Saturday, 27 November 2010

Arran re-visited, part three

Again, the day started with rain and low vis', but we really wanted to go up the beautiful Glen Rosa.
This was the view at the beginning of the walk.

We soon came to our first bridge and burn of the day, gushing full of the recent rains.

STILL she smiles :-)

With cloud still very low, we pressed on up the very lovely glen.

This was probably our favourite so far. It must be really great in fine weather. It was pretty good today.

We followed the path alongside the meandering burn, amazed at the array of different browns on show around us

I could take picture after picture of the waterfalls, they were at their best right now.

All at once Sue squealed, the witches step came briefly into view as the curtain of mist parted. This is very high on our list of 'must do'. Today,we knew we just wouldn't have time, but we walked towards the mesmerising sight in front of us.


The burn seemed stronger than ever, and we had to cross it several times.

Not that it put us off, at all.

Looking back at the majestic sweep of this fabulous glacial valley.

The things I'll do to get the best shot!

The state of the path was super, all down to a bunch of very tough guys who live up here in nothing more than sheds, tied down against the wild weather. They live up here, doing path and other restoration work, for days, sometimes weeks, at a time. We spoke to several of them, and lovely guys they were too. They LOVED the fact that we took the trouble to come up here on such a foul day. We told them, WE loved the fact that they took all the trouble they did to make it not only passable for us, but pleasantly so.

'Home, sweet home'.

In what seemed like no time, we were on 'the saddle'. This was what we were trying to get up to yesterday when we had to turn back. This side of it was FAR easier, with no rock scrambling at all. That's the North Goat fell range above us in the mist.

We decided to go as far as time and weather would allow, with no real chance of getting to the top. The wind was quite severe up here, with sudden gusts liable to catch you unaware and almost take you off your feet.

All looking a bit forbidding

But, every now and then, a glimpse of blue sky.

We had lunch in the lee of a large boulder, watching deer scurrying across the hillside above us, before starting back down again. This is looking down the 'chimney' that Sue & I were trying to climb up yesterday.
That's a super view of glen Sannox and the burn that runs down it.

Another cracking view down glen Sannox. That high ridge on the left above it was our unintentional goal for tomorrow. I say unintentional, as we really made a last minute decision on it, but more of that in the next posting.

For now, it was down to a couple of last shots before setting off back. Time, once again, was against us.

Stay there - we'll be back for you!

On the walk back, we JUST got caught in the rain before we arrived at the car. Wet, but happy, we returned to the cottage to settle in for the night.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Arran re-visited, part two.

Day two started with rain again. It had rained really heavily during the night, so we sort of had a lazy breakfast in the hope that the rain would abate by the time we set off.
Of course, my first job was to put nuts and seed out for 'our' squirrel and the local birds.
He was very grateful!

We waited as long as we dare, then drove to the start of Glen Sannox, not far from the cottage.
We parked up, still in the rain, and decided to boot up and put the full rain gear on.
Looking ahead, who could blame us?
Still, though, there were some beautiful things around us. More fungi - I just can't resist it!
The tops looked murky again, but the walking was pleasant, and on good paths, thanks mainly to Scottish Nature.
Glen Sannox, and all the other glens, were swathed in autumn browns. On a better day, the photo's would do it more justice, but we were LOVING the differing shades and hues.
Sue smiles broadly, while she's overlooked by 'the Bastion'.
We pressed on higher up Glen Sannox. We could see the rise of Cir Mor ahead. We were headed for that dip, called 'the saddle'. We knew from reading up on it that the path up was quite a scramble, something we didn't mind, but time was of the essence. We decided to get as far as we could.
My personal sat nav.
What a super glacial curve.
Of course, the burns were much more swollen than usual and, sometimes, crossing them was a bit 'hairy'.
What a place for a photo - shame about the lack of light though.
Mountain lace!
My other photographer.
Pretty soon, the going got a bit more serious, and we started to scramble up a chimney towards our goal, the Saddle.
Sue is ALWAYS game for whatever is thrown at her, and you can tell here by the big smile :-)
This is looking up. Time was creeping on though, and the views were bad so, at this point, we decided to call it a day, and vowed to return in better weather. The late start had robbed us of time.
You wouldn't want to slip into this burn while it was running as fast as this.
The saddle, where we almost got to, can be seen here as the dip to the left of Cir Mhor.
It was a long walk back to the bottom of the glen, and once again, the weather was closing in.
The sea, from Glen Sannox.
Two burns met here, and grew bigger and faster, producing some really nice falls.
This one is hidden away to the left of the path, but I could hear it roaring, so went to investigate. In my haste, I neglected to tell Sue what I was doing, and she didn't see me disappear. A lesson learned, as my actions quite panicked her. She couldn't see me, and didn't know where I was. Next time, I won't 'assume', I'll make SURE she knows where I am.
When we reached the car, it had started to rain heavily again, so we quickly disrobed and set off back to the cottage. We saw this lovely heron, wading below another concrete sheep.
When we arrived back, we had a welcoming party.
A hooded crow. A bit shy, but not too much to take food.
Every mans dream - lots of.........birds!
And of course, our acrobatic squirrel. (Photo courtesy of Sue).
We snuggled down with a bottle of wine, some nice Arran cheese and oatcakes, and turned the heating up! It might have been raining, but I can think of a LOT worse places to be.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Arran re-visited, part one

