A Country Dance Night

Lismore has been a special place for us for a long time. 


In 1978 I first saw the island while crossing the Firth of Lorn on a sailing trip from Dunstaffnage to Tobermory, and on a later trip we anchored for the night near Port Ramsay and in the quiet light of a May evening walked along to the Kirk to stretch our legs.


So it was with great delight that many years later, with my wife Margot, I was able to stay at the Pierhouse Hotel and then take the ferry over to Lismore and to walk again along the road to the Kirk and a bit further south.


Lismore called us back and on a later visit we hired bikes in Port Appin and so were able to explore further on the island.  This experience convinced us to buy our own bikes and to return again and to pedal south, this time almost to the lighthouse at the southern end, so completing the circle that had begun so many years before on that first sailing trip.


We had, by then, taken up Scottish Country Dancing, and spotted a sign outside Lismore Public Hall giving details of dancing held there.  But, how could we attend when the ferry to Port Appin would have finished for the night by the time the dancing ended?


Then this year, when our East Lothian Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society held its Away Weekend at the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, we met Sue Porter from Oban, who was our teacher for the Saturday morning class.  Our casual comment about always wanting to dance on Lismore was met by the reply “I can get you tickets!”, and an explanation about chartering the ferry from Port Appin for the journey to and from the dance arranged for May.


Further negotiations with the Pierhouse Hotel followed for accommodation, and we found ourselves, with fellow dancers, on the pier, ready for the ferry. Once on Lismore, an efficient shuttle service of cars down to the Hall, and a very friendly welcome there.


What a night!  Great music, great company, excellent dancing, and a spread of food for supper that surpassed most of the events attended on the mainland.

Lismore Argyll Scotland - Country Dance Night Lismore Argyll Scotland - Country Dance Night

Lismore Argyll Scotland - Country Dance Night

Lismore Argyll Scotland - Country Dance Night

Back again by the island ‘shuttle services’, and then an early summer night crossing to Port Appin.   


When we came into the Pierhouse Hotel Bar, some visitors there who had been observing the arrival of dancers from out of the dark sea asked what we had been up to.  We did explain properly, but it would have been tempting to reply “we have just returned from an enchanted isle!”  That, at least, was what we felt.

Alan Marchbank


July 2009

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