Helen Rose’s Outdoor Diary: Arran Revisited

Glen Rpsa Trere

The HF Glasgow Outdoor Club arranged a weekend in my favourite Island of Arran. I have been going there annually for over twenty years and it is always enjoyable. The island is situated off the Ayrshire coast about an hour’s drive from Glasgow to the ferry over to Brodick which takes less than an hour. Unfortunately, we continue to have a ferry problem in Scotland to the islands as it is an ageing fleet and the replacements have been delayed. Our ferry was from Troon as the Ardrossan route had been cancelled. This caused a problem as we had to have the box of food for our dinners transferred in to Alan’s car at the last minute in Troon before boarding the ferry.

Rock and Blues Festival

The weekend was based in Lochranza in the north of the island which happened to be the centre of the annual Arran Rock and Blues Festival. I thought my days of going to a rock concert were long since over but we went on the first evening to see the Sensational Alex Harvey Band Experience, a tribute band to Alex Harvey. The Experience are a five piece outfit from Glasgow and are officially the UKs Number 1 tribute to the Sensational Alex Harvey Band from their formation in 2014. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band was a Scottish rock band formed in Glasgow in 1972. Fronted by Alex Harvey, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band had top 40 hits in Britain with the single Delilah. Harvey left the group late in 1975. Our concert finished with the Experience playing Delilah as we all joined in. A great night was had by all in the audience.

Laggan and Sannox

Many of the club members went on high level walks on the mountains in Arran but our little group opted for a leisurely walking day. We walked from Lochranza over the hill with a gentle ascent through the grazing land of Glen Chalmada Cross. We continued on the footbridge over pretty Allt Eadaraidh and continued onwards with the path levelling out at the pass of Bearradh Tom a’Muidhe at 263 metres.The path contoured below the crags of Creag Ghlas Laggan before descending more directly to whitewashed Laggan Cottage above a rocky shoreline.

The beach is a great stop for lunch. It’s very rocky and looks very dramatic with large boulders of granite. We spotted some dolphins in the distance

The walk to Sannox continued along the beach and Kathleen took the opportunity of collecting stones to build some sculptures on the grassy bank. Arran is a very rocky island particularly on the north of the island. We enjoyed the walk along the beach on good paths and around headlands before reaching the area known as Fallen Rocks, which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland  These are very large rocks with a good path threading through them so no scrambling was required much to my relief!  The rocks are carboniferous sandstone and pebble conglomerate (an amalgam of wee rocks in big rocks).

Soon we reached Sannox. The name comes from the name the Vikings gave to the area, Sandvik, meaning the Sandy Bay. From there we took the bus back to Lochranza to celebrate a birthday in the hostel where we were staying. www.hostellingscotland.org.uk

Glen Rosa

On the second walking day, Joe planned and led a walk to Glen Rosa. This is a stunning glen near Goat Fell mountain with breathtaking scenery. The path starts in Brodick Castle to the south of Lochranza – with a drive through stunning scenery to reach the Castle. There is a good bus service in Arran which meets the ferry in Brodick and goes around the island both north and south so it is fairly easy to get around without transport and stop off at various places.

The path climbed towards the mountains and we arrived at the Blue Pool. This is a popular spot for wild swimming. The Blue Pool sits beneath the Glenrosa Waterfall and the water in the pool is generally calm thanks to the shelter of the surrounding glen. However, the water temperature was only 12c but that did not deter one of our number diving in several times and swimming about. The rest of us did the sensible thing and had lunch while watching the entertainment!

Brodick Country Park

We walked from Glenrosa to Brodick Country Park   I have only ever previously visited the Castle and the Walled Gardens but I was very impressed by the plants and bushes in the park. As it was May, the azaleas and rhododendrons were in full bloom. There were many varieties and some had a beautiful scent. The wild flowers were out with clumps of bluebells along the side of the path.

Horses

We passed a field and noticed the horses had light coats and strange face attire. These were horses with fly rugs and fly masks designed to protect the horses’ faces and bodies from flies and midges and other biting and irritating insects during the warmer months as well as UV rays. Sweet itch is a common issue for horses during the summer months. Whether they bite or not, flies, midges and other insects can make the most beautiful spring or summer day a misery for a horse when  outside. Fly masks can help protect the eyes from secondary infection, flies or wind if the eye has had any trauma or damage. Horses’ eyes can be sensitive to both UV and wind. As a result, they can rest and enjoy themselves while grazing outside. This was all news to me!

We reached the Visitors Centre for very welcome coffee and cake before returning to Lochranza for wee refreshments at the Lochranza Country Inn after dinner. This is a community run hotel and they are going from strength to strength.Before leaving Lochranza a photograph was taken of the deer relaxing on the golf course!

July, 2024

Thanks to Joe for leading the Glen Rosa walk.

Thanks to Bev and Kathleen for photos.

Coming attractions; New York Again and Island of Lismore

Oban Islands. June 2024

This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary

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