When you find a fond attachment to a place with happy memories it keeps pulling you back. That’s what the Isle of Arran does to me. Do you ever feel the same?
It has been two years since I was married on the Isle of Arran and walked the Arran Coastal Way. Having my blog posts to look back on helps trigger years of happy memories. They also remind me of some of the physical pain we both endured on the coastal way, making us feel proud that we continued no matter what. I was so much fitter back then…
I’d been looking forward to returning to Arran all year as I’ve still not been out and about much as you can see from my lack of blog posts. Fresh island air, exploring low level walks was the therapy I needed. Arran therapy. This year, we were planning on staying on the island for three nights with four full days, I was so excited!
As always, it was an early rise at 5am to catch the 7am ferry. We’d only packed the night before and it was all a bit rushed.
The sun was shining but we couldn’t see the Arran peaks from Ardrossan. Hidden by clouds you wouldn’t even have known they were there. Sometimes you can be gazing across the Firth of Clyde and see no land at all. Then other days the island looks huge rising out of the ocean. I love this Ayrshire coastline I can call home.
The early morning light was already awake as the ferry pulled out of the port at Ardrossan. We were standing on the bow recording footage.
I had a last minute idea that I’d like to make a video based on my Arran poem. It’s a long poem though with a lot of places to visit around the island. I already have footage from previous visits but it’s nice to have something new. A different light can change your whole video. You never know, maybe something magical could happen.
I joined together a few clips of the sailing as I didn’t take many photos of the crossing. I haven’t added any music as this will be for later when I start to create the full video. With both of us recording on different devices some clips don’t match well in colour though … I wish I could go on an advanced video editing training course.
We couldn’t check in to our hotel until 2pm and it was only 8am when we arrived in Brodick.
What, I hear you say, a hotel? I know, we usually always camp in a tent or pod, but this year I wanted to experience a little more comfort for our second anniversary. Hotels are always over our budget, but sometimes you just need to experience a little luxury now and then.
A lovely old coaching inn, the Lagg Hotel, drew me in when we stopped there on our coastal walk in 2017. I vowed one day we’d stay over.
My rumbling tummy reminded me it was breakfast time so inside the ferry we went. The large queue when we boarded had gone. Some of the food was gone too! There’s always lots of hungry people at 7am and the food on the ferry is good. I’ve always experienced a friendly service too.
Arriving in Brodick
Arriving in Brodick was simply glorious. I could see the island very clearly now and this made me happy. Fingers crossed for nice photos and footage.
We wandered around for a wee while capturing some video of the castle in the trees from the old ferry pier.
With the new ferry terminal now open, the old car access ramp had some picnic tables. Made from recycled plastics, these tables are placed in the perfect location. We could sit our gear on a table and feel relaxed taking our photos and video from the harbour.
I recorded a timelapse of Goat Fell and Brodick Castle. It’s mesmerising to see how the clouds move in different directions casting their shadows across the mountains. Is this what you call time travel?
It was the perfect weather to visit Glen Rosa. It’s only a short drive from the ferry terminal to the parking area near the Glen Rosa campsite. Then you can walk up the glen as far as you want.
I feel that Glen Rosa is like walking through a scene from Lord of the Rings. When you start walking through the glen, you’ll see some of the craggy peaks.
The further you walk into the glen the mountains then start to show their full power, pulling you into their magical spell. I was wishing I was fit enough to climb them.
The Glen Rosa water twists and turns beside you. Some of the water flows quietly and calm. Then you could turn a corner and hear a loud roaring sound as it flows stronger and faster. I don’t know how to describe the fast water sound. It kind of sounds like heavy rain pounding on the windows really fast.
We’d only ever walked as far as the bridge before so this day we continued a little further to find the deeper pools of water. I heard that people sometimes swim here and I mention this in my poem.
Wow, what a scene it was. I stepped on to a large area of rock that angled downwards like a slide. It was slippery in places, so I had to be real careful or I’d be sliding down the rocks into the flow of the water, camera, phone and all. My balance isn’t what it used to be, so I could totally imagine that happening to me …
We spent a lot of time here capturing video. I took off my socks and shoes and found a spot to safely dip my feet in. Brr it was so cold! Refreshing though and eventually it felt better as my little toes acclimatised to the temperature. I certainly wasn’t going to immerse anything else other than my feet.
Alan recorded my feet dipping but I wasn’t so keen on the footage with me in it… some weight gain over the past year was definitely not looking good on camera… so just the feet it was.
It’s such a beautiful spot here, I loved just chilling, not worrying about time.
