Scotland   17 - 21 July 1997

Click thumbnail to enlarge
Thurs 17th - Dubai/29°C at 4AM to London/18°C-rain to Whiting Bay/18°C-cloudy.
"Trains and Boats and Planes"
On the long flight I watched Beautician and the Beast and McHale's Navy. When the plane landed there was an announcement to remain seated and people with connections should exit first. Well, the plane was loaded with Arabs who maybe didn't understand English, because everyone got up. So we were stuck at the back waving and yelling to let us through. It was a masssive struggle and when we finally got out we were put into a vehicle and whisked off. Then when we went through customs they wanted Gail to empty her purse. So we ran the long corridor to get to the plane to Glasgow.
Instructions from Heather were to catch a bus to the Paisley railway station. So we went out to the bus stop and figured out which bus to take. After about 30 minutes and several buses but none with the number we wanted; I finally asked a driver and he said hop on. The destination sign and route number on the bus did not agree with the bus stops, but he assured us that it was the right one. It was an interesting ride because people were speaking English to each other and we couldn't understand a word they said because of thick Glaswegian accents. The driver told us to get off which we did, but no train depot in site. In fact, no signs on any of the buildings, as I guess, the Scotts or so tight with their money they don't go into advertising. Had to ask someone who pointed out a building down the street. We went to it and finally found an alley which led to the tracks and the station. Very dirty place with a creepy ticket window and after some discussion we were able to figure out what we needed to do. On the train we sat across from a teenage girl with a stud in her nose and what seemed to be an "attitude" so we didn't strike up a conversation.
Luckily, she and a bunch of other people got off at Androssan and were going to Arran, so we just followed them to the ferry, MV Caledonian Isles. On board I changed my Brunei money to pounds. A first for the bursar, who had never heard of Brunei and had to make several phone calls to a bank figure out how to do it. He had to describe each note before being told what to give me. With cash in my hand I was then able to buy a phone card and make a phone call to Heather. So she and Mary were waiting for us as we pulled into Brodick (video). They pointed out things on the drive to Whiting Bay, including the school where Ian went (video). Set us up in a lovely room in their B&B. Houses don't have numbers but names and their place is Rowallan. The fantastic yard demanded a stroll through it. Besides plants there were ducks, tame robins and a cat named Tara. Plants that grow in New Zealand found because of the mild climate thanks to the Gulf Stream. Brought us over to visit Granny in her lovely unit. Back to their "unit" for supper with a Catalan Vin De Pays dry red out of a cask. Visited until 10:30PM and it was still light outside.

Androssan in background



from our room
July 17 Diary
Fri 18th - Whiting Bay/Clear and high = 18°C.
We walked up the hill behind Rowllan with Heather (video). Met Cicely, a West Indies neighbor. We took her dog, Pepe, with us on a walk to Glenashdale Falls (video). On the way back we went along the shore (video) and checked out shops. Had an interesting bath in water that was the color of tea, which is normal for the peat-based island. video of Mary feeding ducks. After supper outside, Gail and I walked to Granny's to get a video of her digs (video of walker, video of front yard, video of Gail and the shell wall and video of inside). We called Susi to wish her a Happy Birthday. On the way home we stopped in the local store, Bay Stores, and talked to the owner about the stories Ian told me of the place. Found out that a "Free House" pub is one that is not tied to a brewery.

Glenashdale Falls

July 18 Diary
Sat 19th - Whiting Bay/Clear and high = 20°C.
Had breakfast (real bacon) with Lillian Cunningham an English teacher on Oahu. We walked to bus stop with her. Went into the Bay Stores to get supplies (oatcakes) for the tramp and the owner introduced me to his wife. Also ran into Cicily and Pepe. Changed buses at Brodick and got off at Cladach Sawmill. From there we joined many others to do Goatfell. The first section is a very easy stroll through a forest. Gail stopped after about 2 hours getting about 2/3rds of the way up. We had to be back at Cladach by 5PM to meet up with Heather and Mary, so I only carried on for another 30 minutes on my own, failing to get to the summit. So close and yet so far (video). On the way down we were enthralled by a couple wee shrew on the path. Bought a map and a calendar of Arran for Ian. Over to the Auchrannie Country Club for a drink. They then drove across the island via String Road and through "The Saddle" and we saw buzzards inflight. Went through Blackwaterfoot - love that name (video) which was rather bleak and through Sliddery. Stopped at a spot to view porpoises off Pladda Island (video). Checked out the Save The Children home next door to Rowallan and the church below them that is being converted into a house [ed. - Ian told me that the Gills had been living in the church since the 1950's at least). Had a formal supper in the diningroom, followed by a visit in the front room until 11:15PM.



