I was growing closer to the pier; Slipping and slithering over the seaweed covered rocks, it really was not that far away a few hundred yards at most but in that weather, in the dark, it felt like miles. I was tired, well I was never not tired, being something of an insomniac, but I was even more tired than usual yet I knew that they needed me, I knew the tides, I knew the sea.

As I grew closer to the old shipyard pier, standing, as an anomaly, concrete and Iron, set against the sea loch with heather and gorse covered hills behind. Argyll itself is strange in that way, all that is modern, all that is new seems silly against the grand backdrop of the central volcanic ridge that runs down the centre of the Kintyre peninsula, wild and rugged, dotted with farmsteads, gorse heather and little else but sheep.

I saw movement, grey against grey and so I could not be sure what it was but I was once a hunter and so knew to look for movement rather than signs and we humans are still predators and so detect the movement of prey easily.

Half of the old ramshackle pier metal built stood out of the water now so you could pass underneath it but on the other side I knew there was a deep water channel where they could launch the boats. It was close to my house and I knew it well. I had fished off of it when I was younger for mackerel, sea bass and red mullet and had caught many from its pier. I wondered if any of the searchers had come this way perhaps knowing the sea as I did but they were the people from the bungalows, the insurance salesmen, the carpenters, the policemen, the civil servants. And I saw no wee groups rather I saw, a flash of pale flesh as something moved between the beams of the old pier. It was nothing more than a glimpse but I saw a human.

I am as sure of it today as I was then. I sped up giving myself a few more bruises in the process and found myself under the pier at the deep water channel with nothing to be seen. I headed down to the water as I had definitely seen something yet there was nothing I could descry in the gloom and so despite my misgivings removed my flashlight from my pocket and used it to scan the surface of the water. Nothing floated there yet I wondered if someone had made it to shore as it was definitely human skin I had seen in the movement and the small break in the cloud that gave a very little light.

No kids would have been skinny dipping on such a night. I had never seen nor imagined such a thing as the loch was deep in deep in places and even in the hottest days of summer it was cold. It was September now and in the north September offers little of warmth and on this horrible day I do not doubt that the sea would have been slightly warmer than the land yet I would still have been very cold indeed.

Any sailor that can swim, and some cannot for fear of prolonging their death when all goes awry, knows that the first thing that you have to do no matter how cold it is, you remove your clothes; all they do is weigh you down unless you happen to have a neoprene t-shirt on at the time. And so having seen some skin I scanned the water for it. Tis' the deep water channel from which they launched thirty five foot to eighty five foot fishing trawlers and so it had to be deep and so the water was nothing other than black; I dived in.

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