My last travel post was The Beautiful Glen Croe on the road traveling westward towards Lochgilphead. The point on our journey where everything seems to change. One time when we travelled along this road we came down into the valley and everything changed from green to white. We were listening to a play on the radio. It was a conversation between J R Tolkien and C S Lewis, during which they visited each other’s fictional worlds, Narnia and Middle Earth.
Traveling with Tolkien and C S Lewis
Our road turned west and we dropped into the glen. Everything was frozen and white under a heavy frost. We stopped the car and got out, the Croe water was the only thing moving. It burbled along under coils of icy brambles. It was all quite surreal. Just like we had driven through the back of a wardrobe into Narnia’s frosty fiction and set out on one of Tolkien’s roads.
The week before lochs and rivers had been in flux, streaming, leaping and flowing fast. A manic motion, a crescendo, giving voice to the unabating stormy conditions. There could not have been a greater contrast from the crisp, crystalised countryside of our frosty trip on 13 February 2104.
When we reached the Atlantic coast the beaches had disappeared. Usually the sands lie white and the rocks rise darkly from the sparkling water. This time the tide was high and the sea looked smooth and thick, like the top of a cappuccino. Beyond the thick milky shoreline where the water was deeper, it was the colour of crushed emeralds and moonstones.
The Play Had Finished
The play finished miles before we even reached Lochgilpead, where we turn left and make our way down the Kintyre peninsula to meet the Atlantic ocean. The blurred line between myth and reality that Tolkien expertly obscures stayed with me for a while. I had enjoyed the multiple parallels of our own journey with Tolkien’s journeys set in Middle earth, over the misty mountains or to the westlands and the sea.
All this, and we still had the anticipation of re-uniting with Shemaron. I suggested stopping for a cup of hot coffee, thinking that a chance to reacquaint myself with my limbs (after sitting for hours in the car) might be prudent. We decided however the sooner we could get on board our boat the better. We were anxious to check everything was alright after our period of absence. When we finally arrived I found myself very quickly back in the real world, balancing on gunnels and clinging on to mangy ropes. We crossed the slick rusting green deck of the fishing boat that Shemaron was tied to, then negotiated more slippery gunnels before taking our final faltering steps onto the deck.
We eventually settled in…
While the fire took hold in the fo’c’sle Chris clunked and thumped through the arrival checklist. I put the kettle on, I was still looking forward to a hot drink. I picked up the teapot I saw the inside was speckled with mould, I went for the mugs but discovered they were not really in a much better state. There were no teabags or fresh milk. Negotiating in reverse the whole slippery boarding process was a little easier second time round. I folded myself back into the car and went off to the shops. Eventually I settled beside the stove ( after scrubbing the teapot and mugs), with my cup of tea, a fresh cream doughnut and a good book to read. (Which on this occasion wasn’t Lord of the Rings!)
I couldn’t remember the name of the Tolkien and CS Lewis radio play, but while I was searching for it I came across a youtube film Lewis and Tolkien Debate Myths and Lies. Grunky.com Worth a look.