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Friday, 20 October 2017


Living where we do we cannot help but be keenly aware of nature: the direction of the wind, the shapes of the clouds, the state of the sea and the rises and falls in temperature, and every so often we experience something both beautiful and unusual. This happened on the evening of Thursday 5th October.

Nigel and I were driving home over the Boguillie at about half past eight at night, descending towards the sharp bend of the Witches Bridge in Glen Chalmadale. The full Harvest Moon was a massive silver sphere rising above the Ayrshire Coast behind us. The only artificial light came from the windows of Glen Farm and our car headlights.

Suddenly a ghostly white pillar reaching to the sky appeared ahead of us so we stopped the car and turned off the headlights. As we watched, it arched over the glen. ‘It’s a white rainbow’, I said. Gradually, we could discern faint gleams of the colour spectrum adorning the arch.

Back home I googled this beautiful and eerie phenomenon and learned that we’d seen a moonbow. We’d been in just the right place at the right time in the right conditions: a dark night sky and a full moon, two hours after sunset, rain falling opposite the moon and us facing away from the moon.



We recently learned that we are riparian custodians. Although the term sounds like a warming winter pudding or maybe an ancient Roman senator it actually means that we have a responsibility to keep our ditches clear so that rainfall in the valley can flow without obstruction into the sea. It is one of our major autumn jobs on the golf course. We clean them out carefully by hand so as not to unduly disturb the mini-ecosystems and the slippery toads, glossy beetles and wee silvery fish which inhabit them. It’s always a satisfying job and we were glad to complete it before ex-Hurricane Ophelia kickstarted the storm season.

The End of an Era

Goodbye to Lady Jean Fforde who died aged 96 years earlier this month and whose devotion to her beloved island of Arran was beyond question. Descended from the great Scottish families of Hamilton and Montrose, Lady Jean’s childhood was spent in Brodick Castle. Indeed, for centuries her ancestors owned the entire island. Later in life, she gave the castle to the National Trust for Scotland in lieu of death duties but she continued to stay on Arran. As she said herself ‘There can be few people who have had their home in one place all their lives as I have.’ She was personally involved in many island charities and organisations and always took a keen interest in island life. Her autobiographical book ‘Castles and Catastrophes’, available at the Book and Card shop in Brodick, describes in lively style the great changes she lived through, beginning with the era of the grand Scottish sporting estates. I enjoyed it enormously. The land around Lochranza is owned by her son, Charles.


Chalmadale Waters, Lochranza