halyard could snap or a sail could be ripped or an oar lost.
These are often short-lived difficulties but sometimes they
accumulate so you have lost control at a vital moment. All
along that coast, violent squalls are known to thrust down
from the high ground to the sea. It
s no place to lose way,
on a vessel.
Alasdair was anxious and could see the run of bad luck
leading them into serious difficulty. He looked all about for
signs of the cause of their troubles. High over the mast, he
saw two ravens, keeping time in the air, with the slow
progress of their craft. It was common to see gannets or
fulmar or kittiwakes or shearwater or petrel or great skua
but far less common to see ravens at sea. Something in the
flight of these birds raised Alasdair
s suspicions. He primed
his gun and put it to his shoulder.
There was a flurry of black feathers from one of the birds. It
did not fall but, at that, the two of them fell back from the
air above the boat and soon disappeared from sight.
Repairs were made and the vessel reached the safety of
Loch Dunvegan. She was put on a safe anchorage and the
party was made welcome in preparation for the
But Alasdair of Boisdale sensed that something was the
matter, in the castle. One of his lads spoke with a serving
girl and discovered the story. It seems that some of the
Macleods were not so sure about this match, whatever head