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16 October 2014

Sunny - July 2005

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Make Poverty History March and this weeks Demos

Here's my friend Natalies' report on last Saturdays' and Sundays' demonstrations through Edinburgh in the run up to the G8 conference at Geneagles which starts tomorrow (wednesday), by the way, since when was Geleagles "near by" Edinburgh? It's over an hour away in Perthshire. There was a strong Arran contingent doing their bit. I had to stay home and literally mind the shop. Most people are back now but Natalie is staying on the mainland for the entire week so will keep us up to date. Here's what she sent:
225,000 make a white Make Poverty History band around Edinburgh. Arran contingent in the middle in red
(saturdays demo)

Dear Everyone,
Yesterday's demonstration was really beautiful. There were so-o many people
and the energy was really amazing- peaceful, vibrant, creative, diverse ,
confident, optimistic and full of hope.
In the morning the city was unexpectedly quiet as i walked to the
demo...lots of roads closed so not the usual roar of traffic. lots and lots
of people dressed in white with big smiles on their faces. every road full
of parked coaches with poster of who/where the people had come from. when i
got to the meadows, which was the beginning and end point for the demo there
were already thousands and thousands of people, 2 stages set up with
activists doing their thing adn then stalls of all the various official
supporters: teardrop foundation, action agaist AIDS, vso, friends of the
earth, the green party, oxfam, etc etc...also info tents and first aid and
lost kids tents and of course the usual food and toilet stuff. it was all
set up really well!
I went on the actual march quite early...maybe about 11 am or so. The sun
was shining, the crowds were amazing and by the time i got back to the
start there were still jam-packed crowds waiting to go! so all in all the
human chain was surrounding edinburgh for about 8 hours...which is a lot of
people id say! As always, in such a huge crowd the chances of bumping into
anyone you know are remote...but as always i bumped into loads of people and
had a great time dancing and singing and chanting...some of the chants were
really funny! (but cant remember any of them...)
Back on the Meadows there was a real carnival atmosphere and all was very
peaceful...the highlights for me...Billy Bragg sang the 'Internationale'
song, we set a new world record for the G8-some reel (hilarious...5000 folks
arsing up the dance on teh Meadows!), there were loads and loads of drummers
and drum circles waking up the energies when folks were getting a bit tired
(it was really hot).
There were some beautiful wee moments of people power too...a police
photographer dressed in black riot gear with 2 body guards taking photos of
us all was being shadowed by an activist witness taking photos of the police
taking photos saying 'like you im just doing my job', children being kept
safe in the crowd always and givin room to see and being fed and watered by
the crowd, people from all over the world getting the chance to come
together to demonstrate and celebrate.....fabulous.
in general the police were fine but they did over react to a supposed group
of anarchist and i was suddenly in an area where there were about 200
luminous police persons, about 100 riot gear ones dressed in black with
shields and the poor police horses with their protective eye-visors
on..there were vans that had cage apparatus on them that opened up into the
very bemused crowd to fence them in....
lots of businesses on the route of the march had boarded themselves up which
just seemed odd, considering how peaceful it all was. however, teh media
have been cranking up fear for next week and businesses have reacted
accordingly and a lot of the edinburgh corporate businneses are having
'dress down' days all of next week......!!!!!!!!
last night there were parties going on all over the city. I went to a
'tearfund' benefit gig that had world music going on and my old flatmates
brought the house down with their west african drums/amadinda and dancing
thing called 'wasila' which means family i think.... it was amazing and i
had a great boogie all night!
today there is a 'stop the war' march im about to go on and them we will
see. Im either going to to the protest for nucleur disarmnament at faslane
tomorow or stay in edinburgh for the 'carnival'. And Im still undecided as
to whether im going to stay put in edinburgh for the G8 demostrations or go
up to gleneagles.
all for now...

Sundays demo

Dear Everyone,
This evening there was a much smaller 'Stop the War' demonstration, smaller
than yesterdays massive 'make poverty history' event.
Although it was much smaller in people it was a very moving and powerful
All around me i heard voices from uk, italy, france, poland, germany,
netherlands, greece, india, iraq america...we marched from princess street
up to calton hill, there were loads of media and loads of spectators...
but there was also a really huge police presence....every 10 meters on each
side of the road there were police dressed in luminous jackets and the full
gear. on the buildings were police dressed in black, with mikes and god
knows what, taking photos, running video footage. The whole way up to the
hill...every 10 meters or so. I had a friend with me that had never been to
a demonstration before, it was a real privilege to be her 'guide' like
someone did for me on my first demo.
We got to the top of the hill to 'edinburgh's disgrace' an unfinished
classical building (like the acropolis) where the organisers (stop the war
coalition, cnd etc) had sorted out a sound system and banners. We all waited
until the whole march had arrived, we all were sitting on the grass.
Then the ceremony of naming the dead began.
There were all sorts of a activists taking turns- from trade union groups,
political parties, grass roots organisations, anarchists, environmentalists,
human rights activist, film makers, theatre producers, refugees, mothers,
sisters, brothers of the dead... then people sitting listening were asked to
come forward to read the names of the dead too...
The naming took hours, and of course only a drop in the ocean of all those
lost in combat and civilian life in Iraq that were named: British, Iraqi,
American, French, Italian.... The youngest victim i remember was an 8 month
year old baby girl in Iraq, the oldest a 78 year old grandmother (Iraq).
The demonstration was peaceful and an act of love. The power for social
change and spiritual healing generated in naming the dead was felt, Im sure,
by all.
Right, off to bed- a 3 am rise to get a bus to Faslane...
(send me an e-mail if you dont want to hear anymore about the G8 protests
this week)