"Its a Long Way to the Top..."

As close as Gail got

As close as I got



Am Binnein

The Saddle

July 19 Diary
Sun 20th - Whiting Bay/Cloudy and high = 21°C.
Had breakfast with Kenneth Miller an English man with a military bearing. He had many interesting stories to tell us about his travels. We shifted from Room 2 to the caravan (and then the people never showed up). Ann and 8 month old Hannah stopped in for a visit (video). Gail and I walked to the shops and I got me a hat and gifts at a souvenir shop. We found a paua shell/sliver ring in an antique store for my mother. Walked along the shore on the way back. Flowering privet by the caravan sent me to bed until 6PM. We went to Kingscross with Heather and Granny to see Craiglea (name of house where family had lived) and from the nearby shore we gazed upon Holy Island. At 8PM we went to the Breadendale Hotel for what turned out to be a DIY meal. It was very bust and I ended up getting drinks from the bar while Heather wrote up our order and gave it to Yvonne (the cook). It was eventually brought to us by her children. We had a German Pierspoint '95 Mosel that was sweet and easy to drink. I had a Lancaster tart for dessert (banana custard).


Holy Isle

Clachland Hills ex Kingscross

Whiting Bay

July 20 Diary
Mon 21st - Whiting Bay/Cloudy 18°C. - Lochwinnoch/Drizzly
Heather helped us find a B&B just outside of Glasgow. Went into Brodick with Heather to buy a computer. Then a few shops including Wooley's Bakery (video). Drove up north to see the Sleeping Warrior (video). Picked up Mary who had been hairdressing. Lunch outdoors. Checked out Cicily and Nick's jewellery operation. Went to see the Whites old house, Craiglea, (video) and Holy Island (video)Woody called to say that he is stuck in Boston for another week, so we will stay with him. Stopped in to say goodbye to Granny and met Sheila (video). Had hamburgers on the ferry. Took train to Lochwinnoch. Nothing there, just dropped off at a vast space with town a wee ways. A bus stopped but he was no help (going the wrong direction). A taxi pulled up but wouldn't take us, as he had a job. So I asked him to call us another one. Nope - each taxi is owner operated. He told me to a pub and call from there. So I tried the public phone box that was the only structure at all, but the operator wouldn't give me a taxi company phone number insisting that I had to tell her the name of the company. Left Gail there and walked into town and found a pub. First place I called no answer, second was an answer phone (he doesn't do Mondays), then coins just fell through and I couldn't make a call until Dave, the bartender, came over spit on the coins rubbed them together and put them in and it worked. No answer. Then it took me five tries of spitting and rubbing with everyone in the pub watching me before I finally got K&K, but she never heard of Garnock Lodge, so I gave her the number of the place and asked her to call and get directions. Then we waited half an hour out in the cold until her husband, Kevin, showed up. Turned out that he was laid off 3 months earlier and now does the taxi. Our plan was to take train to Glasgow in the morning, then a bus to the airport. But then I saw a sign: "Airport 11Km" and check my pocket. I have £12. So I asked Kevin what this trip was costing us (£3.50) and what it would cost to get to the airport (£8). So I told him I would give all my English money if he could pick us up in the morning. The owner overheard and asked Kevin for his cards because the taxi service they use charges £9 and he'll get their business in future. Had a warm welcome by Vivienne and Jim to their award winning B&B. Treated like royalty. Tea in fine china had been waiting our arrival served up in lounge with freshly made gourmet muffins, cookies etc... There was also a German couple staying the night. We pretty much kept to our room and took it easy.

July 21 Diary
All Albums 1997 Trip Albums MalleyGram