It was a blissfully quiet week to end July with just the daily round of worship at the cathedral and a number of pastoral visits to occupy the days. This changed on Sunday when after the three morning services we drove straight over to St Boniface of Ross, Achiltibuie for their afternoon Eucharist, the weather was excellent when we arrived and the view over the Summer Isles filled me with joy. The congregation was in very good spirits and they had been out gathering in the tourists as well, so a goodly number of us sang and prayed our way through the Eucharist.
On Monday we headed through to Aberdeen to conduct a funeral at the Crematorium calling in on the building works at Christchurch, Huntly on the way home. The works are coming on well and the repaired stonework is looking really good. By the weekend Bishop’s House gardens looked very manicured, I had worked hard on the borders and had cut stripes into the lawn, because this Saturday was the Diocesan Garden Party at our home. The garden party went really well with people from across the diocese meeting together and discovering friends old and new.
We were off to the Laich of Moray on Sunday, I was visiting the congregations at St Margaret’s, Lossiemouth, Holy Trinity, Elgin and The Mission at Burghead. It was lovely to be in my old churches again, and good to meet up with so many old friends and to meet so many new members. We got back to the Cathedral in time for the Gaelic Eucharist and to meet new people there as well.
The Bishop’s Office headed West on Monday, we set up business at St Mary’s, Ullapool and settled into the church flat above the church. On Tuesday I held a couple of meetings in the church and then we went for a walk in Leckmelm forest. When we got back to the village we decided to have a quiet meal in the Ceilidh Place, quiet it was not. The first person we met was the organist at Christchurch Hunty and then we bumped into the MP for Moray, Angus Robertson and Ian Blackford MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber along with Gail Ross, councillor in Wick and other local political characters. It really wasn’t a quiet night.
The following day I had a lunchtime meeting at the Applecross Inn, so after an early start we drove over the Bealach nam Ba, through a patch of very low cloud. As the cloud lifted we were confronted by the stunning view out over Skye and Raasay. The Inn was full as always and it was good to sit and chat with Tim and Ann. We drove back to Ullapool along the coast and stopped at Nannies in Sheildaig for afternoon Tea. After a long day we went for a stroll around the village and nipped into the Frigate for a bite to eat.
On Thursday we went for a walk up in the hills above the village, the weather was superb and we ended our walk with a couple of pints at the Arch before heading out to Canon Nicholas and Gillys for supper. We headed back to the East in the morning