As you probably know, Sue & I went to Arran in March 2010 for a week. MARCH!!!!!! That's what all our friends said, but go we did, and we had SUCH a fantastic week, in all ways, that we instantly booked to go back in November. Oh, we knew we'd had a 'charmed' week, and so we were just going to take what we were given this time, weather wise. You can see the images of that week here, if you've not already seen them;
The weathermen and papers said that October/November would be a great time to take a holiday, as we were going to get a late Indian summer.

That's the alarm bell ringing!!! Of course, we expected a day or two of rain, but to be honest, there wasn't a day or night went by that it didn't rain at some point. Sometimes REALLY heavy, and sometimes a persistent drizzle This being said, it really didn't stop us enjoying the holiday, and we had the foresight to book a cottage instead of going B&B. That way, if we DID get rained off, we had the run of the whole place, rather than just one B&B room.
This decision was a Godsend!
Well, the lack of good light has really made me unhappy with a lot of the pictures. I often ended up with a dark image, drab colours (that the eye saw as AMAZING colours), or a flat, uninteresting sky. I have tried to choose the ones I think are not too bad, and I hope you enjoy them.
This was the scene as we set off on the ferry from Ardrossen.
A lot different from the snow-mantled vision we saw last time!

As we neared Arran, we could just see Holy Island in the murk.
A very rare sight this holiday, a fairly clear sky, so of course, good light for a picture.
This is the patio of Glenbank cottage;
That decking would see some serious bird and squirrel action over the coming week.
For now though, time to settle in to this lovely cottage. The rates are really good out of season, and one HUGE plus - NO midges! Marion, who owns the cottage, had left us a super 'welcome' basket, with Arran cheese, oatcake biscuits, CHOCOLATES, and a really tasty chutney to go with the cheese.
This was 'our' robin. He soon let us know he was there, and by the end of the week, we'd see him hopping into the kitchen to check for hob-nobs (his favourite).
But first, a walk outside to the small harbour. We really were a stones throw from the sea, and the view from the cottage windows, all of them, was just to DIE for!
The figurehead on this ship was just one of many works of art created by Marion's husband, Marvin.
His work is amazing, and prolific. Have a look at it here;
Another strange feature of Corrie are these concrete sheep (nothing to do with Marvin this time). Someone had the idea of making the boat ties more interesting.
(Notice the black sheep, facing the other way - brilliant!)
So, due to early rain in the morning, the next day we had a late start, & decided to go and see two things we'd missed last time. A famous waterfall (good, after all the rain), and the 'Giants graves' on the hillside above Whiting bay. This was the not-too-bright view we had as we started off.
This would be a great place for a picnic on a better day. This is Holy Island & Whiting bay.
All the info' on the giants graves - I hope you can read it ok.
We certainly had a really strange feeling, standing in the same place as those Neolithic people.
This was the entrance to the graves. It felt quite macabre as I passed through the 'gates'.
This was the other grave, much smaller.
Looking from one grave to the other.
It was quite damp up here, and there was a lot of fungi to be seen.
This was such a beautiful and delicate specimen, I don't know it's name though.
Some others, close by.

After spending a good while looking around the Giants graves, we made our way back down the hillside to re-take the path to Glenashdale falls. This is the very winding path we came up/went down.
Sue & I LOVE these woodland paths, even better for the carpet of pine needles that hushes all sound, and makes for such a soft walking platform.
Quite quickly, we reached the falls. We could hear the water thundering over the edge long before we reached them. There was a purpose-built viewing platform for visitors.
This view is from over the other side.

A lacy version of the falls.
This is the tumbling burn that feeds the falls. There was a super picnic place here, complete with table, but a family had beaten us to it, so we decided to press on for our lunch.

More fungi to see as we walked on. This was so delicate and white, the light passed through it.

This is called 'antler fungi', for obvious reasons.
It's only tiny, but there was lots of it spread over the forest floor.
This was where we decided to have lunch, JUST before the rains came.
This is all that remains of the once proud fortress.
We pressed on through the forest, passing many small waterfalls.
At this point, as we were descending, I looked right and saw a small red blotch.
Was it a wrapper, a can, a plastic tub, OR was it what I thought it was.......
YES - a GREAT example of the fly agaric fungi.

More to follow soon.................