Posted on Sunny at 11:43

An Artists Guide to Arran

I've just updated this blog as some of the information was out of date. It should all be correct as of 17/07/06

Thought I'd scribble a quick guide to the wealth of art and craft workshops, studios and galleries on The Isle of Arran with a bit of extra info thrown in (like stuff for the philistine hangers on). For further enquiries please call Tourist Information on 01770 303 774 or call The Arran Art Store on 01770 600 627.
The Corrie Longship Invading a Village Near You Soon
The Cal Mac Ferry:

Unless you are loaded and coming by yacht or helicopter, you will be travelling by Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry from Clonaig or most likely Ardrossan. Always book as there is no guarantee of getting across otherwise and if you miss your booked sailing you can usually get a later one, you can change your booking up to about 1 & ½ hours before sailing. If you’re running late ring the terminal & tell them, they can take their time closing the doors if they know you are coming. Doesn’t always work but worth a try. The MV Saturn runs between the main ferry times for a limited period over the summer, call Cal-Mac for timetables etc. It’s much cheaper to travel as a foot passenger and there is a rail link right up to the terminal. There are cycle paths on the island, there are also a lot of hills.

Once on the Ferry if you’re hungry head straight for the café. The food’s ok and you can be fed and up on deck before the boat sets sail. Always try to pick up an Arran Banner (local paper) in either the boat shop (next to the bar) or the coffee shop (past the café towards the bow). The Banner has a “What’s On” section which is far from complete but will give you a good idea of where there is live music, events and Ceilidhs etc. There is also a free map of Arran; if you don’t pick one up here you should be able to get one from most of the shops or hotels on the island. There is also a free visitors guide available from the tourist information point. There is also a Tourist Information office at the Pier when you land in Brodick, this is a good place for cyclists to pick up cycle path maps, but the best place to pick up invitations to parties etc. is the bar on the boat. If you’re up on deck keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and porpoise, whales and especially basking sharks, which often follow the boat.

Accommodation and Blood Sucking Monsters:

Always book this in advance as the Island gets very busy in the summer and many hotels and B&B’s close out of season so accommodation can be in short supply, especially if the weather is bad and sailings get cancelled. There is a Youth Hostel in Lochranza ( there used to be two, the Whiting Bay Youth Hostel is now definitely shut no matter what tourist info try to tell you) and caravan and campsites across the Island, just remember that the midges will eat you alive. It’s worth bringing repellent with you as it often sells out here during the summer. The midges are everywhere but keep away from long grass, trees and especially water and you might have a chance. Always keep your tent closed and never ever open a window with the light on and always remove your boots before getting into a tent. If you tramp cleg eggs in you will be very sorry in the morning. Cleggs are vile and 100 times worse than midge bites. Also be aware of Ticks, which can be removed with a twist. If you aren't sure you got it's head out then go to the hospital. Also go to the hospital if a red ring appears around the bite, this is a symptom of limes disease which is very nasty and needs antibiotics.

If you are camping never camp on a river or burn bank because if the midges don’t get you the flash floods might, the rivers and burns can easily burst their banks or change course during the night so always camp on clear high ground if you can. Better still book into an hotel or B&B. There is a wide range of accommodation for most budgets.

Lots of Geography

Ridiculous Amount of Geography:

Arran is known as “Scotland in miniature”; this rather twee saying is irritatingly true. The South End has soft rolling hills, Cavernous caves, wide sandy beaches and amazing rock formations. The North End has majestic mountains (Goat Fell is 2867 feet, just under 3000 feet to be a Munro, not the hill they’ve put in the blogging blurb about Arran), windswept moors, crevasses and gorges, deep blue lochs and more amazing rock formations including Huttons Unconformity (you have to see it to get it). And it’s covered in standing stones, waterfalls, tearooms and golf courses with smaller islands off the coast so yeah, miniature Scotland. Remember to watch out for the flora and fauna; Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers, Seals, Dolphins, Porpoises, Whales and Basking Sharks, Otters, Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Badgers, Owls, Snakes (Adders-poisonous but painfully shy) and stuff like that. No foxes or grey squirrels! Don’t forget your walking boots. You will find you will be tramping everywhere and twisted ankles can ruin holidays. You can buy boots here so don’t panic if you have already left home without them.

