Peace on earth

2 December 2019
Ben Pentreath

After lengthy trips to Dorset and Cornwall last week, I took the train back up to London on Thursday afternoon and caught the sleeper train from Euston in good time. I slipped into bed and fell fast asleep…. arriving at Arrochar station in the morning, still pitch dark, everything deep in frost. I drove home to a glorious awakening morning.  Charlie had been at the bothy for a day or two.  High pressure had moved over Scotland and the weather was extraordinary from the minute we arrived until the minute we left. 

It still shocks us to think that this little house had planning approval to be knocked down and replaced by a giant bungalow.  In fact, not only that, but that the planning CONDITION required it to be knocked down rather than repaired and made good.  But all it really needed to get it weather tight was a new roof and new windows and a new door. And of course, we’re not building the bungalow. 

The cottage is also looking good.  Duncan our builder has been finishing off the window surrounds with their smart new white trim (work in progress, like a few things…!)

We went down to the water – frost on the seaweed.  The air was cold but the sun was warm.

Geese (I think?- I need to reacquaint myself with bird watching after a 40 year pause, since I was about 6 or 7) flying overhead… 

Ice left by the falling tide…

Sibyl ventures out:

And then we went to the village for lunch in the pub. It was such a perfect afternoon that we left the car and walked home.  Quite a long way but worth it. 

On the way home is the remains of an ancient fort… on a little hill, that doesn’t seem so high, until you climb it…. 

Views in every direction, commanding over the loch.   There was not a breath in the air – the water was mirror flat… literally, astonishing. 

That night there was a magic show in the village hall. Cynicism was soon dispelled as trick after trick astounded the audience, from age 5 to 85. We were all amazed.

And we rolled home and into bed, and woke the following morning to sunrise just coming up at about 9 o clock. The days are short…

but so beautiful…

On Saturday we pottered around and did a trip into town and I slept that afternoon, and read, and we watched a golden sun dip into the water. 

The dogs going crazy on the hillside above the cottage. 

The sky got richer and richer…. the water perfectly still. 

That night, drinks at our neighbours which went into the wee hours, and left my head more than a llittle worse for wear, if I’m completely honest. But the sunshine was brilliant on Sunday morning.  (The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that in the photograph above the tin bath is not outside the bothy. That’s because it’s our bath and it was in by the fire when I took the photo). It was Enid’s first birthday. Time for her official portrait…

And the sun was so warm and the air so completely still that we decided that there was nothing better than to have breakfast outside… on the 1st December. Bacon and eggs and toast and marmalade tasted incredibly good. 

We did nothing that day… walks on the beach at low tide…
Where it looked as if Mavis had learnt to walk on water…

Looking back at the bothy and cottage…

The shed on the far right is, well, our shed… but the tiny one next door to it contains the compost loo. It works very, very well, I must be honest. 

Later, we went for another walk, down the peninsula. 

Enid with the Paps of Jura beyond.

Down at the old stone jetty… 

I wonder if we will ever see the sea so flat again in our lives…?

Mavis in for a dip, as always… 

And home, to another incredible sunset. 

Here’s Charlie’s raised beds, slowly under construction….  being inspected.

And then drinks with our other neighbours, over across the water, and we got home in the pitch dark, and had supper, and early to bed.  This morning, we were up early; I was back to Glasgow, where I hopped on the train down to London, all working well, and Charlie and the dogs drove down to Dorset in record time.

Scotland literally feels like an other worldly experience, on days like these.  So far away, so many new discoveries, evenings with our fantastic new neighbours, and hours and hours of complete and utter peace.  Total rest. For two days, for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t open my laptop at all.

It’s hard to come away. But it’s very lovely to share as well, and I hope that looking, as I have just done again, at a few of these photographs, will bring to your evening or morning the astonishing sense of peace that the mirror-flat water and infinite horizons can offer.

32 comments on this post

Darlene Chandlersays:

I was trying to respond to your Dec. 8th blog and it would not let me. I wanted to say that the scenery at your home from all the rain and greenery was so beautiful. Those geraniums are a magnificent colour. I did fly from Canada to attend your function at your shop for Christmas and so enjoyed my time there. It was a lovely event.

Darlene Chandlersays:

Beautiful pictures of the Bothy and Cottage and the wonderful views you experience. The vegetation is interesting the the shells and water. Nice to see that Charlie has started to organize his garden for future planting. The sunsets are beautiful. And so nice to see your table set up outside and Charlie.


Simply breathtaking

Diane Keanesays:

‘Otherworldly’ is indeed the word that comes to mind. Then comes the realization of how fragile it all is. How fortunate that you and Charlie are not only treading so gently upon the earth of Scotland, but also actively rescuing and nurturing your piece of the land. Bravo, and thank you!


Beautiful pictures – such detail, textures, and colours. Best wishes, Nicola

Barbara Salmonsays:

Dear Ben, what a wonderful respite your photos and words are. Thank you for sharing these special moments with us. The air must feel so clean and fresh, I can almost feel it! With very best wishes Barbara


Dear Ben,
thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos with us. What a very peaceful and beautiful place on earth ! Scotland is really amazing and every photo is such a joy ever and ever again !
The cottages are so very lovely, you have really found the perfect place (love the yellow door and windows).
Your blog brings always a smile in my face 🙂
Thank you !


