We come to the island a mixed bag.  A jet lagged group from disparate places, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, the rain drenched American South.  Left feeling hollow by the loss of our beloved matriarch we descend on the wind swept island in hopes of remembering, of reconnecting, and of making a bit of sense of things.

It’s the usual ferry drill of queuing- a grey, nondescript car park,the shrill cry of gulls, smells of oil and salt, a smattering of rain and the the clanking and grinding as cars file into the hold.  It’s the first of many cups of tea, this one in the lounge as we listen to a Glaswegian land surveyor talk to his portly wife. The ferry looses its moorings and swings wide before heading out into the leaden Firth of Clyde.

It’s all a bit hemmed in below decks and and the rest of the group are left, spread out with biscuits and papers in the lounge. Catching up on the news from a home that is no longer ours.  The topside deck is all mine save for a solitary older man, looking over the stern into the gloom.  Cursory nods are exchanged then its back to zipping up waxed jackets and letting the salt wind blow a days travel and a weeks worth of introspection from the mind.


Wind buffets and swirls about,ears become cold, thoughts of tea and biscuits are calling from below decks….and in an instant it changes.  The bleakness is gone, and rising from the grey is the first sighting of the impressive heights of Goat Fell, looming over the islands north end. With skies clearing it’s all a reminder of different latitudes. The damn place looks positively Polynesian.


It’s these sudden changes that make Arran feel so interesting, a constant unfolding, of drawing you closer to it’s core…It’s shocking that an island so relatively reachable isn’t absolutely over run by the detritus often found within striking distance of a major city. There is nothing ticky tacky in sight, no grim seaside amusements seen in greying European sea fronts. Instead there is a beautiful soothing spaciousness. Arran has an unobtrusive kind of spiritualness to the land. The Buddhists over on Holy Isle must be here for a reason as there is a palpable calming energy that holds sway over the glens and fells of the island, tumbling down the hillsides and settling in the villages and settlements.  This place is old and every piece of the landscape feels storied and fabled. A field is walked through and the past reaches from the heathered land while legends skulk in bracken filled ravines. Yet there is nothing heavy handed at play here. The small villages have a strong feel of community with pubs suitably cozy and laughter tinged.


The days drift by without names. Mornings are spent exorcising inner turmoil in pre-dawn runs into the hills. Starting by the sea and just heading up, not knowing or really caring where things end. A dawn patrol spent moving quickly and stealthily among fairy glens, giant’s tombs and spirit dwelling waterfalls. A high bluff is gained and sunrise radiates the world. Afternoons are a series of tea infused conversations with those one cares deeply about, sitting by radiators in a lovely old house and watching the water for seals and basking sharks. Books are picked up then put down again, jigsaw puzzles are half done, time stands still….Everything is let go.



For more or our Arran journey please have a look at our Instagram feed. The colours and sights of the island as they happened.