Sunday, 29 March 2009
17th March 2009
Wow! My first walk to the top of a mountain when the weather was clear enough to see anything. What can I say? Spectacular!
On the shoulder between North Goatfell and Mullach Buidhe I saw the spot of the infamous Arran murder of a man named Rose in 1889, for which his fellow-walker Laurie was found guilty. But did he fall or was he pushed? Debate still continues about this on Arran, perhaps because more recent crimes are relatively few! If you want to read more, there is an account of the murder and trial at http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/etext/roughead/arran.htm
Today we were joined by Toosh and Neil for a coastal walk as the weather wasn't good enough to try a mountain walk. Toosh fulfilled his reputation as bird-spotter extroadinaire by spotting a male Hen-Harrier as soon as we got out of the car at Lochranza. We walked along the coast, via 'Hutton's Unconformity', a feature of interests to geologists as one rock strata inclines nearly vertically and is overlain by another one which is almost horizontal. This led Hutton to propose in the 18th century that the earth had developed over an immense period of time. Of immense importance maybe, but more interesting to me was the 'wee fairy bench' we saw erected at the fairy dell for the fairies to sit on - far more interesting than the inumerable other memorial benches on Arran!
After quite a scramble over boulders as the tide was in, we went into the pitch black of Ossian's cave and, by the light of a torch, could just make out the etchings on the wall. I tried not to think about a recent boulder fall we had noticed on the way and what would happen if another one took place whilst we were inside the cave! Even our sandwiches were outside!
We stopped for lunch at the old salt works, still clearly visible, before returning over the hill to Lochranza.
26th February 2009
Hilary fulfilled her promise to take me to the top of Goatfell as soon as the weather was good enough - it may have been good enough to get up to the top, but it wasn't good enough to see anything when we got there! It was too windy to stay at the top for long, just long enough to get a photo. As we had just started our descent, and believing ourselves to be the only people on the mountain, a young lad jogged past us listening to his Ipod, 'tagged' the top and then ran off back down again! We watched him disappear off into the distance feeling distinctly less fit than we had done previously!
Saturday, 28 March 2009
6th Feb 2009:
The news is showing tremendous snowfalls across England causing traffic chaos. Here in Arran, all that we have had is enough snow to make the mountains even more beautiful than they already are. Hilary, Annie and I took the opportunity to walk up to Eurie Loch, taking the dogs with us. The views across to Holy Island were superb, but Jamesie was more interested in rolling in the snow!
The Loch was totally frozen. Had the obligatory picnic at the top; I am getting to sample all the best tea spots on the island!
Mark, Moss and I moved to Arran on 15th December 2008 and by the 16th I had met two keen mountain walkers who promised to initiate me into the joys of the Arran mountains - and they have done just that! As they, and their dogs, will feature heavily in the following entries I'd best introduce them. Annie is on the left, and Hilary on the right. In front are Mac and Jamesie. These two are litter brothers, and both sold as pedigree Springers....but, as you can see, Mac's father was a handsome stranger! Nevertheless, he is proud to be a pedigree springer, and behaves with dignity at all times, whilst Jamesie constantly has his bum in the air whilst he searches for voles and mice which, unfortunately, he likes to eat live. Our own dog, Moss, is an old lady of 13 and not up to the mountain walks, preferring Arran's beautiful beaches instead, such as her favourite, Blackwaterfoot, shown here. Moss was handed in as a stray at just a few weeks old to a police station in Sheffield, and has come a long way to retire by the sea.