#Holiday – touring the Inner Hebrides. Day 1 – Arran, the King’s Caves #Scotland

After touring the Outer Hebrides last year, this year was the turn of the Inner Hebrides.

Arran isn’t technically one of the Inner Hebrides, but it fits nicely into a tour starting at Glasgow and heading north, so that was our first destination.

If you saw last year’s posts (find them HERE), you might remember our initial ferry and our day on Barra were somewhat affected by Hurricane Ophelia.

This year it was the tail end of another hurricane – you’d think I’d learn my lesson and go for a different time of year, wouldn’t you? But no, it fits into my work schedule, and besides, you don’t visit Scotland for the weather, do you?

Arriving at the ferry terminal at Ardrossan, this is what greeted us

Not very encouraging!

I was relieved when the ferry sailed. It was a bit rough, but it’s a short crossing and the B&B was within sight of the terminal at Brodick, on Arran.

 

 

Next morning was pouring with rain, but being Scotland we had come prepared, so we set off. Arran is a small island, with one road around the outside (just over 50 miles), and these were the first thing that caught my eye – Whiting Bay’s delightful bus stops.

A bit further down the coast we came on this dramatic view of Pladda island and its lighthouse

A little further south and we stopped for coffee in Blackwaterfoot. I really didn’t appreciate how hard it was raining until I replayed the video of the charming harbour

Leaving Blackwaterfoot, we saw our first wildlife of the trip – two red squirrels – crossing the road. They’re too fast to photograph, but its such a pleasure to see reds, so rare on the mainland.

Our first destination was a hike to the King’s Caves – reputedly the caves where Robert the Bruce hid from the English, and where he had his famous encounter with the spider. While hiding from the English who had defeated him, Robert watched a tiny spider try again and again and again to build a web, convincing Robert it was worth his while to try to defeat the English again.

In 1314, at the Battle of Bannockburn, Bruce’s army of 5,000 defeated Edward II’s much larger army of 20,000, driving the English finally and firmly out of Scotland. Robert Bruce was known as ‘Good King Robert’ and was undoubtedly one of Scotland’s greatest rulers, bringing peace and freedom to his country.

The circular walk is measured at around 3 miles, but some of it is pretty rough and steep, taking the better part of 2 hours. Still, it was worth it, even though we got soaked!

This was the first view, with the cliffs of Doon, once the site of a hill fort, in the middle distance

Then this

And eventually, this

The view from inside

The hillside is riddled with caves, and the next one along has many ancient symbols carved into the rock, from a variety of time periods. It was for some time closed off to the public unless a guide was present to protect it from vandals, but you can now access it whenever you want.

Look closely towards the bottom of the central pillar and you’ll make out a medieval carving of a sword. This pic was taken in near dark – I love my camera which has a highly effective dark setting.


Leaving the King’s Cave behind, we walked on along the beach and found this

In front of this

and inside, this!

My, those tourists have been busy!

Back to wildlife, a collective of cormorants stood on the rocks ahead

and a curlew picked over the pebbles

Leaving the beach behind, we made the long climb back up the cliff track with this view

I’d planned on covering the rest of the day in this one post until I realised how many photos I’d taken, so I’ll share the rest in my next post – mysterious standing stones, more fabulous views, and our first whisky distillery of the tour…

 

 

 

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14 comments

    1. Lots more to come 😀

  1. That sort of history–we just don’t have it here, in the US. Well, our earliest settlers were 15,000 years ago and the American Indians but neither left this sort of stories.

    The rain–I guess you just get used to living with it, and the grey skies. I wonder if I could.

    1. I guess that’s why so many Americans come visit Scotland!
      And the rain never lasts – this was a 10 day trip, only 2 days raining. You just have to accept it will happen and get on with it. Except when it spoils the views, it’s really just a matter of wearing the right clothes.

  2. Incredible photos even in the bad weather. You’re so right about just having to get on with it in the Scottish rain, you soon forget it don’t you?

    1. I’m very grateful I have a waterproof camera! I bought it to use in the sea, when we went dolphin swimming in NZ, and it’s proven its worth over and over. It just lacks much zoom facility, but you can’t have everything, can you?
      And yes, apart from the squelching feet as I didn’t have the right pair of boots, I really didn’t notice the rain, especially once the scenery opened up in front of me – too much to look at to bother about a bit of water!

  3. May I say ‘spooktacular’ because it’s Halloween? LOL. Really Deb, love your tours! The map really helps too. Always seems like you catch the rain, lol. And love those artsy bus shelters! Brilliant! 🙂 x

    1. OOh, you may 😉
      I love your holiday tours too – so different, the places you go to where I do! Re the rain – this IS Scotland – it rains a lot. Fortunately this time only 2 days out of 10, not too bad 😀

      1. Big bonus! Lol 🙂

  4. I keep swinging by here to study your photos and comments a bit at a time, Debby, because I can only seem to find 2 minutes here or there for my favorite blogs anymore! I’m NOT done, but I wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying seeing all these places! I still have chills from the sword carved into the pillar, but I have to stop now. Don’t worry, though. I’ll be back to read (and re-read) every single word. *sigh* What a LOVELY trip and I thank you for sharing so much with those of us who long to visit places like this ourselves. And btw, I really appreciated the map, too! Altogether a glorious post!!! 🙂 ❤

    1. Oh boy, do I know that time thing.
      Glad you’re enjoying sharing my trip this way, there is absolutely TONS more photos and videos to come – when I can find the time to load them up!

      1. I will continue to follow all of them, relishing every vista and cave and factoid! 😀 No matter how slowly I progress, I WILL see them ALL! I’m like a determined tortoise here, slow but sure. 😀 ❤

  5. […] with the soggy tale of our day on Arran, after our clamber down to the King’s Caves, we were decidedly soaked. Yes, I had the correct waterproof coat, but I’d forgotten that my […]

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