26 Apr 2009

Crammond Island - A Letter to my Lover

Right now I can think of few things more delicious than being trapped on Cramond Island with you.

It would have to be a day like is was on Saturday, when the sun seems to be suspended higher than ever before, and its warmth is engaged in a languid battle with the cool breeze that slides along the surface of the Forth and over my skin.

Cramond constantly loses and gains its island status as the tide rhythmically covers and exposes the long walkway. The walkway itself it strewn with empty seashells, pert and perfect like nipples and surrounded by the husks of dried barnacles. The shells are everywhere and it is impossible not to step on them, though every crunch feels like I am breaking something priceless.

All around are the sounds of sea birds and crows and the gurgle of rivulets leaking from tidal pools. Beneath it all and almost imperceptible is the last-breath hiss of evaporation.

We would cross when the tide was low, bring with us our picnic, our binoculars, and an enormous blanket. As the tide turned we would watch the people marching back to the bustle of the mainland and the waiting ice cream truck. Then the island would be ours.

Despite being used as everything from a holiday playground to army defences, Cramond Island retains a sense of the undiscovered. The trails are narrow and the old war-time buildings are gutted and dilapidated. Even the massive pillars of the once mighty WWII submarine defence boom look more sombre than formidable.

So much has happened there, but it is all over. No one lives there now. What remains is the assemblage of all the busy, giddy noises of nature, bulging outwards to create a dome over island, a sense of impenetrableness.

So as planes fly overhead and boats sail past, we could make our way to the back of the island, past the crumbling walls of an old house and, further on, more walls of thick brush. We could let that Lost World feeling float through us as we poked around through all that abandoned history.

When we were tired we could find a wide, clear spot, unfold our blanket and lie down. We could let the sun soak into our bodies, the warmth commanding our limbs as we bask in being alone - utterly alone in the world.

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