Starting with Brodick and working clockwise round The Island.

Brodick Bay & Goat Fell

The main ferry from the mainland docks in Brodick so we will start here.

From the ferry terminal turn right along the main road. About 200 yard down on your left hand side past the COOP is a large store called Bilslands. Bilslands sells a wide range of gifts, clothing, footwear, toys and café, the upstairs of which is used as a gallery by different artists and photographers through the year.

On Bilslands right is The Arran Craft Gallery.

The Arran Craft Gallery 302680 offers a range of beautiful woodcarving, pottery jewellery and glass produced by professional local artists.

For those less artistic or plain bored Arran Adventure 302 244 is in the next building. They have a bouldering wall for children and adults, crazy golf, and a wide range of exciting, adventurous excursions and cycle hire. It’s well worth dropping in to arrange a day of fun tailored to you.

Further along the road is The Book and Card Centre, which keeps a selection of childrens art and craft supplies, books, stationery etc.

Next Arran Asia 302 920 specialising in Asian jewellery, crafts and clothing. Inspirations 302 990 have a huge selection of arts, crafts and gifts. Then The Sheep Skin Shop 302 503 which has a lovely selection of sheepskin, leather and hand knitted clothing and accessories. Further on the same side is The Arran Trading Post who offers local and world crafts, wooden toys and locally grown nursery plants.

Next is James’ Chocolate Shop, all the chocolates are hand made on the premises and are real works of art, which taste wonderful and James will also take special commissions. Carry on along the main road and you will see a sandwich board directing you left to The Burnside Gallery

The Burnside Gallery 308 888 Is a long established and well respected professional gallery hosting major exhibitions by internationally renown artists while supporting the cream of Scotland and Arrans’ professional arts and crafts. The Burnside also offers workshops and classes.

Before the Burnside is The Good Food Shop known for it’s locally grown fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. Carrying on the main road to The Arran Heritage Museum and Rosaburn Tearoom on your right, further on again the road curves sharply to the right with The String Road forking off to the left. The String cuts across the Island to Blackwaterfoot. If you turn up The String and turn first left the road will lead you into Glen Rosa and Glen Rosa Camp Site. The walk through Glen Rosa is stunning. You can walk right up over The Saddle on the shoulder of Cir Mhor and down into Glen Sannox on the other side. Glen Rosa is a popular subject for many artists and photographers.

Back on the Coast Road carry on north for about a mile out of Brodick heading north will take you to Duchess Court 302831 on your right hand side which houses The Arran Cheese Factory which sells Arran Pottery as well as excellent local cheeses, Arran Aromatics and a few small shops here selling gift and crafts, there is also a café which serves a very welcome all day breakfast among everything else), Creelers Seafood Restaurant & Shop 302810.

A little further on the main road on your left hand side is the Cladach Centre which hosts The MacKenzie Leather Workshop 302 311 as well as Arran Brewery and Arran Active Outdoor Shop. There is a large car park here; Bistro, the main path to Goat Fell and the pedestrian entrance to Brodick Castle start here too. Just across the road is Richard Leclerc Stained Glass Specialists. A little further on again is the main entrance to Brodick Castle and Gardens. The oldest part of the castle is the Viking Tower and has been added to over the last 1800 years or so. There is an excellent adventure playground and the gardens and castle are all well worth exploring. There is a major art exhibition every autumn at Brodick Castle and different events throughout the year. The Ranger Centre 302 462 is also in the Castle Grounds where you can find out more about the wildlife and forestry or take part in one of the many workshops running throughout the year (booking essential). If you carry on along the main road for about 4 miles you will come to Corrie. For information on this village and travelling north please go to the bottom of the page and work back.

Brodick is well services with the bus station. 18 hole Golf Course, There is an eclectic range of accommodation and some great places to eat out in restaurants such as The Brodick Bar Bistro (not a pub but a modern well appointed quality restaurant with excellent food, although you can eat in the bar if you want to), Creelers Seafood Restaurant, Brambles, The Garden Restaurant at Auchrannie and for great pub grub The Ormidale Hotel among many more hotels that I am sure offer great food but as I haven’t eaten at them I can’t comment. There is also the Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant & Take Away at the McAlpine Hotel. The Old Shanghai Chinese Take Away, Wooleys Bakery (will make up packed lunches and do hot and cold sandwiches, pies etc.) and the Pier Fish & Chip Shop. The Brodick Highland Games are held at the Ormidale Sports Ground in August and there are other sporting fixtures and events through the year. The Village Hall opposite the sports ground plays host to many events from Billy Connelly last April to sales of work. Keep an eye on the notice board or Arran Banner for ceilidhs, play’s, bands playing, club nights etc. The Hall has hosted some cracking events and you never know what’s going to be on next. The Village Hall also houses the Library.


