Monday, 29 March 2010

Arran, part six - Holy Island

Next morning, Kath had to eject one of the 'ladies' from the house.
I hope she wasn't looking for her eggs - we'd eaten them (sorry).
We were replete from the next mega-breakfast, courtesy of Kath,
and set off for Lamlash, from where we would take the ferry to Holy Island.
Again, a lovely day, sea like a mill pond, tides right - sighhhhhhh, it's all just too good!

We even saw our FIRST seal!
There he (she??) was, looking decidedly uncomfortable, just
lying prostrate on a rock. We tried to figure out if he was just lazy,
having settled there on the last tide, and now waiting to be 're-floated'
by the next incoming one. Whatever he was doing,
we watched him for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, this guy was watching us
We reached Lamlash, only to be told that, with the lack of breeze, the tide
was coming in a lot slower than expected, and we'd have a wait of about
an hour, so we retreated to a little cafe....and waited.
As soon as it was decided there was enough water, our 'captain' took a small(er)
boat out to the good ship 'Sierra ', and we boarded and set off.
It was a chilly crossing, noticeably colder on the water than on the shore, but we soon reached Holy Island and the Buddhist monastery. You can read more about it here;

We soon warmed up in the strong sunshine, and decided to explore the lower
part of the island before starting the climb to the top.
Soon, we were pressing upwards, but no snow this time.
As we progressed, the views just got better and better.
We could see Ailsa Craig peeping at us round the corner.
You can also see the lighthouse and womens retreat (more on the latter later).
Now then - which way is it..........
(erm Sue - the top's just THERE look.......)
There's a small cairn halfway up - this is the view from there.
Lamlash is threaded out along the coastline.
If you've ever wondered where your farmed salmon comes from,
it's places like this. These are salmon pens in the bay.
It wasn't long before we got to the top of Mullach Mor, it was only about 1.000 feet.
As you can see, the sun was getting even stronger as the day wore on.
Sue took my photo at the top...........
......and then I took hers.
It was a photographers dream come true today with these conditions.
Even the clouds 'posed'.
We spent quite a time at the top, wanting to savour every moment.
We ate a snack, then set off for the end of the island.
Again, we can see Ailsa Craig.
The path turns right before those white buildings. It is a womens retreat.
Women come here to meditate, and for some reason,
they stay for three years, three months, three weeks and two days No - only joking - it's THREE days :-)
This wooden chalet is the Llama's abode.
Beats me why he put it this end of the island, instead of the other
end where the monastary is.
(PS - that's the womens retreat again there on the left - just below the Llama's chalet...)
The path turns right, and passes beneath these huge cliffs.
Along the way, there are several rock paintings. They were done by a monk
called Dekyi Wangmo (that's easy for YOU to say!).
Holy Island is famous for these.
read more about them here;
The earliest recorded name for Holy Isle was Inis Shroin, which is old Gaelic for 'Island of the Water Spirit'. After the time when the Celtic Christian saint St. Molaise lived on the island for about 20 years at the end of the 6th century, it became known as Eilean Molaise, which is Gaelic for 'Molaise's Island'. This name gradually evolved over the course of centuries until early in the 19th century the island became generally known as Holy Isle (or the Holy Isle) and the village on the other side of the bay became known as Lamlash.
This is Sue, standing inside Saint Molaise' cave. Apparantly, he lived here for 20 YEARS.
I've no idea just WHY religion has to be so spartan and harsh.
Anyway, he had some nice views from his cave.
We sat on the shore and had a drink of coffee while waiting for the
ferry to return.
All too soon, it arrived.
Next thing, we were whizzing across the mill pond again,
this time a LOT warmer than before in the lovely sunshine.

It dawned on me that we still had plenty of daylight left, so we decided to visit
'seal shore'. This was a place at Kildonan, famous for seals and cetations.
No one knows just WHY the seals favour this area, but they come to
rest on the rocks. You can get quite close to them, if you're careful.
The next set of pictures will show you.
Apart from being yet another fabulous, quiet and serene place,
we again had it ALL to ourselves.

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