82 Islands: ‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy’

‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy.’
-Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
(What a name!)

…Though originally used in a military context, this statement is equally valid for everyday scenarios.
It’s already come true for 82 Islands.

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Time to stop, make notes, to look and listen

This week I had decided to visit Berneray and North Uist, spending one night on each.
A little hop over the water to see my second and third islands.

I lost a couple of hours by mixing up my timings and the impromptu nature of my trip meant that I hadn’t arranged to meet anyone there before going. Okay, I could work around those.
But I definitely felt rushed.

A primary aim of this trip was to get to know the character of each island, to encourage a little more exploration rather than just seeing the main sights, taking some snaps and ticking the name off a list*.
Only one visit completed and I was about to start doing exactly that!

So I crossed North Uist off my plans and decided to spend the two nights in Berneray.

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Lots of very important thinking and planning is done over a dram in the Calmac Mariner’s Lounge!

Whilst I want to encourage fellow travellers to slow down, realistically this isn’t ever going to be true ‘Slow Tourism’… I’ll never get to know a place as intimately as I did by spending six weeks on the Shiant Isles (it would take a lifetime otherwise!)

But what I will do is spend a little longer on each visit. Maybe spend two nights so that I can wake up and go to sleep on each island with a full day in-between.
(I’m beginning to realise that the key to completing 82 islands is going to be in staying flexible. The project will naturally evolve over time and the only thing that won’t change will be the aims and ethos)

Anyway, I’m lucky to get to see these places and damn straight I’m going to make the most of them!

So it’s unlikely now that I’ll complete all 82 within a year.
I’ll still try to fit them in to keep up my own momentum but it won’t be the main aim.

These places are far too special to rush and, after all, life is about the journey and not the finish line.

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There’s a joy in slowing down and noticing the details

*Of course, if you enjoy ‘island bagging’ that’s fine too -we’re all different!

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