Holy Isle from Lamlash

As you come out of the ferry terminal in Brodick if you turn left onto the main road the next main village is Lamlash. On the way you will pass The Brodick Nursery and Garden Centre on your right hand side which has an excellent range of plants, shrubs etc. and a wonderful florists (very handy if you are visiting friend or family), they also sell logs. On your left as you drive up Brodick hill is the turn off for Corriegills a beautiful hamlet and the home to renowned artist James Gorman. At the top of the hill is the look out point, which has fantastic views over The Sleeping Warrior Mountain Range. It also has a large car park, picnic tables, woodland walks and lots of midges. Carry on down the hill and you will come into the village of Lamlash, which has largest resident population on the Island and fantastic views over the Holy Isle.

The first store you will come to is The Arran Art Store 600 627 on your left.
The Arran Art Store
The Arran Art Store
The Arran Art Store 600 627 Supplies professional and Student quality art and craft supplies. The Arran Art Store also have an impressive range of childrens’ fun kits and a gallery specialising in landscape paintings of the Island by a range of artists including Pat McDonald, David Aitcheson and Demay. The store is better stocked than many mainland stores with a full range of professional quality paints, an excellent choice of papers from Saunders Waterford to hand made Himalayan papers not to mention easels, accessories and specialist craft materials including a fantastic selection of card making supplies. Surprisingly competitive, most of their prices are considerably lower than the mainland stores and the quality and breadth of choice is quite amazing. This is a good place to find out about art exhibitions, classes and workshops running during your visit. Susan, the owner is a professional corporate artist who opened the store partly to ensure that she didn’t have to travel to Glasgow every time she ran out of paint or wanted to explore new innovations. Therefore The Arran Art Store really is an artist’s art store, the staff are very helpful and really know what they are talking about.

Next door to The Arran Art Store is Studio 4.

Studio 4 600 919 is an impressive jewellery workshop offering beautifully hand crafted pieces to buy and take commissions. They also offer a gallery of lively contemporary art, sculpture, woodcarving, glass, and paintings by innovative collectable artists. Studio 4 is well patronised by customers who return year after year for Barbara’s unique work.

Carrying on down the hill into the village Second Chance antique and bric-a-brac store is on the left before the Old Pier Tearoom, which had some lovely prints, and paintings of the island displayed for sale. Further down on the right is Made In Arran.

Made in Arran 600 384 stocks an impressively diverse range of locally produced crafts and paintings while offering a very pleasant café service where you can relax and consider the intricate pieces around you.

Further on again is The Ship House which doubles as both Gift Shop and News Agent & Stationers.

Lamlash also boasts an 18 hole Golf Course (non members welcome), Yacht Club, The Pier Heid Tavern (voted the friendliest pub in Scotland last year), The Drift Inn and The Alderside Hotel all of whom have live music, entertainment, events etc. during the summer and most weekends out of season. There are a number of good B&B’s and a caravan park. There is a reasonably sized CO OP, butchers, ships chandlers, newsagents & stationers, Hairdressers, post office, gift shop, two excellent cafes and The Arran High School and The Hospital. The Ferry to Holy Isle 600 998 leaves from Lamlash Pier. Ask at The Arran Art Store 600 627 or The Tourist Info Centre for sailing times or ring 600 998. The Holy Isle is a private island owned by the Samyeling Buddhist Monastery who have built the World Peace Centre and Mandela Garden there, most of the island is open to the public and has a beautiful walk round the island and over the top. Please wear stout walking boot if visiting as there are no roads on the Holy isle.

As you head out of the village continuing South you will see The Ross road leading off to your right. Arran Preserves factory is situated just here with the Kitchen Shop next door. The Ross is a single-track road with passing place, which takes you over to Lagg. This road has a few sharp bends and a sheer drop on one side. There is nothing up here apart from a Buddhist Retreat, which is closed to the public. The countryside is however stunning. The best views are on the journey back from Lagg to Lamlash so I suggest you carry on the main road to Whiting Bay.

Whiting Bay

You are now officially in the South End of the Island. Between Lamlash and Whiting Bay you will see a sign for Arran Candlemakers at Spion Cop.

Arran Candlemakers 600 474 workshop has an extensive range of hand made candles to choose from and you can watch the candlemaker at work.

As you drive in on your left you will see a sandwich board for Demays Oil Painting Studio.

Demay 700 328 is a well-known artist famous for her vibrant use of colour and light in a variety of subjects including landscape. Further on your right is Smiddy Brae (opposite The Bistro), which will take you up to The Ardshiel Gallery.

The Ardshiel Gallery 700 249 is owned and run by Ken and Jan MacGregor have been running this very successful gallery for three years and Ken is a popular artist with collectors and locals. They show 10 to 12 artists work and carry a range of approximately 70 pictures at any one exhibition. Also ceramics and small items of jewellery. There are five seasonal exhibitions each year, the longest from July to September. Open Wednesday to Sunday 11.30am to 5pm or by appointment 01770 700 249.
Back down on the main road you come to The Square, which is a large car park and space opposite MBS DIY (Marriott Building Supplies DIY). At the top of The Square furthest from the road is
Crafts of Arran 700 251 who sell collectables, gifts, hand knitted clothing and souvenirs.
Yellowland Studio and Gallery 700 464 is situated close by and is open by appointment. Yellowland Exhibits the work of award winning artist Nicky Gill famous for his use of contemporary colour in portraits, landscapes, life drawings and crowd scenes. Nicky also gives life-drawing classes. Call 700 464. Continue on past the village hall and The Pantry to The Arran Art Gallery.

