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and our Blog of our
"World tour of Scotland" at www.nigelandkathyinscotland.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Summer Solstice

It’s the Summer Solstice…..

…… and it hasn’t been truly dark here for weeks. It hasn’t rained for weeks either up at this end of the island, and the golf course greens are more like yellows. It’s been warm enough to tempt us for a swim at Laggan whilst kayaking along the coast from Sannox back to Lochranza. Laggan Cottage (only accessible by sea) now has a resident, a writer called Paul Story. You can find copies of his novel on the hillside by the cottage for you to pick up when you’re walking past.

Red Deer News! We now have two little red deer calves on site.

I’m not keen on very tidy, formal gardens but I do love Brodick Castle Gardens with their sense of teetering on the edge of wildness; lush, colourful and full of surprises. I went to a guided tour there last week. Amongst many fascinating facts I learnt about the plant shown on the photo (forgotten its name though) which grows for five years, flowers, explodes and dies and, as it dies, it shoots out seeds which sprout up and begin the cycle again.

Arran has some brilliant community gatherings and festivals. We’ve had the Wildlife Festival in May and the Folk Festival in June. Coming up on July 3rd is the Whisky Festival, across the road at the Distillery. There is going to be a ceilidh in the evening with Skerryvore and I, for one, can’t wait. Nigel and I saw the band playing in Achiltibuie Village hall two summers ago. The stirring sound of their bagpipes went soaring over the sea to the Summer Isles. They’re very talented and very energetic.

If you’re a mountain lover, it’s going to be the Arran Mountain Festival from the 17th to the 20th September. Find out more about the walks and talks on the website: www.arranmountainfestival.co.uk

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Summer days

The Spring Bank Holiday week was sunny, hot and busy.

The island has exploded into colour with yellow flags along the roadsides, bluebells and pink campion.

The stags’ new antlers are now sprouting up rapidly, thick with “velvet”.

Otters have been frolicking at the sea’s edge, munching on fish.

A lot of people tell us that they would like to run a campsite, so we thought it might be interesting to post:-

A typical day in our lives

First week in June 2010

7 am Plan the day’s tasks. If fine, it’s going to be golf course work on the greens and fairways.

Check toilets- clean? Enough handtowels? Loo rolls?

8.30 am Take it in turns in Reception, dealing with bookings, payments and enquiries- as well as talking to our visitors.

10 am One of us works on the site, the other deals with correspondence, orders, accounts, sees callers and welcomes golfers.

12.00 Quick lunch.

12.30 pm until 2 pm Clean the showers, toilets and reception building.

2 pm Carry on site maintenance and improvements. More letters, e-mails and phone calls. Following up marketing strategies.

4 pm Take it in turns to be in Reception welcoming arrivals.

6.30 pm Cook and eat our evening meal.

Hope for a walk, a game of putting or a kayak paddle.

Keep in touch with our families.

Bath much appreciated after so much outdoor work.

10 pm Walk round the site to make sure all’s well. Check toilets again.

A Perfect Day Out on Kintyre

When you live on an island and everywhere you look across the sea there are other islands as well as the mainland, it makes you restless to get on a boat and see what these far off places are actually like when you get there. We’ve still got lots of Arran to explore but as we live so near the Claonaig ferry service we seized an opportunity and a hot day to go across to Kintyre as foot passengers with pushbikes.

The sea was looking tropically turquoise as we boarded ship. In half an hour we were pedalling along the Kintyre coast looking at Arran’s dramatic mountain shapes from a different angle. The pretty coast line had little sandy stretches and rocky fringes, splashed with yellow birds foot trefoil and pink thrift. We stopped for a coffee and ice lollies at the Post Office in the sleepy village of Skipness, then carried on under leafy oaks and beeches to explore the well-preserved Medieval castle and chapel. A ringed plover scurried bravely around us, pretending to have a broken wing in order to lead us away from its nest.

We had lunch at The Seafood Cabin. Sitting in the garden of vivid pink and orange rhododendrons eating smoked salmon and salad under bright blue skies couldn’t have been a nicer way to pass a summer’s afternoon.