Friday, April 27, 2007

A day in Paradise

Last view of upper glen
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Yesterday, the weather doing what it had said on the tin, I paid a visit to my bit of Paradise. By 11am we were on the road up Glen Rosa on Arran; I wasn't sure how far we could reasonably expect to walk before turning back to catch the last ferry but like the reasonably fit maniacs that we are we made it to The Saddle, which you can see as the dip at the head of the glen in the photo, with the dramatic V of Ceum na Cailleach behind it. Both Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox, which rises to the other side of the Saddle, are perfect examples of glaciated valleys, with the jagged peaks which make the Arran hills so special rising above the smooth U-shapes of the glens.

This was the first time I'd walked in Arran so early in the year, and I was very struck by the difference in Glen Rosa, a place I know as well as any on earth. The usual soft green of the boggy grass and the blog myrtle had instead the appearance of a dry savannah -and we saw deer on the far side of the burn who might as well have been springbok; they seemed to be more dun-coloured than the red I would expect and were almost invisible. The vital ingredient of the scent of bog myrtle was also missing, as the tiny yellow flowers only smell if rubbed.

What I love about this place is its unchanging nature. The village of Brodick is different in feel from the village of my childhood - bleak hotels, the Douglas with its windows boarded up, the village beach much stonier and the grass behind it encroaching on the dunes - but from the moment you pass the war memorial you could be back in the '50s. As for the glen, the only difference is the path - we didn't have to skip through dub and mire in the old way, thanks to the National Trust. (The plaque made sure we knew who dunnit)

I've taken about 60 photos of the day, which you can see here. I must have more photos of Arran than of any other place on earth, but not digital ones. I was indulging myself in every way. I could almost convince myself that my knees still had some bounce in them - almost. It was a perfect day. 'Nuff said.


  1. Anonymous6:36 PM

    "blog myrtle": How delightfully appropriate. Glen Sannox in corpore sano.

  2. I can't believe I wrote that - how wonderful. I shall leave it be and see how many people notice.

  3. The place is enough to make any sane person lose their senses.

    Scatter my ashes there - not quite yet though.

  4. Anonymous11:51 PM

    They don't call me the Natty Bumppo of the blog-reading world for nothing. (Virtual Mars bar on offer. Terms & conditions apply. May contain - or imply - nuts.)

  5. James Fenimore Cooper and seventy I presume - or is that pioneering too far?

  6. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Och aye! Bullseye, Hawkeye.

  7. I completed my Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award hike on Arran in April. It snowed, rained, blew a gale and on the second and third day it was much the same! On our final day we awoke to beautiful sunshine for our short walk to the end of our trek and a decent bed!

    I have great memories of walking down Glen Rosa... to escape!!!