The Arran Art Gallery 700 250 is the baby of the Arran art community having only opened on the 25th of June this year but is already off to a rocketing start with sales way in excess of even the owners expectations! The gallery exhibits an impressive array of famous contemporary artists such as Tommy Fitchet, Nick Giles, Peter Howson, Graham McKeen, Joan Lawson, Tim Pomroy, Martin Oates, Lynne Scobbie, Graham Sharp, Josephine Brokheuzen, Nicky Gill, Lynne Johnston, Richard Butterworth, Patsy Keen and Les McIlwraith. Tommy Fitchet has been heralded as one of the most dynamic, innovative and celebrated artist of the new millennium, his mixed media works draw gasps of pleasure with a truly unique use of light through colour and texture that is so aesthetically pleasing that his work will lift the most reactionary traditionalist. The Arran Art Gallery also boasts a peaceful sculpture garden and a working studio.

Julie Gurr Hand Woven Baskets 07973 508 382 Julie is a master basket weaver and gives workshops on rare occasions at The Rangers Centre and The Burnside Gallery.

Whiting Bay has an 18 hole Golf Course, Village Hall that hosts many different events, concerts, ceilidhs, coffee mornings etc. Check the notice board for coming events. There are a number of good hotels, B&B’s and the Youth Hostel and some great restaurants including The Burlington Hotel, The Argentine Hotel, The Cameronian (whose Chinese Restaurant also offers a take away service) and Bar Eden. The Village shop stocks an excellent selection of locally grown organic fruit and vegetables, cold meat, cheese, an off licence and take away sandwiches etc. Which are particularly handy for picnics at local beauty spots like Glenashdale Falls. Whiting Bay is also well known for the swans that live on the beach, striking paintings of whom by Nick Giles are showing at The Arran Art Galley, Whiting Bay.
Carrying on south is Kildonan.

Sunset over Kildonan
Kildonan is a gorgeous village, which is spread for about a mile along the low road and includes farms & crofts on the high road, at the very south end of the Island. As far as I know there are no art or craft outlets here at the moment but there are a number of well known artists living in Kildonan including Stephen Gill 820 325 and Patsy Keen. The village is well worth a visit, down the hill into lower Kildonan to paint, photograph or just play and picnic on the golden expanse of beach looking out to Pladda (private island) and Ailsa Craig (bird sanctuary and part of The Giants Causeway). The Mull of Kintyre and The Isle of Sanda (Spoon Island - has the most remote pub in the UK) is usually clearly visible to the West and on a clear day you can see over to Belfast Loch, Northern Ireland. There are a couple of B&B’s and two hotels, The Kildonan Hotel and The Bredalbane Hotel both of which serve food throughout the day. The Port Rocks in front of The Breadalbane Hotel are of great interest to geologists and small children who can play on them for hours. The Village Hall in the middle of the village is well used with dances, auctions, jumble sales etc. and Kildonan Fun Week (usually second week in July) is run from here, check the notice board for coming events. As you come to the corner where the tarmac road takes you up Auchenhue (hill) a track road leads off to your left along side the beach to Kildonan Village Stores. Kildonan Village Store is a lifeline to the village stocking a good range of Necessities, groceries, ice cream, off-licence and sandwiches. You can park opposite the store, stock up in the Store for a sausage sizzle or picnic and take off along the beach toward Bennan Head where you will come across Seal Bay which as you can guess is great for seal spotting… actually you can’t miss them as it’s covered in seals, you may mistake them for rocks though as they are the same colour till they move. If you sit very still on the rocks at the waters edge the otters might play around your feet. During June and July the walk along to Bennan is surrounded by fields of wild iris and there are some more fascinating rock formations along here for amateur geologists, there are also fossils if you know what to look for and a really good cave that you can climb up right to the top of Bennan Head.
So back on the tarmac road and up the hill turning left to Kilmory.


Kilmory is home to Roslyn Gibson 870 224. Roslyns’ studio is at Glenside. As You come into the village the first turning on your right sign-posted as the cycle track to Lamlash, then take the first left to Glenside House. Roslyns’ work ranges from small drawings and paintings in watercolour to large acrylics executed on wooden panels and depicting a variety of subjects. She also spins; hand knits and weaves her own designs. To ensure Roslyn is in please phone first on 870 224 Back on the main road and right after the Creamery take the road for the church and keep going to the end where you will find Kilmory Crafts - craft pottery and woodwork. There is a lovely walk to Kilmory beach, which is a glorious expanse of golden sand and generally quite quiet. Further on round the island is Lagg with The Lagg Hotel and The Wishing Well Restaurant both of whom have excellent reputations. Lagg Hotel also has a lovely garden and lay on a splendid high tea.

