Our website

Visit our website at www.arran-campsite.com
and our Blog of our
"World tour of Scotland" at www.nigelandkathyinscotland.blogspot.com

Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Tale of a Gold Watch

In early October 2010 a party of golfers from the mainland came to play at Lochranza Golf Course. Unfortunately, one of the gentlemen realised he had lost his valuable gold watch on the course. Whilst being valuable, it was also invaluable because it had been given to him by his late mother.

The gentleman’s mother fostered many Glasgow children and from 1938 on brought them regularly to Arran on holiday. She would make them wear the same colour t-shirts on holiday so that she could spot them easily.

In the 16 months that passed until February 29th this year, the golf course experienced extreme frosts, thick snow and flooding. During both winters the ditches were thoroughly cleaned out and Nigel and I got to know every inch of the course. We saw no sign of the watch.

On February 29th I walked down the golf course to clear up windblown twigs (the course is closed in winter). It was a lovely spring like day. As I headed towards the Newton Road Bridge I became aware of something gleaming brightly at the top of a ditch out of the corner of my eye. When I went to investigate I recognised the Rotary watch from the gentleman’s description immediately. It had a little frond of dust attached to it but otherwise looked shiny and clean.

Was it a happy chance that I was passing just as the sun was shining on the watch face? I felt as if the watch made me see it- I wasn’t looking that way. I wonder about the story it could tell of where it’s been? Washed into the ditch in a flood? Hidden in a crack that has since opened up? Captured by a crow and kept in its nest? Returned to its rightful owner, and having been checked by a jeweller, amazingly, all it needed was a new battery.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Views of Arran


Nigel and I have often discussed which way is best for tours round the island. If you travel clockwise, that is, you turn left out of the ferry terminal towards Lamlash and the South End, an advantage is that you will be driving/ cycling* on the left all the way round and you will have an uninterrupted sea view. Given that otters and seals can often be spotted from the island’s perimeter road this is a good decision. The best stretches to glimpse marine creatures are from Dougarie to Lochranza on the west coast (I’ve seen basking sharks several times along here) and Sannox to Brodick on the east coast. Remember not to stop too suddenly when you see a seal- there may be someone behind you!

Both ways it’s 55 miles round Arran and best to allow a good few hours to do it. Travelling anti-clockwise is going widdershins but you have to encircle the island nine times before the fairies whisk you away. I recommend journeying widdershins up the east coast from Whiting Bay on a clear day to see Arran’s can-I-believe-what-I’m-seeing mountainscapes at their glorious best. Wonderful clockwise panoramas are the sweep of Machrie Bay with Beinn Bharrain behind and, close to home, the view into Lochranza as you travel from Catacol with the loch, the castle and the soaring Sleeping Warrior mountain range.

Whichever way you travel, remember that the east coast enjoys the rising sun and the west coast the setting sun, but also that, on a shady east coast in the evening, you can admire a golden Ayrshire coast, and from the west coast in the morning you can pick out every detail on Kintyre. The midsummer setting sun shines directly onto the Campsite.

The String and the Ross are the two cross-the-island roads. The String is a good road; the Ross more of a track. On both roads, for views, head west to east, Atlantic to Firth of Clyde, for lovely views of Holy Island and Ayrshire.

For more stunning views, it’s worth detouring to Kildonan to look out to Pladda and Ailsa Craig. Pause at Glen Sannox to gaze into this most dramatic of mountain glens and drive/ cycle pretty slowly between Pirnmill and Catacol because you’ll find you’re having a roller-coaster ride and it’s best to take your eyes OFF the scenery.

* The island bus service tours round the island in both directions.

No view for Sherie and the Old Man of Tarsuinn