Enjoying the Knapdale dude ranch experience
It’s a funny life working out here on this remote coast with our gentle routine of planting and weeding, grooming and feeding.
There’s no water-cooler chat with colleagues, no boss raising an eyebrow, just us, the sheep, the pigs and the coos. So when our efforts are complimented by those in the know, it’s a nice wee boost for us all.
Turns out we’ve produced some pretty decent pork. The butcher described it as perfectly balanced; not too much fat and a good lot of meat.
He’s asked to keep a load for himself, but there’s still enough for our hungry lot, plus a plentiful supply for the shop.
Out in the tropics of our greenhouse-cum-polytunnel it’s not quite the Day of the Triffids, but it’s not far off.
The veggies are growing at a crazy rate, covering every spare scrap of soil and climbing the walls like children dosed with granny’s homemade tablet.
We’re hopeful they, too, will grace the shelves locally - the veg, not the kids - well, not yet. So, an abundant harvest is already in sight.
Huge bowls of salad snipped from the ‘cut and come again’ varieties now adorn the dinner table every day, while the early tatties should be sitting alongside them by next week.
The croft’s first signs of fruitfulness bode well for a summer already threatening to wrench us from our contented isolation into the frenetic and unfamiliar world of socialising.
Our extended family and friends have taken one look at the complexities of foreign travel’s ‘traffic light’ system and decided a fortnight on a mucky, windswept croft will have to do. It’s an all-inclusive option to rival anything Magaluf or the Maldives has to offer – unlimited local beverages - Argyll Spring Water and our homemade hooch - and an all-day, help-yourself buffet, aka whatever you can find in the fridge.
There are a host of Nevadastyle Dude Ranch activities including haltering wild (slightly grumpy) cows and taking them on a cattle drive all the way to the far west coast.
It might just be a dawdle down the driveway to the beach, but with our greedy Highland cows stopping to snack on reeds, irises and seaweed it could seem like an epic expedition.
Down at the shore there is a selection of cruises to choose from, all of them delighting in authentic, hands-on experience of coastal traditions.
Try your hand at catching your own lobster – a fully immersive experience involving an unrivalled upper-body workout as you haul up miles of slimy rope attached to a tonne-weight creel hoaching with tiny crabs rather than juicy big lobsters.
Or how about a relaxing spot of fishing off the back of the boat?
There will be a host of tasty mackerel for the taking in a month or two.
Enjoy the added challenge of catching them with a crazed Great Dane leaping for the fishing line at every cast.
She’ll be wearing her lifejacket - just make sure you are too as it’s bound to be blawin' a hoolie all summer long.
But I know there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
Come torrential rain or shine, I’d swap Nevada for Knapdale every time.