An entry of purely personal interest, being an account of our holiday in Scotland in May.
We spent the first couple of nights on Arran at the Kildonan Hotel (fairly obviously in the village of Kildonan which is at the southern tip of Arran). The hotel was decorated and furnished in a pleasing, if somewhat eccentric, style; the best thing about our room was that it had a patio from which there were stunning views out to Pladda and Ailsa Craig….
This was also the view obtained from the Dining Room which made eating the – very good – food a real pleasure…….
On the Sunday we toured the southern half of the island, doing one of our favourite beach walks at Blackwaterfoot, with wonderful views over to Kintyre. And it was to Kintyre – venturing to pastures new – that we travelled on Monday, having first stopped off at Brodick Castle to enjoy the rhododendrons in flower (the first time we had seen them properly). The ferry from Arran to Kintyre is a delightfully small affair which terminates in the middle of nowhere – there is literally nothing there when you drive off. The Kintyre peninsula is a long spit of land which has very few roads – one down its east and one its west side. That on the east, by which we travelled, was the inspiration for Paul McCartney (who of course famously had a property – and may still do – on Kintyre; and more famously wrote Mull of Kintyre – the video for which we were informed was not filmed at the actual Mull but at a beach near where we were staying) when he composed The Long and Winding Road : it is certainly extremely winding and therefore feels very long! When venturing to new territory there is always a certain amount of luck involved. We had a great deal. In the first place the small hotel we selected – the Dunvalanree – was a delight in terms of both location, friendliness and the excellence of the cuisine.
Secondly the village and surroundings of Carradale in which it is located are a joy. On Tuesday we travelled south to see Campbeltown, the only town of any size in, which is a rather wonderful affair of faded Victorian and Edwardian glories. But on Wednesday we stayed entirely in Carradale spending the morning climbing a hill which gave the most wonderful views….
…this was truly about as near to a perfect day as one gets.
On Thursday we headed back, via Arran, to Galloway, as we felt we could not be in Scotland without visiting our favourite place. In retrospect it may be that this was cramming too much in. We stayed in Kirkcudbright at the Selkirk Arms and while this was perfectly satisfactory it could not really compete in terms of either location or cuisine or welcome with our previous experiences. Nonetheless we had a delightful day on Friday visiting our old friend the Mill on the Fleet second-hand book-shop (where as usual I found some real gems which were uncannily pertinent and wanted), and our very favourite beach at Carrick…
…which was as picturesque and delightful as ever.
All in all this week was indeed an idyll and has opened up another new area for us to return to and savour.