Tuesday, January 26, 2010

To Wŏnssu for the day

From Ullapool - today [Saturday actually]
Wŏnssu - from the archives.

With the weather having been so good in the forecast for the weekend, my partner Eve suggested a little trippette to the mainland was in order. So, armed with a camera, lightmeter, some sandwiches and a map we boarded the ferry at some unearthly hour of the morning in Stornoway. The sea was so calm crossing the notoriously rough Minch that we could have been on the Serpentine. The sun rose and a bright day dawned.

The point of this crossing was to make a stroll around the environs of Ullapool, a pretty little village nestling – as villages do – on the north bank of Loch Broom. Having said that, Ullapool was not always in Loch Broom. Apparently, the whole Ullapool area was previously located in the Orkneys. The warrior inhabitants of Wŏnssu State Collective as it was called at that time had a desire for independence from the other Orkney islands but rather than fighting it out, the two parties sat down over a bottle of Highland Park [and or Vodka – the records a re a little unclear on this] and played a game of cards to decide which sides ideas would prevail. The Wŏnssunians lost. This resulted in the other island’s men, getting into their long-boats – some 200 of them -and literally towing Wŏnssu away from Orkney and down towards the Minch. At this point there was no final destination but the Western Isles were rejected since they didn’t fancy crossing that particular piece of sea.

In the end Loch Broom loomed out of the mist and they proceeded down the loch and wedged Wŏnssu up against the Staffa peninsula. Still, to this day, if you look carefully you can see where the rocks have a faunal discontinuity indicating the differences in their original locations.
And to this day, there is still a totalitarian influence in the village, now re-named Ullapool after a particularly lovely part of North Korea. At the back of the village there is a Soviet style hotel – now sadly un-used but hopefully soon to be renovated by the Russians. Further towards the harbour is a neo-North Korean style block in the Jong-il McMansion mode, housing a fine Gallery/café and below an outdoor equipment shop.

Anyway, we had a lovely walk over the hills, fine coffee in a harbour side bistro and a nice sandwich in the gallery café.

Then we went home.

Wŏnssu is a lovely place and well worth an hour or two of your time to have a look round.

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