Innis Choinnich

A short extract from Golf in the Wild – a paragraph on Mull, Innis Choinnich and the Mitfords.  It is a well documented story but its sad power does not diminish in the re-telling:

Delusional and incontinent, Sydney would wash Unity’s white bed sheets every morning and hang them to dry at the front of the house, billowing across the bay as if in surrender.  In May 1948 the bullet from her attempted suicide moved inside her head.  Always deemed too dangerous to be surgically removed it resulted in cerebral swelling and finally meningitis.  Transferred to Oban hospital, she died a few days later.  Sydney would die on the island fifteen years later attended by four of her daughters, Nancy, Pamela, Diana and Deborah, not for the first time, a clan gathering on Innis Choinnich for the passing of a chief.  The only absentee was the communist Jessica who by this time owned the island and would sell up in 1966 having at one time mischievously suggested it might become a Soviet submarine base.  Deborah Mitford (the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire) talking about Innis Choinnich in 2010 said  “You always have the feeling that you are coming back.  I always have the feeling I am coming back even if I know quite well I am not”.  It is the place, it is the light, it is the desire to never let go.  It is why we paint. It is why we photograph. It is why we write.


  1. restlessjo · December 13, 2014

    I’d love to visit Mull, Robin. Perhaps when it warms up a little 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · December 13, 2014

      I recommend it Jo, a lovely island (in the right weather 🙂 )

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