Kings Caves
Blackwaterfoot is the next village you will come to. Again a fantastic beach and lovely Tearoom at the Golf Course. You can walk to The Kings Caves from the Golf Tearoom. These breathtaking caves are steeped in ledged including allegedly being the home of the giant Fingal and being the cave King Robert The Bruce hid in and watched a spider, “Try, try again.” Blackwaterfoot is the largest village on this side of the Island with The Kinloch Hotel among others offering accommodation, food and refreshments. Blackwaterfoot is home to Robert Green who offers art tuition 860 260 both here and at The Burnside Gallery in Brodick. Phone to book. Susie Thompson 860 463 has her porcelain workshop in Shiskine which is on the String Road which runs across the Island back to Brodick. If you carry on down The String you will come to The Balmichael Visitor Centre on your left as you leave Shiskine.

The Balmichael Visitor Centre

The Balmichael Visitor Centre 860 526 has plenty for art and action lovers. For art & craft lovers there are Island Treasure – jewellery & gifts, Stable Antiques – Antiques & Curios, Trareoch Crafts– Unusual Gifts & Crafts, Arran Ceramics – Working Studio, Gallery & Paint Your Own, The Lemon Tree – Unique gifts & wooden toys. For Action lovers there are Clay pigeon shooting, archery, trampolines, driving range, quad bikes, helicopter tours, Play Park & café/coffee shop. The String Road leads back to Brodick so for the purposes of the tour turn right out of The Balmichael Centre and back to the coast road heading north towards Machrie.

Some of many Standing Stones on Machrie Moor
Machrie Moor is famous for it’s Standing Stones, which have been a favourite subject for hundreds of artists. Keep your eyes peeled for the sign on your right hand side of the road. It’s an easy walk crossing a few styles up to the stones and they really are breath taking. Further along in Machrie village you will see another sign on your right hand side for The Old Byre Showroom follow the track up to see leather, sheepskin and knitted goods.


Then back to the coast road and north again to Pirnmill, which has the magnificent Lighthouse Café Restaurant serving home baking, home made snacks and meals including evening meals. The Lighthouse Café/Restaurant 850 240 is so popular it’s worth phoning to book evening meals during the summer. As Pirnmill is on the North West coast of the island it gets the evening sun making the beach a great place to paint glorious sunsets over The Mull of Kintyre or have a beach party.

Twelve Apostles at Catacol
Catacol is the next village up on the north coast of the island. The row of cottages known as The Twelve Apostles are a popular subject for paintings and photographs. Catacol Bay Hotel offers good pub grub, their garden has great views and has a midge machine so a midge free pint! A great place to paint and whale watch.

Lochranza Castle
Lochranza is just along the road from Catacol. Lochranza is famous for Lochranza Castle (which started out as a Viking Fort) and deer spotting. Do not approach the deer. Although they wander through the village at will they are wild and the stags can be quite aggressive. The Lochranza Hotel serves food all day and there is a Coffee & Snack Bar at the Ferry Slip Way where you can get the ferry to Clonaig. On your left as you leave the village is a track that will take you up to The Whins Craftworkshop 830 650 10am-6pm at North Newton who make hand painted stone men and animals, wooden boxes, candles and demonstrations of hand crafts. Please leave your car at the car park and walk up. If you take the footpath back in the opposite direction you will come to Ossians Cave and Huttons Unconformity (a rock famous for changing the way we thought the world was made). Only attempt this walk if wearing stout boots, as it can be very boggy. Turning back onto the main road heading east The Arran Distillery is on your right, open for tours, gift shop and café/restaurant. Lochranza Village Hall has a number of events through the year and Lochranza Campsite offer a well-stocked General Store through the summer. Lochranza also has a Youth Hostel. Then head for Sannox.

Glen Sannox
Glen Sannox
Sannox has some beautiful walks, pony trekking and a great beach. Glen Sannox is another popular landscape subject. Sannox Bay Hotel has a lovely beer garden looking over the sea (popular for whale watching) that gets the evening sun. Their food is excellent and very good value for money with great views from the restaurant.

Longship in Corrie Harbour.
Corrie is home to world famous sculptor and carver Marvin Elliot whose sculptures and carvings are commissioned far and wide. A selection of Marvins’ work is on display at Corrie Village Shop 810 225, they also have a range of various arts and crafts as well as quality foods. Next to the Corrie Village Shop is Three Dimensions selling more art, crafts and jewellery and next again is Corrie Craft & Antiques. Corrie Hotel offers accommodation, a selection of bar meals and has a lovely beer garden popular for otter, dolphin, seal and whale watching. Corrie Golf Club Tearoom offers home baking, snacks and meals last orders 5.50pm. There is a strong community of local artists including Bill and Bob Lees and John and Jan Ingles ask at Corrie Village Shop for more information.

