Holiday postcards: from Arran

Since 1997 our family holidays have been to Arran. This will be our 16th, every one wonderful. Our grown-up children still steal a few days, with friends or partners, each summer on the island they love as much as we do. Was there a ‘most memorable’ one?  Lots of memorable moments but every one had its high-spots.  Climbing Goat Fell was a triumph, especially for two game wee girls, an eight and a nine-year old. (We’ll repeat that this year.) Completing the Arran half-marathon, occasionally for me, regularly for my wife and, last year, for my older daughter, was a great set of achievements. I’m happy now if I can complete the four-mile ‘Round the Square’ race at the Shiskine Valley sports day.
For my wife there’s golf at the superb, stunning, unique Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club, so beautiful that it could almost make me take up golf: almost. I ride out from Glen Sannox and Cairnhouse. There’s no view of Arran so fine as from a saddle. Cantering the beach south of Blackwaterfoot and disturbing a falcon before climbing cliff paths you’d never believe a horse could manage is unforgettable.
It’s not all wildness and activity. A sail on the Waverley is a return to an older style of Clydeside holidays. The Arran Heritage Museum is a clanjamfrey of delightful exhibits including a small display of material on the commandos who trained on Arran in 1940. My father was one: another Arran connection which I value.  But the great joy starts with the moment the boat leaves Ardrossan. The world of work is left on that mainland quay. Relaxation, fresh air and reading await. And that first moment remains until the boat returns a fortnight later, with passengers all thinking of their next Arran trip.

The above article was first published in Scottish Review on 29 June 2012: http://www.scottishreview.net/SRSummer292G.shtml
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