Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A few days rest

Here we are staying at the Auchrannie Hotel on the Isle of Arran because I got an offer I could just not refuse!  It arrived in my email just as Mom was transferred to rehab and it looked like she might actually be sent home sooner rather than later.  I  love visiting here, but have only done day trips before.

We arrived Sunday - the day the clocks went back so, in theory, we got an extra hour's sleep. Since I usually wake up at 6 (certainly not on purpose), I got up at 5am!  In the 3 hours before we intended to leave for the Ardrossan Ferry I managed to eat breakfast, watch the American evening news (NBC), paint my toes (after all it is a leisure spa!), do Mom's laundry, clean the downstairs bathroom and tidy the living room. I was on a roll!  Then I woke Alan up......

Although dogs are welcome at the Auchrannie, we agreed we didn't need extra responsibility and left Bailey with her grandparents. That will be fun for her and I think they enjoy her company too.

We knew the weather might not cooperate, but there are pools, gyms and all things you would expect at a leisure spa so who cared if it rained?  Famous last words...... It poured when we arrived and we had no car. So we sat in luxury by the wood fire waiting for our room to be ready, gearing up for the wet walk to Brodick. (oh, the reason there are plural pools, etc, is because there are 2 hotels - the house hotel and the newer spa. We were advised to stay in the house, for a nicer atmosphere. It is nice and our room has a view of Goatfell! The highest peak on Arran.)

We managed to get to Brodick in light rain and stopped at a pub for a beer - I had a Guinness. It is the last weekend of tourist season, and since this was Sunday, you could say the season is really over. No folks around except locals. Of course, no sensible people would go for a walk in teeming rain, we were soaked when we got back to the hotel! 
(Oh, I should mention that light rain turned into heavy, heavy rain. Even our socks were soaked by the time we got back to the hotel!)

Went to the Cruize bar for dinner. Not memorable, but affordable and here!  We ended up eating all our meals there.  The funny thing is - with this being a 4 star hotel, we both brought clothes to "dress for dinner".  Well, this is as casual a place as  I have ever seen, comparable to the hotels in the Lake District.  Most folks just wear jeans or hiking trousers, so we really didn't need to pack those extra clothes. We will definitely be back and definitely not wast the space next time!

So often when Alan and I stay in a hotel, I spend a few hours in the  bathroom when I wake up!  It is the only place I can go to read or whatever and not disturb him. Must be awful married to a morning person when you are not so inclined!  But this morning he was awake and we got such  an early start we kept surprising ourselves with how much we did - even before lunch.

First was breakfast at Cruize bar all you can eat buffet, great way to start the day. Then off to Arran cheese factory, Arran Aromatics,  Arran Brewery and Brodick Castle.  On our long walk, Alan saw his first red squirrel!  We also saw pheasants, herons, a bird of prey and seals. Not bad!
                                                                    View as we walked from our hotel to the other hotel and breakfast!

                                                                               This is the newer hotel, we were advised this is where most families stay and it is noisy!  But this is also where the Cruize Bar is and where we ate every meal.  Both hotels are close to each other so it was easy to stay at one and eat at the other.  And I really did prefer staying in the older building with the fireplaces and comfortable seating areas.

Mom came with us one year when we drove around the island in a day, long day but fun! We visited Brodick Castle and all the other things tourists do, but the main memory she took away with her - the number of palm trees on the island:

These are in front of the spa hotel.

Lovely Autumn scene on our walk to Brodick Castle

Nice setting for a sawmill!

There's the ferry waiting to take folks back to the mainland!

just a few of the flowers still hanging in there before the chill really hits!

Seals enjoying the sunshine.  Of course, Alan has better pictures where you can see their whiskers, but my lens is not that powerful.  He also has wonderful pictures of red squirrels.   The next two pictures are his!

                                                                                I come to Arran often for work and this is one of my favorite book/gift shops.  I always find something unique and perfect for someone, even if I am not looking for anything in particular!

Alan and I took an evening, moonlit stroll to Brodick and the beach after dinner.  The lights shining on the mainland are in Ayr.  Not so far from home, but a world away!

Brodick Castle at night

Another of my favorite places - the cheese shop!

Taken from the ferry on the way home....from being soaked on the first day, to having the perfect day and then this....a good day to leave!

"Beauty's of a fading nature
Has a season and is gone!"
Robert Burns

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