As you travel into Corrie from Sannox The Corrie Hotel, Village Shop etc. are all on your right. If you look left next to or in the harbour, you should see The Viking Longship, which was built by the village, the figure head was carved by Marvin Elliot, as was the stone seal that sits on a rock in the bay opposite The Village Shop. Corrie Village Hall has events going on all year from live bands, ceilidhs and Up-Hellia to Film Club every second Sunday in the month and art exhibitions. Ask at the Village Shop or Corrie Hotel for up to date information. Corrie Capers is a week of fun and celebration, which runs over the second week in August ending in a Viking invasion, Highland Games and Up-Hellia. It’s a great week with events for every age and interest. If you carry on along the main road it will bring you back to Brodick.
Stag from Corrie Capers

This is a first draft of The Arran Art Trail. I’m sure I’ve missed important bits out so please let me know what’s missing or if you would like other information included. There will be more information about Corrie Capers etc. nearer these events.

Posted on Sunny at 19:16

Shiskine Sheepstakes

Today 9th July is Shiskine Sports Day featuring the race known internationally as The Shiskine Valley Sheepstakes. This year the racing ewes will have on their new hand made silk waistcoats each a different colour with an embroidered number on each side so you can watch your favorite rush to the winning trough. The proceeds of this event will go to help preserve the old Clachan Church. You will be able to place your bets on your favorite sheep and also you will get the chance to own a racing sheep for the duration of the race. Each sheep will be auctioned by local celebrity Alan Johnston.
You are advised to get syndicates orginised early, as when Alan gets underway you may not get a chance.
Posted on Sunny at 11:02

The Arran Guide to This Weeks Events Friday 8th July-Saturday 16th July

The Arran Guide to This Weeks Events! For a more ideas of what to do check out yesterday's blog An Artists Guide to Arran, it also covers non Art things to do. Many Events carry a charge and all under 18's should be accompanied by an adult.


Holy Isle Ferry, Lamlash Pier, Daily Service on the hour from 10am-5pm. Evening Cruises 7pm, to book call 600 349 or 07932 786524
Flying Fever Paragliding 820 292
The Arran Art Store, Lamlash 10.30am-5.30pm 600 627 - Lots to do when it's raining or sunny!

Friday 8th July

Fun Fair – Boathouse Green, Brodick noon-9pm
A Little Disco – Aldersyde Hotel, Lamlash
Live Music from Johnny Hill Rhythm & Blues, Cameronia, Whiting Bay 9.30pm
Over 21’s Disco, Ormidale Hotel, Brodick 10pm

Saturday 9th July

5yrs+ Gymnastics, Auchrannie Games Hall, Brodick 10am
Shiskine Valley Sports Day and Sheepstakes, Shiskine Noon.
Corrie Open Golf, Corrie Golf Club, Corrie. Ring 810 606
Arran Yatch Club, Pladda Cup, Kildonan 1pm
Over 21’s Disco, Ormidale Hotel, Brodick 10pm
Nick Harper, Live Music, Corrie Hall, Corrie. 8pm Tickets for sale at Book & Card Centre Brodick, Corrie Shop or ring 830 202
Dignity, Live Music, Aldersyde Hotel, Lamlash
Deep Joy, Live Music, Cameronia, Whiting Bay 9.30pm

Sunday 10th July

Corrie Golf Open, Corrie Golf Club. Ring 810 606
Marie Curie Afternoon Tea In The Garden, Claveron, Lamlash 1-5pm
Charity Texas Scramble, Shiskine Golf Club.860 226
Horsehoeing Demonstration, Heritage Museum, Brodick 1.30pm
BBQ, Drift Inn, Lamlash 1.30 weather permitting
Kildonan Fun Week Guided Nature Walk, meet Village Hall 2pm
PS Waverley Cruise to Skipness Castle and Loch Fyne. Lochranza Pier 3.40pm 0845 130 4647 to book
Kildonan Fun Week Songs of Praise, Kildonan Village Hall 7.30pm
Corrie Film Club, Corrie Hall, Corrie 8pm
Open Folk Session, Ormidale, Brodick. 9.30pm
The Tumblin’ Wilkies Country Music, Cameronia, Whiting Bay 9.30pm

Monday 11th July

Childrens Art & Craft Course, Burnside Gallery and Shiskine Hall
Ring 860 260 for details
Adults Art Classes, Burnside Gallery, Ring 303 888
Guided Forestry Walk, North Sannox, meet Car Park 10am-1pm
Coffee Morning, Whiting Bay & Kildonan Church 10.30am
Kildonan Fun Week Junior Beech Hunt, Village Hall 2pm £1
Kildonan Fun Week Family Bingo, Kildonan Village Hall 8pm
Camy Quiz, Cameronia, Whiting Bay 9.30pm
Earth Works, Folk Session, Kildonan Hotel, Kildonan 9pm

