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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

April on Arran: To Whet Your Appetite

That’s whet not wet. Actually, much of April so far has been gloriously sunny and everyone has been treated to beautiful clear views with bright blue skies and a blue and green sea. There have also been surprising wildlife sightings: Mr and Mrs Hall looked into a golden eagle’s eyes as it flew up from below the ridge where they were sitting, and a whale swam past the butcher’s.

April’s a good time for walking- before the bracken and heather have started to grow. At last I have found the Real Fairy Dell (see photo), decked with primroses, violets, tangled creepers and overhanging mosses. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t exist! It’s also lambing time for the hill sheep and earlier I watched a ewe giving birth on a 60 degree slope. Her floppy newborn lamb tipple-tailed downhill then lay helplessly upside down for a while. I daren’t interfere in case his mother rejected him. She began to alternately lick and kick him and I left her to it. When I returned from my walk he was sitting, head up and blinking in the sunshine.

My friend Joyce gave me a Battlefield Band CD for my birthday. It includes a song called “The Arran Convict” which has a refrain of “I wish I was back on the Lochranza ferry…. breathing the spray and the sweet island air”. It’s lovely to be here in April and not having to wish. (It also includes the line “I remember Lochranza…..when the rain from Kintyre was a sheet without end”, but we won’t think about that whilst the sun’s shining!)

We’ve even had sunset suppers outdoors. Our favourite Arran foods for these occasions include:

Sausages from the Arran Butcher

Smoked salmon pate from Creeler’s with Wooley’s oatcakes

Honey mustard from Arran Fine Foods

Island cheeses

Arran whisky from the Distillery

Arran Blonde beer from the Brewery

Suddenly the days seem so much longer and last night we kayaked round Pladda island supervised by seals. As the evening drew on, the waves got choppier; early signs of an Atlantic front heading this way, the first we have seen in some weeks.

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