We had a lovely holiday on the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. It's probably the most accessible of the Scottish Islands, just a few hours by public transport from Edinburgh and the trains and ferries are timetabled nicely together. Once you get there, there's a regular bus service that takes you all round the island. (I definitely recommend buying a day saver bus ticket and spending the day on the bus, getting off where-ever looks interesting!). Arran is often described as Scotland in miniature and it really is! There are mountains, lowlands, beautiful beaches, wonderful waterfalls, red deer, seals, a wonderful selection of birds, golf courses with good provision for nature, a castle with beautiful gardens and a nature reserve. The photo below shows Goatfell the highest mountain on Arran, taken from the beach at Brodick.
We stayed in Brodick, at the Glenarty, a small Bed and Breakfast Hotel with excellent environmental credentials and beautifully decorated (though small) rooms with views across to Goatfell.
The Arran Brewery, near to Brodick Castle, brews one of my favourite beers (Arran Blonde) and also has a lovely beer garden, overlooking a field where spotted flycatchers spend their days catching flies (hadn't seen this bird for years until our recent day trip to Biggar and here they were again in Arran!). We also saw the flycatchers nest in a hole in a wall and also saw house martins' nests under the eaves of the brewery building. (Normally I would put hyperlinks here to the appropriate pages for martins and flycatchers in the RSPB website, but currently if I try to access the RSPB site my computer crashes! Sorry about that!)
The Glenashdale waterfall near Whiting Bay is stunning and I'll blog about that tomorrow!