Algy moved closer to the edge of the precipice, so that he could get a better view of the sea below. It was just rolling peacefully along today, swirling around the rocks quite innocently, as though it had never been known to thunder and roar up the canyon with terrific force, throwing spray right up to the rocks where Algy was perching. Algy was fascinated by the many different moods of the ocean. He loved the excitement and drama of the stormy days, but this gentle, soothing swell of the deep blue was just perfect for a lazy afternoon’s rest :))

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.]

Algy felt tired after his struggle with the balloon, so he decided to take advantage of the fine weather, and rest for a while in the afternoon sunshine. A few miles away across the water he could see the Small Isles; there was a wee bit of snow still lingering on the highest peaks of the Isle of Rum. As he gazed out across the blue Sea of the Hebrides, Algy was reminded of a Victorian sonnet, although the exact location the poet had described was a wee bit further north:

          From blue Loch Carron rise white and sheer
              Its bare rock faces and island cones,
              And they glitter as frost and wind-bleached bones;
          Coral and sapphire far and near,
          Pearl-white coral and sapphire clear,
              Finely-chiselled as cameo stones,
              No blurred edges or soft mixed tones:
          Blue as the bottomless, white as fear.

          Do I sleep, do I dream, in the hard clear day,
              On the windy deck, in the afternoon,
          With the sough of the wave, and the spume of the spray,
              And my hair like the dank sea-tangle blown
          On the landward breeze? Is it Portree bay
              That we make, or some cove in the long dead moon?

[Algy is quoting the poem Among the Hebrides by the 19th century English poet Emily Pfeiffer.]