A couple appeared with their two dogs who were keen to dip their paws in. Molly the black labrador pup was first and loved it so much she kept wanting to go back in! Corrie the older golden labrador wasn’t so keen this day.
We chatted for a while about Arran and found out that they too were back visiting Arran for their wedding anniversary. Someone else who finds that special place, make happy memories and keeps coming back.
Liz and Alex kindly let me video Molly jumping into the pool of water.
I’m always trying to capture butterflies, dragonflies, bees and other wildlife from the animal kingdom, but it’s so difficult as they keep moving about too much. Imagine my surprise when a black and white butterfly landed on my hand!
I quickly tried to hold my phone with my left hand to record this beauty. The first few seconds went out of focus then it captured the butterfly moment. I was so excited.
Later I found out it wasn’t a butterfly at all, but a day flying moth called Argent and Sable. Still beautiful though!
We walked back to car, stopping a few times to chat to friendly people along the way. It was time to head south to Lagg. There was a diversion in place because of much needed road resurfacing works, so we had to drive there via Blackwaterfoot.
The Lagg Hotel was originally an old coaching inn built in 1791 and is one of the oldest hotels on the island.
It has such lovely character with its olde worlde feel about it. The Isle of Arran Instagram posted an old photo from the 1950s as it looked then.
The window on the top right was our room, and also the side window above the sun lounge room.
Our room was spacious and cosy with a four poster bed, sitting area and a separate bathroom.
We’d booked dinner later in the evening so we had time to go for a wander. I loved the little bridge where the Kilmory water flows past the hotel.
I’d read online that during the 18th and 19th centuries illicit whisky making was rife in the south of the island. When there was heavy rain, casks were placed in the water and floated out to sea where they would be smuggled across the ocean to Ayrshire and beyond. The whisky was known as Arran Water. Aye, the tastiest water around I bet!
You can read more about this on The Lagg Whisky website.
Next, we walked through the local woodlands known as Lovers’ Lane, towards the coast. It was around 6pm and the sun was behind the clouds.
We quickly reached Torrylin Cairn near the beach. The slabs you see below are what’s left and grass covers the rocks. This is a final resting place for people who were buried here over 5000 years ago. Known as a Clyde Cairn, you’ll find many of these around the island and south west Scotland.
Can you see the small black island in the horizon lined up with the cairn? This is Ailsa Craig.
The stone chamber that was inside the cairn had four compartments, one of which bones from six adults, a child and a baby were found. Over 5000 years ago the chambered cairn would have looked like below. It’s also known to be called the Torlin Cairn as is the Torlin water that flows through the woodlands out to the ocean.
The information plaque also reads that burying bones was only the final part of a series of rituals. A dead body with flesh on it was connected to the mortal world and thought to be dangerous and polluting. It is thought that bodies were exposed outside the tomb to be stripped of their flesh by wild animals first.
Mmm, it sounds awful but I suppose that was just the way it was then and there must have been a sense of releasing the soul.
I was hoping the tide was out to see the sandy beach again but sadly it wasn’t. In 2017 we enjoyed a beautiful walk along this part of the coast from Lagg to Whiting Bay.
We didn’t stay long and dinner was calling, but we planned to return another day in the morning light.
Food and drink
When it was time for dinner we sat in the bar area. We could have sat in dining room but decided to eat here and enjoy the atmosphere. The photo below was taken another day when it was empty though!
I loved the lounging chairs made from casks. Lovely craftsmanship!
Apologies in advance to vegetarians and vegans. We both enjoyed the most amazing venison sausages with mash or chips and vegetables. They were so tasty and very filling.
The lounge area was cosy. I loved the real log fire. It has been many years since I’ve sat beside a live fire, listening to the crackles and watch the dancing flames. I think the other guests must have been thinking why on earth was I taking photos and video of a fire …
I homed into the old style switches on the wall. I loved the red button that said Press on it. The switches work the lights in the lounge but I don’t think the red button does anything. I hope not anyway as I think I pressed…
This pretty stained glass window also caught my eye with the clan Lindsay crest on it. I wonder what the connection is?
We eventually moved into the cooler sun lounge with pretty views out to the gardens.
After a few glasses of wine I was feeling sleepy. It had been a long active day and it was time to say goodnight.
I’d forgotten how dark it can be when you sleep in a place with no street lights outside. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t see a thing. Totally pitch black! I had a great sleep though.
The next day we planned to make our way around the island. In my next post we stop off at Blackwaterfoot, Imachar, Pirnmill, Catacol, Lochranza and Corrie. Read about day two exploring the island.
Thanks for reading.