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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