There was one spot on the headland which Algy loved especially. At this point the ground rose towards a cleft in the rock, with each face vertical as though it was a doorway through to the other side. But beyond this opening the rocks plunged straight down to the sea, forming a wee canyon for the tide to surge up in stormy weather. Woe betide the careless explorer who rushed towards this “way through” without due caution – or without wings!
Best of all, however, there was a lovely view through this gap to the north. Algy leaned back against the rocks in the warm afternoon sunshine, and gazed across the Sea of the Hebrides towards the Small Isles. It was a beautiful spring day, and the sea was a dark, dark blue, echoing the blue sky overhead. Everything was calm and peaceful; there was no sound except the constant murmur of the sea below and the singing of a skylark overhead. It reminded Algy of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:
On ear and ear two noises too old to end
Trench—right, the tide that ramps against the shore;
With a flood or a fall, low lull-off or all roar,
Frequenting there while moon shall wear and wend.
Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,
His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score
In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
And pelt music, till none ’s to spill nor spend.
[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem The Sea and the Skylark by the 19th century English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.]