arran aka a magical place

A few weeks ago a lot changed in my life: I quit my job after two years and started my freelance business – overwhelming to say the least. I knew I needed a break in between and so I booked a holiday in my beloved Scotland. What I was seeking? Silence, peacefulness, me-time, Guinness. On the beautiful Isle of Arran I found all of that… and so much more!

Things still are a bit different on this island with less than 5.000 inhabitants. Here, locals would not hesitate to talk to you and give you secret hiking tips. Here, the deer take a nap on the golf course and no one is bothered but fascinated. Here, you get a private tour through the whisky distillery because you are the only person there – whisky at 10am, thanks Peter! Here, the bus driver would suddenly stop to let people out, because he knows exactly where they live. And yes, this leads to the buses not always being on time, also because a little chit-chat is more important than the timetable. Is someone bothered by that? Not one single person, because “rush” is an unknown concept here – at least that was what I felt. Here, you meet a lovely gentleman on the bus on your first day and end up having lunch with him in Mara – with a bottle of wine and nice talks leading to me writing this little piece right now for his Almanac.

All of this can be captured in one word, the quintessence of this island: kindness.

Every local I met, was so kind. A smile is part of their outfits (and let me tell you, it matches ANY outfit, so you can wear it too ;)).

And then there is of course the stunning, breath-taking scenery! Oh my God – how is it even possible that a small island like Arran hosts so many beautiful natural treasures? It is also called “Scotland in miniature” and truly lives up to this nickname. With a Northern part that looks like the Highlands and a Southern part that is adorned with green fields and long, sandy beaches, this island has something for everyone. And seals, let’s not forget the adorable seals.

One day, I hiked up to a lake that made me cry due to its sheer beauty. I did not meet anyone on the way up, neither at the top, neither on my way down. I was alone and enjoyed the addictive silence and mysterious beauty of the lake surrounded by cloud-covered mountains. On the top of the mountain I could see a stag, which was like the cherry on the cake. I called him Bob for the brief time we shared together at Coire-Fhionn Lochan.

Two stunning waterfalls and a hidden library in the woods were waiting for me on the next day. To get there I walked through forests so magical that I felt like being in the middle of a Lord of the Rings movie (tip from the bus driver, by the way). On my last day I decided to not go up Goat Fell, but to discover Glen Rosa. Again this was a recommendation by locals in Crofters. With whom I had a few drinks. Until they closed up. Yes, it was almost the entire staff. Back to Glen Rosa: there I was in for a magical treat, with the valley itself, the breath-taking mountains surrounding it, adorable Scotland cows and colourful rainbows, rainbows and even more rainbows. Never have I seen that many on one single day. I think it were four altogether. And again, the kind people: I met a local with whom I had the most inspiring chat in my entire life. It lasted around 15 minutes. And still – this gave me so much, such a good feeling about myself and how lucky I was to be at that magical place at that moment of time. He told me the people from Arran said that there was “more” at Glen Rosa. And I think it could not be described in a better way.

To sum this unique experience up in one sentence: To me Arran means finding myself again.

© 2020 by Anna Rothärmel