Highland boatmen take James Bond’s Skyfall on a coarse boating trip
IN the run up to Christmas, the tiny West Scotland village of Crinan was swamped by film crews capturing the blistering finale for Skyfall the new Bond Film.
Duntrune Castle (the oldest intact and inhabited castle in Scotland) on the north side of Loch Crinan was to be a central point and there were to be boat chases, explosions and the usual over-the-top Bond ructions galore.
The Loch has little in the way of soft sandy beaches and rocks are everywhere.
Regrettably, there were no Italian Cruise Liner Captains around so the film crews hired local boatmen to steer the craft being being filmed in chase sequences. Unlike the Costa Concordia crew, the sturdy Highlanders were instructed to go like hell and stay hidden from the cameras but, for ‘God’s sake’ above all else, keep the highly paid, allegedly macho and/or beautiful, people starring in the film alive and well.
One classic West Highland story is just filtering out in the odd conversation or two in Argyll hostelries.
One of the Crinan area old salts was told to get into a boat which had small holes drilled to allow him to look directly forward and then steer the craft around Loch Crinan at high speed. Meanwhile the various superstars such as Daniel Craig (Bond) looked frantically busy at helms which were not connected to anything.
The boatman was asked by ‘The big director’: “How do you do it? How do you manage to keep such an accurate course when you have such poor visibility.”
“Aye well, it’s like this Sir,” replied the boatman. “I pick two or three points on the hill above the castle and then I know exactly where I am.”
The Big Director then asked: “Which two points?”
Hooked! Thought the boatman:
“That sheep on the left and the Highland Cow just to the right.”
“Ah I see,” said the now seriously worried big man exiting rapidly left.
Of such stuff are Highland Legends told and retold.
It also alleged the same boatman wickedly hooked the Big Man once more with: “Do you know Sir? If I wrote a script about how these films are made and what really goes on it may juust be a better wee film than the original.”
See? Captain Francesco Schettino of the Costa Concordia would have avoided having the weight of the world on his shoulders if he had picked the right cow to be watching so intently while on the bridge..
I’ll just get me lifeboat and go…