A brief lull ….

 'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

It’s the morning of Wednesday 28th December and I’ve just seen my old college mate Mervin off.  He’s been staying with us for the last couple of nights and is now driving up to visit his mum and sister who live on the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde.  He drove up from his home down south on Boxing Day and the plan was to go for a walk over on the Isle of Arran on the 27th (yesterday).  That said though, it was very much depending on the weather, more so than normal as we’ve had another succession of gales blowing in from the south west recently that have been disrupting the local ferry services somewhat.  It was certainly pretty windy all through Christmas Day and Boxing Day but the forecasts seemed to agree that there would be a short lull in proceedings during the early hours of 27th before another band of rain and wind arrived from the south in the afternoon.

It wasn’t great, but better than nothing and despite having driven around 300 miles the day before, Merv agreed that it would make sense to catch the early, 7 o’clock ferry to Brodick.  We only live a short distance from the ferry terminal at Ardrossan but even so this still meant leaving the house by about quarter past six in the morning!  The one advantage though of this early ferry (as I’ve no doubt said before) is that you can get a good breakfast on board during the 55 minute long crossing and arrive fuelled and ready to go.  I must admit though that I was a little surprised to find it still completely dark as we walked off the boat in Brodick ….don’t ask me why …I just never thought about it.  The ferry was quiet although we did meet one other chap who like us was heading for a walk …in his case, up Goat Fell.

 'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

At this time of year, especially on days where there is heavy cloud, the light is very poor and makes seeing where I’m going even more difficult than normal …and even slower more to the point.  For this reason I knew I’d not have enough daylight to get to the top of one of the hills and back and so we decided to walk up Glen Rosa between the mountains instead.  Mervin had never been to Arran and so we thought that this would at least give him an idea of the wonderful quality of the mountains here.  When he next makes a visit in the summer we can then go over and get up onto the tops.    The forecast seemed to be about right as the crossing was quite calm and there was little wind.  Even the grey clouds were above the summit of Goat Fell (the highest point on Arran) and it was looking good as we walked towards the start of Glen Rosa in the first light of the day.  Much of the snow that had been on Arranjust the other week had gone but Nita and Merv said they could still see some on the higher slopes and crags.

It was so quiet as we entered Glen Rosa; just the sound of the river rushing along and the odd pheasant and crow calling…..it was so peaceful.   We did meet the local farmer walking back to his farm and he reckoned it was wonderful in the glen that morning with the river flowing fast and clear.  He was right and it was hard to believe that it was just two days after Christmas.

 'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

After a mile or so the glen takes a hard turn to the north and the path crosses a bridge over another very busy stream that flows down the steep hillside in a series of waterfalls ….needless to say really, it was looking and sounding impressive.  Beyond the bridge the path gets narrower but over the years it has been well maintained and makes for good walking ….if for me, a little difficult in the gloomy light.  Care very definitely needed as in places the River Rosa, flowing on our right, cuts a small almost gorge through the rocks and there is a long drop into the torrent if you miss the edge of the path!

We had no real aim for the day and so fairly ambled along taking in the wild scenery of the glen and watching as the cloud slowly descended onto the tops once again.   Luckily Mervin did get to see the wonderful pyramid that is Cir Mhor, standing dramatically at the end of the glen, but then it too, slowly succumbed to the clagging mists.  We reached the head of the glen just before midday after many stops to take photos and eat Christmas cake.  At this point the path splits, one half crossing the River Rosa and climbing up to the Saddle between Cir Mhor and North Goat Fell, the other heading up to join the ridge on the other side of Cir Mhor.  We didn’t really have time to go much further and the river was high enough that to attempt crossing it would almost certainly have ended in wet boots or worse!  Up to our left though Merv could see a large boulder  several hundred feet  up on the hillside and we headed up towards this for a short while in order to get some views over looking the river…..but very quickly the cloud that had been getting lower by the minute, decided to let out some of its rain.   It was only fine, but the kind of stuff that really soaks you.  Mervin made it to the boulder and then it was just a case of walking back out in the increasingly heavy rain.  The light got even more gloomy but there was a strange stillness in the glen ….thankfully the rain might have arrived but the accompanying gales had not.  We made it back to the ferry terminal in Brodick as it was once again getting dark and had time to get out of the wet gear before catching the ferry home.  It wasn’t a classic Arran walk, but very enjoyable all the same and just great to once again get out into the fresh air and the quiet.

 'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

'In Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran'

The gales though, are back with a vengeance this morning and Mervin left here not knowing whether he’d be able to get over to the Isle of Bute …reported disruption on the main ferries again.  There is though a small very short crossing over to Bute that is apparently still running …but this involves a long drive around to get to it.   He just left here armed with food and a large flask of hot tea just in case he gets stuck and has to wait for the winds to abate …it could be a long day for him.

On the subject of brief lulls ……there is not going to be a blog next week I’m afraid …normal service will resume the week after that.  I will however, endeavour to post regular updates on my Face Book page for anyone interested, so why not check that out if you’ve not yet visited it.

I hope you’ve all had a good time over Christmas and have an equally fine few days over the New Year.  Back in 2012!

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One Response to “A brief lull ….”

  1. […] in this section before, I thought I use it again this week as it is linked to the subject of this week’s blog.  Beinn a’ Chliabhain is the rugged hill rising on your left as you walk up Glen Rosa.  […]

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