The night was redolent with thunder and lightning; the skies dark and the waves thrashing the shore. The spray from the breakers carrying hundreds of feet in the whistling wind. The sound near the waves was tremendous, the crashing of the thunder barely heard above it even if through the grey skies and sheeting rain the lightning could still be seen, jagged, forked and splitting the sky with a force that simple humans such as I found both spectacular and intimidating. The wind stung your face with salt and spume, raised from the crap that we had put into our seas.
We were all out that night walking the shore. The maroons had gone off earlier in the night to call the coast guard into action and later the local police were chapping on doors asking for assistance to walk the long stretches of beach that lay all along the Kintyre coast.
I found out from one the ambulance drivers that I knew that the coastguard had found an overturned fishing boat, overturned and holed. On a good night hitting the rocks was dangerous and stupid, on a night like tonight it was suicidal.
My friend told me that the coastguard had rescued one, pulled him from the sea and that he was hurt and cold but doing alright under the circumstances, but another six of the crew were missing. All had been in the sea. So, as was the way around here, and I am sure, many other fishing communities, those that were fit and able bundled themselves up against the cold and rain and wind and took to the beaches.
I was one of them.
This was a dreadful task, it had to be done but in all my year’s, man and boy, it was rare that I had seen a good outcome. The boat holed, this wind, the Kintyre Rocks, the strange under currents and rip tides on the west coast gave you little hope for survivors but against all odds here and there It had happened.
It was a treacherous coastline at the best of times and tonight could not even be compared to the best of times in fact it could easily have echoed the Dickens idea of the very worst of times.
The waves were high and even though there was no sun and very little moonlight or starlight, the clouds thick and grey and gathered together like huge bulbous granite mountains that dropped their wrath on the sea and beach in the form of rain and sleet, hailstones and snow. Those grey monstrosities, pretend granite, were oblivious of your or others plight, they had simply their own job of pulverizing stone and sand but left you with a faded, jaded hope of for survivors.
Yet all you could really see was the white spume of the breakers and the waves upon the rocks that bordered the shingle shore of the sea loch. The Island of Davaar, a huge volcanic cap and island, formed during the last ice age, that towered into the air and dominated the view on a reasonable day, could not even be seen.
The volcanic cap of the island of Davaar sheltered the small sea loch that Campbeltown lay at the head of. It shelters the bay and the deep water loch that is known the world over. Normally for the making of Whisky and most know the song, Campbeltown loch I wish you were whisky.
Campbeltown itself may be important in historical terms and to its current residents but it is nothing more than a small west coast town in Scotland with little to offer other than golf, fishing, good arable land and beauty.
It is here that all begins, Rob and the people along the coast go looking for survivors.