Just swoon over your photos. Quite magic and glorious to enjoy. Thanks for sharing them. But then you have a stunning spot in Scotland and in lovely Dorset whet we live too.
Keep them coming Thanks again


Food for the soul! Thank you Ben. What a wonderful, soul full-filling life you both lead. The world needs more people like you.
Karen from NZ


I love this blog., thank you Ben and Charlie. I was on 2 meditation retreats on Jura House many years ago, 2 weeks each, and saw the sea from the other side of the water. On some hot days it was like being in Greece. It’s a very special area, so thank you for reminding me of wonderful times,

liz allensays:

Bliss. Scotland was one of our favourite trips celebrating 25 years married. I open the photos frequently to revisit and am grateful for the chance to revisit through your blog.
With thanks and appreciation for the post this week, Liz Burlington ON Canada


P.S. I can’t wait to see what Charlie is going to grow in his raised beds.


Thank you for your delightful account, and the pictures – so evocative.
From sunny Hawke’s Bay.

Peter Sullivansays:

Another absorbing blog. It is so special for you to relate your experiences of that beautiful part of Scotland for our pleasurable reading.

Deborah Wagnersays:

I should have gotten off the sofa about five minutes ago and made my breakfast – make that half an hour ago, at least – but reading this and seeing these otherworldly photographs are worth being late for work. (I’m retiring next week!)

With hugs from snowy Cambridge, MA, USA,



oh the glory of simplicity and nature…soothing in complicated world. It was lovely to see the garden beds and anticipate the wonders coming in the spring, another type of Advent I suppose. May the December winds continue to be kind as you all enter the holidays. Happy Birthday Enid!

Charlie Buddsays:

Zen and the Art of Ben Maintenance?

It looks glorious and calming – I’m so glad you all had such a fabulous break.


Thank you so much to both of you for sharing your wonderful photos, glad you now have a place in Scotland, that you are preserving not demolishing – we all benefit from your lovely, peaceful photos.


Stunning, perfect, idyllic!

Elaine Petersonsays:

This is the Scotland I remember from 50 years ago when I first went there, hiking solo for 3 weeks at the end of a 3 month European wander post college graduation. I was utterly smitten by the beauty and otherworldly peace there and the trip marked the transition from my childhood to a working adult life. I am so happy to see your pictures and know that the Scotland of the old world still exists and that you have respected it by not removing the old for the new, but by incorporating new life into the neglected old. Whoever lived or wandered thereabouts in times past saw what you are seeing in the landscape and loved it as well. Thank you for sharing your experience with the rest of us and know that many another is benefiting from what you do there.


That bath is the icing on the cake of your cottage and bothy in my view! Thank you for rescuing so sympathetically these lovely vernacular buildings and sharing them.

David Sanderssays:

Mavis is turning into a veritable water baby and her levitation skills are par excellence.

Very impressed by the scale of Charlie’s raised beds… giant pumpkins in the offing?

Dana Mooreheadsays:

Spectacular! Thank you

Patricia Lillian Taylorsays:

Your posting was just what I needed to kick start me to
activity after a fortnight of sneezing and coughing. Off the
sofa now to plant tulips (overdue) and pick up windfall Brambley
apples from the lawn to process and freeze. Thank you.


I so look forward to every post. Each one a lovely respite/view and a joy to behold (even the sad moments). Thank you for sharing it with us. Sending you all the best.

EJ Michelsays:

My gratitude is in your sharing so much of your wonderful life with us total strangers. what a magical weekend and what wonders you have done in that place. (a few questions hopefully not considered impertinent – will there be a fence around the beds? where do you park the car?)


It is otherworldly,in the best possible way. I’m a bit envious of your lovely bolthole,truth be told. But if it can’t be mine there are no finer fellows to conserve it for future generations. I hope you enjoy it for many yrs to come.

Laurie Ludwicksays:

Dear Ben,

Thank you for sharing the small details of your simple daily routine in what looks like such a magical place. Your photos and words express deep contentment and joy. Please continue to share.

Anna graingersays:

Those photographs are spectacular. We have a place in Devon and it is so hard to leave every weekend to go back to London. I can imagine it is difficult to leave your beautiful place and that pace of life too.

Bob Cooksays:

Hi Ben & Charlie. Loved reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your time in Scotland with us all. Your girls certainly loved it. I remember a holiday my partner and I shared with friends just a bit further down the coast. It was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave. One day we’ll return.
Looking forward to more blogs

Debra Mooresays:

Dear Ben Charlie and furry girls what amazing photos of your Scottish retreat. The sea looked more like a Loch incredible l bet you cannot believe your views and new surroundings. The dogs look like they love it too. Thank you for sharing with us.


I have been a lurker for several years and have seen many photographs of Scotland for several decades now, but these are the best I have ever seen. You must frame the one of the dogs walking on water.

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