Friday, October 20, 2006

Arran in October

Covering my territory completely involves a trip across to the Island of Arran on the west coast of Scotland a couple times a year. I'll only go when I have an appointment with all the health centres on the island. It isn't worth the price of the ferry crossing unless I have a full dance card.

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.

Very 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 skipped the brewery and the distillery this time around (wasn't thirsty).

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.


J-Funk said...

Peggy hahaha I just noticed the title of your last post!

That island sounds beautiful but I can't comprehend waking up that early. It's dark till 7:30 am here now. At 4 am I'm having fun dreams about airplanes and kung fu.

Claude said...

3:54? Hardly worth going to bed ;)
I love the photos, like always. Still, I'd love to be able to click and have a larger view!
That photo of the chocolate shop window is something!h

Peggy said...

It was a very early start. I'm only now just recovering.

I don't know how to fix it so that you can click for a larger view just yet. I'll investigate that!

You can always go to my flickr thingy.

Alan G said...

Enjoyed the trip Peggy. I'm an early riser myself so 4:00am wouldn't be so bad unless it was going to be really cold outside.

That's quite a journey you have to make to the health centres. I assume you must have a doctor there locally that you can see when you are ill?

That ferry almost looks like a cruise ship. And I would also like a digiscope. Maybe Santa will bring us one for Christmas. LOL

Jeanette said...

Gday Peggy
just come over from UKBobs
Your trip to the Island sounds wonderful. Oh I would have loved Going there.I was in Scotland about 10 years ago stayed with friends in Glascow It snowed our 1st night there Did all the touristy bit . St Andrews , The castle,The hotel were Bobby Sits, the old cotton Mills Etc .please Pop over to my site. Be sre ill return to read more

Joy said...

Wow, you sure packed in a lot Peggy. Wonderful photos...I'm surprised you could even see the ferry getting up that early. I love the chocolate shop pic....looks divine. I'm glad you made it home earlier than expected. All in all, your trip sounds great...thanks for taking us along.