I go to the island twice a year. I either have to go the night before OR have a very early start depending on the ferry times. Today, I started early.
I caught the 7 am ferry. When the ferry was loading, it was still dark. That's Scotland in the winter for you.
Once I was on the ferry, I walked up to one of the passenger decks and went to sleep for an hour. I hope I didn't snore or drool.
Going across to Shiskine in the middle of the island, you drive up and over a hill, along a road that has this view of a beautiful glaciated valley. There were two buzzards and another small bird of prey, probably a kestrel on the way down. When I stopped along the roadside to take this photo there was a waterfall on the other side of the road. All I could hear was the sound of rushing water. Beautiful!Once I've seen the doctor in Shiskine, it's back up and over the hill towards the town of Brodick. This is the view of Brodick Bay. Basking sharks are sometimes seen in this bay in the summer.
Between the first and second appointments, I've got two hours to kill. I drove across to the far end of Brodick bay where the seals hang out. The seals in Scotland have their pups in the autumn and I was hoping to get a glimpse of some fluffy baby seals. Sadly, there was only one seal there this time. A lone young male. Perhaps the seals have gone off to a more private place while they have their babies. There were some birds though.
This is the curlew. He didn't seem to be bothered by me in the least. I sat in the car with the passenger window down and got these fuzzy photos.
This is a redshank. Look how red his legs are! This camera can be very annoying. I get everything all focused but when I press the shutter, the photo comes out blurred! Grrr!! I would really love a digiscope so that I could take better bird photos.
After my third appointment, giving the doctors of this fair island a sample of my dazzling promotional skills, I went off to buy island stuff.
My first stop was Arran Aromatics. The soap factory on the island. (no photo available - I forgot) I got stocked up on some really nice bubble bath and hand lotion.
Then I had a cheese experience. I watched through a window as islanders dip cheeses into melted black wax.
I did however, get to The Arran Chocolate Factory.
As with all other factories on this island, there is a viewing window.
I don't know what sort of loveliness she was putting together, but she was very nice about me taking her photo.
I bought a couple of these chocolates for myself, a box of assorted goodies for The Man of the Place and a chocolate frog for George.
Leaving the store, I noticed that the 2pm ferry was fast approaching.
I was booked to go back on the 4 pm ferry, but I thought I'd try to get on the earlier one instead.
They let me on. That meant that I got home at 5:30, two hours earlier than planned.
Thanks to the Caledonian & MacBrayne Ferries who always get me to and from this island with no hassle. The ride is always smooth and the guys who work on the ferry are nice and will smile and wave at you if you make eye contact with them as you're driving off the boat.