It was at this point that sporty outdoor hubs got lucky with the weather. He insists that we all got lucky with the weather, but I contend that if it had been abysmal we would probably have survived it - somehow - but he would never have heard the end of it. After a miserable wet summer in which the only sunshine we saw was in Bad Münstereifel, we had five days of clear, dry, windless weather, and the sun actually shone. We spent hours on the beach, collecting shells, climbing about on the rocks and kayaking around the bay.
Later in the week we took a ferry trip from Mallaig to the islands of Eigg and Muck, also in glorious sunshine - although the wind was rather biting up on deck and we eventually retreated to the extremely snug passengers' lounge. There we had a very interesting chat with a retired lady who had grown up on Eigg and had had to go away to boarding school on Skye at the age of 12 - at that time a long trip in several stages taken in an open boat in all weathers and sometimes at night! I looked across the lounge at small son and tried to imagine sending him away like that.
On the way back from Eigg the boat was accompanied by porpoises, who leapt playfully through the foamy wake.
I still think it was a mad idea going camping in a tent in Scotland in October. There were moments when it was uncomfortable - such as the morning when we all woke up at 5am and were unable to get back to sleep because we had gone to bed at 8pm when it got too dark to do anything. Cooking for four on two Trangia stoves (when you are also sharing the gas cannister from one of them with the camping lantern) loses its appeal after a couple of days. Searching the sleeping compartments for the source of an evil aroma and finding a pair of wet socks lurking under one of the mats is pretty nasty too! Was it worth it, though? Yes, definitely.
NB I debated with myself before posting about any of this, since it does not really have anything to do with books or writing (in fact I hardly did any reading all week and did not write so much as a postcard, since neither of those occupations is comfortable outdoors in October). Sporty outdoor hubs says it is acceptable subject matter since it could all be material for a future book set in Scotland. Personally I am not convinced. I think it is reasonable to expect the heroine of a thriller to put up with vengeful serial killers, appalling relationship issues and horrible, impossible dilemmas. But the aroma of wet dirty socks? No. Some things are simply too horrific.