The Iona Pages

the sketchbook pages from a very special Easter trip to one of our favourite places

Iona is a little island off a bigger island off the west coast of Scotland.  Scotland is also part of an island, so I suppose Iona is an island off an island off an island.  I first went there when I was 19, to spend the summer working for the Iona Community in their gift shop.  Working, eating, living in community and exploring a magical place.  I’ve returned regularly since.  The biggest gap in my returns has been this one – it had been 7 years since I had been to Iona, and the last time we went was for our wedding day.  Since then, the kids have arrived.  We were very excited to take them to see the place that we love so much and where we got married.  Travelling with us was with our dear pal Mary and her son.  We met up with them in Oban at the ferry terminal, under the biggest, brightest rainbow of all time.  A promise made and kept.

Part of the magic of a trip to Iona is the journey – two seas must be crossed, boats must be boarded, wind must blow in hair, worries must be shed.  The Big Ferry (big enough to have a cafe on it! Piglet was amazed), then the long winding road across Mull to board The Little Ferry.  I had butterflies in my tummy anticipating that first glimpse of Iona.  The road keeps you waiting – inland a little from Bunessan, then dipping down again toward the coast, two miles to go to Fionnphort –  and then boom, there she is.  Iona. Green and stone in the turquoise, waiting. 

We arrived to blue skies and sparkling seas.  The trip was everything I had hoped it would be and more: big skies, waves, rockpools, buckets, wellies, lambs, sunsets, birds, boats, an epic Easter egg hunt, ice cream, wine, stardust.  And it didn’t rain! Not until we boarded The Little Ferry to leave again.  What amazing luck.

Here are my sketchbook pages from the trip – some completed while away, most worked on once home (a holiday with three kids = very little time to draw).  I’m usually such a homebird that I’m secretly quite excited to get home from a trip, but this trip hit different.  I have been glum.  Having my sketchbook pages to finish off has been a tonic.

Materials used: watercolour paint, bog standard biros, pentel sharplet HB pencil, Caran d’Ache coloured pencils, Caran D’Ache neocolour wax watercolour crayons (new!), PVA glue and collage.

Sketchbook pages pictured:

Above – big skies, my boy on the beach on the first night;

Below – a reflection at Killin on the journey and the Easter Egg Hunt outfit;

the Bird List, lapwings displaying, and a quick sketch of the Green Shed where we were staying (couldn’t recommend it more highly);  

marks made by everyone on the trip (after a little family blessing ceremony we held in the chapel we were married in) with drawings of the kids on top;

views from the windows of The Green Shed;

wild geese;

greylag geese and collaged words from the blessing ceremony;

goldcrests;

snail shells;

sea glass treasures.

Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Goldcrest sketchbook page Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir
Isle of Iona sketchbook pages Hannah Longmuir

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