Arran

Christopher Swan-Arran-Scotland-8.jpg

I’ve been to Arran twice before. Both times were on the bike and both times were painful! The first time was in the pouring rain as part of the 5 Ferries Challenge and the second time was a loop all round the island. Killer. 

This time was a much more leisurely affair, spending 6 nights in pretty much wall to wall sunshine on this incredible island. There is so much to see here, with such a variety of different landscapes - rocky coastlines, jagged mountains, pointy islands and farmland. We camped at Lochranza and although convenient (toilets, showers, golf etc) the snoring from other folk at night drove me round the bend. Definitely reminded me why I prefer wild camping! We had planned to climb a lot but it was just too hot, however we managed a few walks up Glen Rosa and North Glen Sannox and scoped out some spots I’ll return to in autumn. I got a few images I’d planned - the standing stones at Machrie Moor and the boulders at Corrie but I feel like there is much to experience here. It’s so close as well, only an hours drive and then a CalMac ferry - really must come back more often. 

Highlights of the trip included - the standing stones at Machrie Moor, jumping into the crystal clear pool in Glen Rosa on a scorching day, an amazing sunset at Pirnmill, sauna and lunch at Auchrannie (you can tell I was with Jo this time!), swimming in the sea and my incredible chicken tikka kebabs which were pretty much the envy of the whole campsite. 

I like Arran now.

The East Neuk of Fife

I spent last weekend in Fife. I’d never been to the East Neuk before. For some reason this part of the country didn't really appeal to me that much - no mountains or lochs, no dramatic landscapes. Fife seemed to be an area you drive through on the way to more interesting places. 

I was totally wrong. 

We had a great weekend in St Monans, staying in a fantastic house on the quayside looking out across the Forth to the Bass Rock and North Berwick. The weather definitely helped and we made the most of the sun by visiting Pittenweem, Crail, St Andrews, Anstruther, Cellardyke and Elie. I loved the harbours, the narrow winding streets, the crow-stepped gables and red pantile roofs. It felt like being abroad in some ways, like visiting Holland or Belgium. We were treated to some amazing sunsets and spent a very cold dawn photographing the zigzag pier at St Monans. 

It really is a beautiful part of the country - so much to see. I’ll definitely return to the Fife.