Beach Bonfire (Bucket List #24)

Arisaig, Scotland, UK • June 2016 • Length of Read: 7 Minutes


“I know the perfect beach for us to camp on,” smiled Fry as he barreled the car around the single track road that hugs the banks of Loch Lomond; rear-ending other vehicles like he was a white van man driving around a Formula 1 circuit. “My dad and I found this really cool secluded cove once when open-water kayaking. It’s not too far from the little seaside town of Arisaig so should be easy enough for us to find from the land. Man, this weather is a peach. I’m hoping that there will be a host of foreign girls playing topless volleyball there when we arrive.”

Our original idea had been a bit more grandiose. Having walked the length of the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Fort William, we then planned to take the Jabobite steam train across the Glenfinnan Viaduct to its terminus in the port of Malaig, where we would be able to get a well-deserved pint of beer in The Old Forge, Britain’s most remote pub. Unfortunately, with the Jacobite having been used as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films, ticket prices for that particular route were substantially higher than for your standard Scotrail journey. Being lazy, Wolfy also point-blank refused to waste valuable vacation days from work to simply walk, so we scrapped the idea of re-enacting the famous scene where Ron and Harry catch up with the train in their flying Ford Anglia and opted for a weekend’s camping instead.

Fry’s optimistic delusions kept us entertained for the length of our five-hour journey, and distracted us from the impending death situations he seemed to place us in on every bend in the road. There is a cult novel within the Scottish mountaineering community by Richard Happer called The Hills Are Stuffed With Swedish Girls, which I guessed he might have recently read and mistaken for actual events. In the book, two lads decide that a week in the hills is exactly what their other best mate needs after getting dumped by his girlfriend. Convincing him that mythically hot European girls do actually come to Scotland on outdoors holidays, the three set off with their pet cat on what turns out to be a hilarious journey filled with more ups and downs than the hills they traverse. Being a novel, they do also bump into some rather charming Swedish girls along the way, of course. Only when we arrived in Arisaig and pulled over to pick-up some supplies did Fry eventually snap back into reality.

“We’re going to need matches, kindling, burgers, sausages, rolls, ketchup, marshmallows, and plenty of beer,” said Wolfy, compiling a mental shopping list as we entered the town’s sole convenience store. I wasn’t too optimistic, but with a little searching, we actually managed to tick everything off. The owner of the shop clearly knew his customer demographic and needs.

“Swedish girls, here we come,” yelled Fry as we shoved everything in the boot and continued on our quest. The guy was more excited than a kid waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and might have left burn marks on the road as the tyres screeched away. Five minutes later we were pulling into a beachside car park.

“Here we go,” he grinned, darting up a nearby sand dune with the nimbleness of a billy goat and leaving Wolfy and I lugging the tents and food behind. It felt more like we were heading to a music festival than on a boy’s camping trip. Reaching the top of the bank and casting his eyes presumably across the beckoning shoreline on the other side, Fry suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. “You won’t believe this,” he exclaimed, turning back to face us and shouting down. “You will not believe this.”

“If there are Swedish girls over this ridge,” I said to Wolfy, “then I’ll eat my hat.”

“You’re not wearing a hat,” he replied as we raced up as fast as the weight we were carrying would let us.

“My hypothetical hat,” I panted, gunning to find out what had excited Fry so much. Reaching the top, out of breath, we too were stopped dead in our tracks. “No fucking way,” I yelled. A couple stood on the otherwise empty beach throwing a Frisbee to one another. And both were stark naked.

“Check out the piece on him,” I said as he dived to catch the plastic disk, his rather well-endowed penis spinning around like a helicopter rotor blade.”

“Should we offer them some wood?” laughed Fry, teeing me up for the joke. “The fire they have going is an embarrassment.”

“I think the last thing you need to offer that guy is some wood,” I chuckled as we made our way down.  "His girlfriend definitely doesn't need any of our marshmallows, either," I added, commented on her  rather rotund physique. Spotting us, the pair absolutely shat the pants that neither of them was at that moment wearing and darted into the seclusion of their one-man tent.

“This looks to be a good a spot as any,” announced Wolfy, dumping the tents he was carrying on the sand about 50m past the naked ramblers. “High enough to avoid the rising tide and a nice grassy knoll over there on which we can build our bonfire.”

"And close enough to cockblock your man over there from getting any action tonight," I smiled.

"Did you see her?" commented Wolfy. "I think we're doing him a favour."