I`ve wanted to go to Holy Island for as long as I can remember.As it was a Sunday and the first ferry of the morning was not until 9:45am getting into Brodick around 10:40 the Arran ridge seemed like too much of a rush,especially as we were still feeling the effects of our long Galloway day.
By mutual consent the ridge was off the menu ,so an easier excursion was agreed to bag the summit of Mullach Mor the highest point on Holy Island, and a trig, then a wander back, on Arran, along the coastline ridge over Dun Fionn,also a trig,direct to the ferry.It was still a fair distance.
After seeing the pictures of Bute Alex was determined not to miss out this time. Thank God I thought,I wouldn't be tempted to take the bike over any hills this week.
Parked at Ardrossan.Paid our £2 parking fee in the terminal car park and jumped aboard.Soon struck up a conversation with a guy whose breakfast consisted of a few thick slices of spam washed down by a discreet full bottle of buckfast tonic wine.We were impressed.Anyone that munches raw spam for breakfast is hard core.
Docking we now had 15 minutes to catch the other ferry across to Holy Island.Not a lot of time.First off down the gangplank We raced for the bus then spent the rest of that time going nowhere as it slowly filled up with folk with dogs,rucksacks and golf clubs till it was crammed to bursting point with us jammed in right at the back.
By the time we reached Lamlash we had time on our hands as we watched our ferry disappear.No matter.Lamlash is a pleasant place to pass 30 minutes til the next one.
It was soon our turn.Holy Island has a long and varied history.Various Saints, Vikings,Dukes of Hamilton and now Buddhist's have all left their mark on this steep sided island.After being on the market at £1 million and remaining unsold it was eventually offered to the Buddhist centre of Samye Ling Monastery in Dumfrieshire at a reduced price.
After managing to raise the cash the Abbot of the Samye Ling founded the Holy Isle project which continues to this day.Fortunately they allow visitors on the island which is where we come in.
After wandering with the ferry group up the beach we were met by a guy and had a brief greeting and explanation of the rules and goals of the island surrounded by a gleaming ring of Stupa`s.We were then wished good luck and we could explore on our own.
The path up Mullach Mor was straightforward and easy,views opening up across to the Alisa Craig.
Which seemed close and the backdrop of Arran`s mountains.
At the top it turns into a fairly narrow ridge but still easy hands in pockets stuff.
Wouldn't like to roll down the eastern side though.
On the descent we bagged the square lighthouse,a type rare in Scotland,then skirted the womens retreat where some undertake a vow of silence for a year.That must be hard.No fights though!The path back was very attractive,great scenery and wildlife.
Painted boulders at regular intervals of inspirational Buddhist figures.This I think is Green Tara, similar to a mother nature figure.
Also Saanen goats, Soay sheep and Eriskay ponies wander around.
I`m not religious,the beauty of the natural world has always been enough for me,but this area felt a bit special.
Symbols and paintings added a dash of the exotic to the landscape.
We managed to swap with a couple we`d met earlier on the hill (thank you) allowing us to get the early ferry back so we could walk from Lamlash over the Clauchlands ridge to Brodick.Even on this smaller walk time is ruled by the ferry timetable and we did not want to miss the last one back.
Back in Lamlash,we marched along the tarmac past a ribbon of posh houses until Clauchlands point then up the grassy incline gaining height towards Dun Fionn. A smashing viewpoint.Another ancient hill fort and more importantly a trig for Alex.
It was still an enjoyable 3 kilometre walk back to Brodick from here but the views kept us going past farms and isolated cottages,tree hung lanes filled with honeysuckle, bluebells ,wild garlic and yellow poppies.
You can see the route back from here.Brodick is in the dip where the sea turns inland.
Back in Brodick we hit the chip shop.£2.60 for a single hamburger(no roll) or £1.60 for a buttered roll and hamburger.Stunned into greed by this logic Alex bought two burgers and buns.I munched all my single meat and bun but the seagulls enjoyed Alex`s second roll and burger with noisy flapping gusto.
A perfect end was getting the last ferry back with the evening sunlight spilling like molten gold over the decks, the contented bank holiday travellers, and the dazzling waters of the Firth of Clyde.
Best day of the year so far.So many great memories of past camping trips here in Glen Rosa with various clubs and mad youthful exploits in the mountains and bars.
When the suns shines here this truly is heaven on earth.
Great day. Great company.