By Norine Rae—
As you begin to map out your plans for 2017, why not consider a cruise in the west of Scotland? In December of 2016, I shared with you some of the details of my trip with Argyll Cruising while promising to expand on the attractions we encountered during our voyage. Each day we would travel to a new location and after a satisfying breakfast, we ventured out to see the magnificent landscapes. Whether our day included browsing through a quaint village, grand castle, exquisite garden,historical church, or even a gingerly coastal hike I was always amazed by the beauty of Scotland. My favorite visit was on the Isle of Bute where we toured Mount Stuart a 19th century Victorian Gothic country manor home with extensive gardens. Mount Stuart is the ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bute and was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson for the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 1870s. It replaced an earlier house by Alexander McGill, which burnt down in 1877.
I still remember gasping as the manor was revealed to us for the first time as we rounded the path. Viewing the side of the house my steps increased as my expectation overflowed desiring to gaze within. Yet, we lingered outside for a few minutes enjoying the lovely gardens. Our knowledgeable tour guide wet our appetite as she share stories of the family, home’s features and architectural flare.
Each room told a story of those who dwell there, but I will never forget the huge contrast of Gothic flare to the brilliance and presence of God I felt as we walked into the stunning white marble chapel which is still used today for weddings, concerts, and celebrations. In the center of the room there was a display of red blown glass – each piece unique – representing the tears of Christ. I sat in silence as I gave thanks to God for sacrificing His son for my sins. I felt God’s unfailing love in the Chapel. After the tour was completed we were able to go back and view areas for a second time. For me, it was back to the Chapel once again to give thanks for all that is beautiful in my life.
I have seen many churches and cathedrals during my travels, yet this sharp contrast of dark and light with the light from the windows piercing through the tears of Jesus and refracting color on the marble reminded me again of God’s goodness. Throughout Mount Stuart you will find extraordinary whimsical beauty to include precious stained glass windows created by Nathaniel Westlake reflecting stories from the Bible.
Iain, our ships skipper, met us at the boat launch at the designated time to return to Splendour. My heart was grateful and full of joy for the splendor I beheld that day. As we sat down to enjoy the yummy lunch prepared by Steve, our chef, I reflected on the day and the days to come knowing that each is precious if only we look and embrace. You too can embrace the beauty around you each day. As you experience your own adventures this year I pray you see the goodness of God around you. Argyll Cruising will give you the opportunity to explore sites that will take your breath away.