharks and birdlife galore, and the commentary and crack were top notch. It is excellent that once again on Tiree there is a service giving people the chance to experience the nearby wonders of the seas around the island. Best wishes to Fraser, Donnie and their team.

Oban Live

From Skerryvore Lighthouse to Skerryvore the band, and with their massive annual Argyll-based party, Oban Live, happening next week, excitement is building for this top Scottish festival.

Adding to the anticipation of this year’s event is that, as part of the weekend, Skerryvore are launching their long-awaited album EVO.

Come hail, rain or shine, this will be an amazing weekend of music and celebration, but if the weather we’ve enjoyed this week can last just a bit longer, then crowds at Oban Live are going to be basking in sunshine and enjoying the bands, having a few cold drinks under clear blue skies and the smile of summer.

Oban is the place to be next weekend and tickets are still available for those who don’t have them yet.