Sunday, 7 January 2018

Summer in Scotland: The Isle of Arran

Machrie Moor standing stones
Back in the summer we spent ten days travelling round Scotland, starting off with a couple of nights on the Isle of Arran.

On our only full day in Arran we did a lap of the island in our dinky little hire car. We started off by visiting the standing stones at Machrie Moor, a neolithic site with multiple sets of standing stones within a relatively small area. We had the area almost completely to ourselves and saw lots of pink foxgloves on the walk to and from the stones.
Pink foxgloves
Continuing round the island we saw a new distillery being built (which we learned the following day was owned by the Arran distillery) and then stopped for a walk along the beach in Whiting Bay. We parked opposite the Arran Art Gallery and decided to pop in before we continued our drive round the island. I didn't have much hope for the gallery, but it was actually really good with lots of pictures and prints that we wanted to buy. We ended up buying four pictures that the shipped back to London for us at reasonable rates. I'm pleased to say we still like the pictures several months on!
Arran distillery
On our final morning on Arran we took the tour at the Arran Distillery. Having tasted one of the first bottles that the distillery produced I have to say that I don't hold their whisky in particularly high regard. They seem to be doing really well so you probably should take my opinion with a pinch of salt! Their tour was very interesting and they gave me a dram to take away (which I still haven't tried).
Copper stills inside the distillery
The distillery make a big thing about being independent and making non-peated whiskies, so it gave me a wry smile to learn that the distillery we'd seen under construction was owned by them and was being set up specifically to make peated whisky.

Lochranza Castle
From our short time in Arran, I'd say the food was a bit mixed. We had a nice evening meal at The Stag's Pavillion, but the most pleasing surprise was discovering The Sandwich Station. They make really good sandwiches on locally baked sourdough bread and using interesting local ingredients. I think the sandwich bar would holds its own in any city in the UK and was not the dry white bread and soggy lettuce I was expecting!
Lochranza sandwich station
One of the strangest things about Arran, in a nice way, was the number of red swings that were dotted around the island in completely isolated locations. Why build a swing where there are no nearby houses to make use of them?
There were swings all over Arran
We left Arran on this small ferry heading towards the Isle of Islay.
Leaving Lochranza by ferry

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Richard - come back soon for another visit - lots to see and do!