Scarba- Aoradh wilderness trip…

(L to R) Simon R, Nick, David, Andy, Simon M and me

(L to R) Simon R, Nick, David, Andy, Simon M and me

I am just back from our visit to the beautiful Scarba

6 of us went out on Saturday, via a chartered boat from Ardfern. The intention was to find some space inside and out, and try out some of the wilderness meditations we have been working on (see here for a selection.)

Scarba is a small island Between Mull and Jura in the Inner Hebrides off the Argyll coastline. It is surrounded by some of the most dramatic tidal waters in the world. To the east is the Gulf of Corryvrecken, with it’s famous whirlpool. On the other side, the Grey dogs tidal race.

The forecast was rotten, but we had two glorious days, with the occasional shower making the sky and sea all the more dramatic. I have a sun burnt head as I forgot a hat!

We were camping, but had the use of a bothy for evenings and shelter- thanks to the owners of the Island for their generosity in letting us use it!

So we abseiled down cliffs, explored caves, scrambled over heather and bog, set up meditation walks, sat around fires, walked ancient mysterious flagged pathways, and stood on places where early Christian monks worshiped. The deer and wild goats watched from a distance, and overhead a Sea Eagle wheeled in the wind.

Oh and we laughed. We laughed a lot. Whiskey was shared and bad jokes honoured.

Single malt, smoke, sharing

Single malt, smoke, sharing

Part of my motivation for visiting places like this should be obvious from what I have already written. For me, however, there are other things driving me.

Men and spirituality.

Not easy bedfellows.

Men do lots of theological arguing, and perhaps like a nice new project. But setting time aside to seek God- this tends to be a rather alien thing. A huge generalisation I know- but one that may well have some truth.

So I set to wondering whether the problem was not we blokes and the curse of trying to be masculine in the post modern age, but rather the problem was the way the Christian church has anchored and shackled spirituality to a narrow set of activities within organised structures.

What if there are other ways- old and new ways that seek God in small adventures, and in wilderness, and in communing around fires with a good bottle?

Here are some photos from our trip (click to enlarge)…