Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Isle of Arran

After our latest trip from Cornwall to Scotland, we needed Saturday to wind-down and indeed start to move into our rented flat.   The weather forecast for Sunday however looked glorious with almost no wind, little cloud and plenty of sunshine, so we grabbed one of the last spots on the car ferry from Ardrossan to Arran.

Sunday dawned cold and foggy, a chilly 3.5c to start the day for the hour-long drive to Ardrossan to check in just after 9am for the ferry.  We boarded and the ship set out for the 55 minute crossing on time.

Whilst cold the morning autumn light was golden, as you can see in this image of the harbour lighthouse:

And again on the harbour wall as we headed out:

In the harbour a winter plumage Black Guillemot was disturbed by the ship:

We headed over to Arran this being the strongest breeze the sea could muster:

As we neared the Island a group of Gannets were diving for food, one flew close to the boat:

Having done some homework before setting off I decided on an anti-clockwise circuit of the Isle, taking in as many of the sights as we could.  We started at the Scottish National Trust's Brodick Castle:

The gardens look like they would be best in Spring, but it was still worth a wander through the grounds and just outside for a coffee.   We saw a number of birds in the grounds, including this Common Treecreeper, on a wall:

A Painted Lady butterfly was feeding and sunning in the garden:

as another Lady looked on:

A nearly adult Robin wasn't bothered by us:

We drove from Brodick to Lochranza, stopping in the Loch area to soak up the view:

And indeed to see the castle ruins:

From Lochranza we drove around to Machrie, now halfway around the Isle, to see the ancient monument there:

It's a half-hour walk to the largest standing stones - Helen is stood next to the middle one to illustrate the scale of the landscape and indeed the stones:

The round-trip was well worth it, it's a fascinating place.

From Machrie we drove to the South of the Island to Kildonan, where there's a small island offshore:

We drank tea and coffee at the hotel whilst looking out to sea and were treated to an Otter briefly popping out to munch on something before sliding back under the water to hunt:

Further along the coast Common Seals were catching the fading sunlight as the tide ebbed:

We drove on past Holy Island:

And back to Brodick where we found most of the restaurants closed and the few remaining open packed, so dinner was sandwiches and crisps from the Co-op sat in the car marvelling at what a beautiful day we'd enjoyed at the start of October on the Isle of Arran.  

Then all too soon it was time to queue again for the car ferry and the trip back to Ardrossan and thence home.


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