Billy Sangster

Stuff out of my brain

Arran Part Three

Although not completely off, the rain on the Monday was altogether lighter and a lot more intermittent than it had been the previous day.

The children had studied the book and map that the site owner lady had written out for us and decided we were going to find the viewing point we needed for the “Sleeping Warrior”.

This was a position on the island from which the formation of some of the mountains resembled a medieval soldier sleeping on his side.

I also insisted we go for a relatively short walk along the coastline in a wee loop which took in a viewing of “Fairy Dell”.

A visit to the Arran Whisky Distillery was also on the cards for today, we decided.

We searched in vain for the viewing point for that old sleeping soldier guy. I stopped at a lay-by I considered as close to the place indicated on the map in the book we had researched in the lodge. Mind you, the low lying rain clouds atop the mountain range forbade any reasonable chance we had of a far-sighted viewing today. Onwards and upwards. Which happened to be downwards in our case – to Lochranza.

We found the place to park at the start of the “Fairy Dell” walk and began our journey marveling in the bracing sea breeze accosting our senses.

Very soon however, the tell-tale spits and spots of rain were felt, fore-warning us of the oncoming deluge to come – one of biblical proportions, it turns out. We quickly donned the welcome waterproofs I’d packed in the bags and soon were battling our way through a malicious pelting of water that had other tourists turning back in terror to the safety of cars and dry clothing.

On and on we braved the walk, the rain stopping momentarily as if summoning up a second, third, fourth pulse of watery venom. We laughed in its face.

When we arrived at the far end of the walk, we turned off the track which was the official “Coastal Route” which meandered around the entire isle, only to be confronted with pink and blue waterproof-cladded beings standing under trees in a small wooded area. Very strange, as they all seemed to be just standing there, like someone had set up some Tiso mannequins to brighten up the tiny wood. I talked to a couple and found them to be the most pleasant of mannequins – even confirming that my small family had taken the right path. We continued our journey, stopping for lunch of ham sandwiches and Doritos during another cessation of the Great Flood – only then realising we must have walked straight past the “Fairy Dell” without even noticing it.

Disappointing, not least for my seven year old daughter, who’d made it her prerogative to cast an eye upon the home of those that exchanged teeth for pound coins.

After stopping briefly at the small hut of a gentleman bearing trinkets and baubles of the tourist variety we found ourselves on the last leg of the “short” walk. With less that two hundred metres to go, my son noticed a wooden bench placed in a strategic place that was puzzling to us all. He immediately bounded up to see if he could find an answer to this conundrum and was overjoyed when he saw the precise reason the bench was sitting at the strange angle, high above the path – an alternative view of the “Sleeping Warrior”, no less! We could scarcely believe our eyes, as this was the last place we expected to find an angle to view this thing. However, with the rain back on and out tired legs yearning for a seat in the van, we gave it the cursory once-over before finishing our walk.

Once we had taken off our soaking waterproofs and found ourselves to be of relatively dry composition, I thrummed the van into life and we headed to our last stop of the day – Arran Distillery.

The six pound tour of the whisky manufacturing process was informative enough, I enjoyed the two nips of single malt supplied to me, one fourteen and the other ten years old, but what I enjoyed most was the refreshment of knowledge I received in the art of making the “Water of Life”. Purely for my own long-planned idea of one day operating my own illicit still of course. One day. That and the whisky fudge I seem to manage to purvey each year the children and I are on holiday. I procured two boxes of the stuff and can tell you now that we are now down to the final package of said confectionary.

Back to the lodge for yet more Settlers of Catan, then bed, dreaming of what the next day on the island would bring.