Otter spotting on Arran
Blue sky through the skylight when I woke up! Early start to get in a good long walk before the rain forecast for this afternoon so showered, breakfasted, toilet wrestled with, emptied and put back without looking at the instructions, and we're off at 9, heading for Sannox over the moors and along the coast, with the plan to catch the bus back.
First we climbed up onto the moors above the campsite and away towards the coast, with stunning views opening up over the sea to the mountains on the mainland. The path began to head down to the shore, with wide grassy paths ideal for Jinty dashes, eventually reaching a deserted white cottage on the shore at Laggan. No road to it, so anyone using it would have to hike over the hills to get there. A beautiful spot.
Walking along the pebbly shore beside banks of primroses and stretches of coarse grass dotted with tiny violets, celandines and what looked like miniature wood anemones, I spotted an otter swimming very close to me. It was going along with its head out of the water and then going underwater and coming back up. I was so excited, never having seen one before. Also saw a bird I'd never seen before, perched on a rock. Looking through my bird book I think it was a wheatear. Could be wrong though as birds aren't my strong point.
The path wound through woodland past some toilets (hurrah!) and crossed a fast flowing river, eventually coming out onto the sandy beach at Sannox. Next across another river on huge stepping stones, coming out onto the coast road at the bus stop. About an hour till the next bus, just right for a lunch stop at Corrie golf course, just up the road. Jinty had to wait outside but he got tucked under a table out of the slight rain and waiting nicely while I stoked up on lentil soup and a bowl of chips. I wrapped a few chips up in a napkin for him, which he woofed down.
Off to the bus stop where we waited. The bus came round the bend and sailed right past! I'm afraid I disturbed the peace of the sleepy village as I shouted at the bus driver as the bus disappeared up the hill. The next bus was not for two and three quarter hours. Choices.... go back the way I'd come, wait for the next bus, or walk back about seven miles along the road. Decided to walk along the road.
The road went up and up and up and the rain got heavier and heavier. Amazing scenery with streams and rivers rushing down the mountains. The road then went down and down until we saw the pagodas on the roof of the distillery at Lochranza. We made it back for about 4.30 and beat the bus. We certainly got more than we bargained for.
Back to the Romahome to get ready for moving on to Islay in the morning. Thinking of the stay on Arran, the soundtrack has been water, the sound of the sea, rain on waterproofs and the van roof, rushing rivers, streams, rivulets and waterfalls. The other sound that has been consistent on Arran has been the cuckoo, calling across the hills and valleys. Arran, lovely in all weathers, but I'm glad I'm in the Romahome rather than a tent.