Skip to main content
Spirit Logo
Millport Harbour, Isle of Cumbrae (Credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)
< Back to "The Coastal Marvels of Millport"

Quiet Joy

I don’t think I have ever felt the ‘spirit’ of joy stronger than on a school trip many moons ago to the Isle of Cumbrae.

It was my first week away from my family, from home, as part of a school leavers sports retreat to Greenock. I was a very, almost painfully, shy kid who had no real interest in sports aside from swimming so as you can imagine, I was far from my element!

When we disembarked the ferry at Millport and made our way to meet our instructors, I was admittedly nervous at the prospect of my first sail.

That was, however, until I hit the water.

The further we got from land, I became more and more ease. With the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin and every breath of the salty air, I was struck with an overwhelming sense of peace that I had never experienced before. Brushing a hand against the sparkling waves I couldn’t help but break out a smile.

As I stared into the waves, I heard the excited chatter of my classmates from a neighbouring boat who had spotted a dolphin. With immaculate timing we felt a gentle rocking of our vessel. Amidst the lapsing waves of my side of the boat emerged a curious dolphin. Watching the dolphin swim in parallel to our boat, I was overcome by quiet joy. Being so close to wildlife and experiencing something new that I enjoyed – I have no words for it other than magical, simply magical.

Sadly, though time quickly caught up with us and it was time to return to shore. I left with a new found spring in my step, a renewed love for the seas.

Gazing off from the return ferry at Cumbrae’s slowly fading silhouette, I wondered how soon it would be until I could set sail once more.



Stories are at the heart of what we do as a project and we are always looking to learn more about what the Highlands and Islands means to people who live, work, and visit here.

The timeless connections between people and place underline many of our stories, including Quiet Joy. We would love to know, are there are any outdoor activities or places you have visited that you feel embody the essence of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands? Tell us below, we can't wait to hear from you!

Click here to share your story through our online story portal