Tuesday 12th July

Coastal Way Work Party, meet Brodick School 9am
Childrens Art & Craft Course, Burnside Gallery 10.30am-12pm
Kildonan Fun Week SWRI Coffee Morning, Kildonan Hall, Kildonan 10.30am
Corrie Church Fete & BBQ, Corrie Hall, 1pm-3.30pm
Guided Garden Walk, Brodick Castle 2pm
Lamlash Guild Fete, Community Centre, Lamlash 2-4pm
Kildonan Fun Week Road Race, Village Hall 7pm
Kilmory SWRI Annual Sale of Work, Kilmory Hall 8pm
Open Darts Night, Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot 8pm
Rowan Singers 25th Aniversary Concert, Brodick Hall 8pm
Evening with Dr Mtukombali, Arran Open Gate Church ring 700 424 or 600 663 to book.
Summer Play, Whiting Bay Hall 7.30 for 8pm
Arran-B Unplugged, Bar Eden 9pm
Pop Quiz, Ormidale Hotel, Brodick 10pm

Wednesday 13th July

Cross Island Walk Shiskine-Brodick, meet Auchrannie Spa, Brodick 9.30am
Spin Off Workshop, Rangers Centre, Brodick Castle Morning session 10.30-12.30am afternoon session 1.30-3.30pm ring 600 975 or 700 203 to book or enquire.
Coffee Morning, Lamlash Church Hall, Lamlash 10.30am-noon
PS Waverley Cruise to Carrick Castle, Brodick Pier 11.30am
Life Drawing Workshop, Rangers Centre, Brodick Castle 7-9pm
Open Folk Session, Pier Head Tavern, Lamlash 9pm
Karaoke, Ormidale Hotel, Brodick 9.30pm

Thursday 14th July

Village Market, Whiting Bay 10am-2.30pm
Coffee Morning, St Molios, Shiskine 10.30am-noon
Kildonan Fun Week Pre-School Childrens Activities, Kildonan Village Hall 11am-1pm
Kildonan Fun Week Primary age Activities, Kildonan Village Hall 2pm-4pm
PS Waverley Cruise To Holy Isle and Pladda, Brodick Pier 3pm
Kildonan Fun Week Car Treasure Hunt, Kildonan Village Hall 7pm
Pub Quiz, Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot 9pm
Open Folk Session, Bar Eden, Whiting Bay 9pm
General Knowledge Quiz, Ormidale Hotel, Brodick 10pm

Friday 15th July

Guided Walk, Kings Caves, meet Kings Caves Car Park between Blackwaterfoot and Machrie 10am-1pm
Kildonan Fun Week Junior Rounders, Craigend Field 2pm
Kildonan Fun Week Junior Disco & BBQ, Kildonan Village Hall 6.30pm-8.30pm
Quiz Night, Whiting Bay Golf Club, Whiting Bay 9.30pm
Over 21’s Disco, Ormidale Hotel, Brodick 10pm

Saturday 16th July

Lamlash Gala Week Heather Queen Parade & Grand Fete with it’s A Knockout 1.15pm
Kildonan Fun Week Sports Day/Car Boot Sale, Craigend Field 2pm
Lochranza Boat Race, Lochranza 2.15pm
Boat Race Prize Giving & Disco, Catacol Bay Hotel 8pm
Jazz Café, Whiting Bay Hall, Whiting Bay 8pm
Kildonan Fun Week Grand Finale Dance, Kildonan Village Hall 9.30pm

Posted on Sunny at 15:53

Blood Sucking Monsters

Any new advice on the best way to remove ticks? I have become a tick magnet! Normally I don't suffer from the little monsters but this year for some reason I'm having to do a tick check every day. Got seven on Sunday and two more yesterday. I was even swimming in the sea yesterday & my friend swam up & pulled one out of my shoulder. I've had a plethora of advice, "Rub alcahol on it & it will drop off." From The Forestry Ranger, who should know but this didn't work, unless they like gin which was all I had left, "Soak in salt water." From my Mum, but got one stuck in me in the sea, "Burn it off." Nope, as have been told that this makes them inject saliva hence better chance of getting Limes Disease, plus I'm not putting anything that hot, that close to my silky skin. The only one I haven't tried yet was from one of the NTS Rangers who said, "Cover it in cream, any cream, like moistureiser or vaseline, it will have to come up for air some time the you get it!" So will keep you posted on that one. In the meand time any other options would be welcome.

The other thing I wondered about was Limes Disease. I phoned the hospital because my mum told me to, to find out the best way to get them off me and the nurse said I had to go in to hospital , they would remove them and i had to get a course of antibiotics immediately because ticks carry Limes Disease. I did ask if I could just remove them myself and hope for the best as I was supposed to be going out in about half an hour but she was pretty adimant. When I got there Dr Grassie said I shoudn't have come in but just pulled them off myself and there wasn't any proof that early antibiotics worked, I probably hadn't got it as the ticks were small and fairly fresh and just to come back if I started getting symptoms. Anyone heard anything more conclusive either way?
Posted on Sunny at 16:18

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