Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

It wasn’t sunny everywhere, not that it mattered

28th June 2010

Depending on where you were, this past weekend might have felt every bit a scorcher. However, if you were stood around Rest and Be Thankful on Sunday morning, it was not scorching sun that you would have experienced but a soaking from a conveyor belt dragging showers of rain through the surrounding hills. Having experienced this a few times myself, I can attest to the amount of rain that can come down on you when the mood takes the weather. Yesterday though, I was travelling in a coach through it all after spending a few days reacquainting myself with the Isle of Arran and getting to know a piece of Kintyre.

Torr Nead an Eoin, Lochranza, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Having a few days of leave coming my way, my mind turned to returning to Arran more than four years after a first visit that took in the summit of Goatfell and a bus ride all around the island on a showery Easter weekend. The base this time was Lochranza rather than Brodick and the immersion into hill country deeper even if the heights were lower. The sun may have stayed hidden by cloud cover for much of the time, but that may have meant cooler temperatures more suitable for walking, so there can be no complaints.

After leaving Arran, there was time for a trot along part of the Kintyre Way between Claonaig and Tarbert. The views of Arran stayed with me much longer than I might have expected. It looked as if it were going to be a cloudy day’s hiking until that cloud began to break up to give me a blast of sweltering heat on the final approach to Tarbert with views over Loch Fyne towards Cowal to my right.

From Tarbert, I travelled to Inveraray for an overnight stopover prior to my coming south again the next day. The evening was perfect for lingering and, if you fancied the idea, al fresco dining on Inveraray’s shore line. A cheeky incursion into the surroundings of Inveraray castle came to pass too and without any sort of rancour from the residents in the castle either; mind you, I wasn’t making my presence that apparent. The sun may have been playing hard to get but it was the sort of evening that would keep you out of doors with its sense of quiet stillness.

Returning to the point on which I started this piece of mental rambling, the next morning was damper and that made departing not such a hard thing to do. Nevertheless, it always leaves open the idea of returning when better lighting is available, especially if you have photographic designs like me. As is my habit with these things, I’ll leave the wider musings on the landscape through which I traipsed for other postings. Even though I never was that far from Glasgow, everywhere I went had the feel of a quiet backwater, so there was plenty of time for uninterrupted reverie with the theatre of the skull unleashed. Though others may be dazzled by thoughts of sights further north, there is plenty around Arran and Kintyre for anyone seeking restive and restorative peace and calm. All in all, it did feel as if the frantic pace of everyday living was far, far away.

Travel Details:

Return train journey between Macclesfield and Glasgow, with a change at Manchester on the northbound leg and changes at Preston and Manchester on the southbound one. Rail connection to Ardrossan for a ferry crossing (CalMac) to Brodick with a ride on bus service 324 to Lochranza. Ferry crossing (CalMac again) from Lochranza to Claonaig; all ferry travel used a handy Arran hopscotch fare. Scottish Citylink service 926 between Tarbert and Inveraray and again between Inveraray and Glasgow.


  • Camping Sleeping Bag says:

    That is a stunning picture and I can’t get over how vividly blue the sky is!

    • John says:

      It’s amazing what the summer evening light can do for you and I am glad that you enjoy the photo too. Saying that, there are other photos of mine with more intensely blue skies elsewhere on the blog. Feel free to have a look.

  • Cargo Shorts says:

    I would like to add, those green fields look incredibly lush, what camera is this taken with if you don’t mind me asking?

    • John says:

      Cameras aren’t everything by the way but it’s a Pentax K10D that I have had for a few years now. When the right kind of light is about as it was late on this June evening, it does the business for me.

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