Saturday Saunter: Cumbrae, ferries and hay fever

Good morning,

Saturday again. As this is posted, I will probably be out and about somewhere. I am in the midst of a long weekend and tomorrow I will be going to Edinburgh for the last game of the season as Hibs play Aberdeen. It is Tuesday night as I start this post and as of yet, I don’t have any plans for the weekend beyond the football.

Last Sunday involved a walk around the island of Cumbrae. It was a beautiful sunny day and I ended up very red as a consequence. The walk was brilliant, relaxing and varied. Every few hundred yards the view changed, from Largs up the Clyde to Bute, Arran, Little Cumbrae and back to Largs again. My feet were lowpin’ by the end, mind. Walking is wonderful for clearing the mind and despite Cumbrae being ten minutes from the Scottish mainland, it could have been a lot further. There was only the occasional car for most of the route. More often we were passed by cyclists and even walkers, which is a novelty for a person who walks as fast as I do. We were also passed by quite a few yachts and even paddleboards. The eastern side of Cumbrae is home to the National Watersports Centre, funded by sportscotland, and it operates various courses to teach folk how to sail. I’m told they’re great. The folk on the water certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. The land was just fine for me, though.

Going on a ferry feels like going on holiday, regardless of the distance. The trip down to Cumbrae gave me notions to go on other ferries in the west, not least the run across to Rothesay from Wemyss Bay. I like Bute and the view to Mount Stuart from Cumbrae was very tempting. I’m not bothered about going into Mount Stuart again – I’m not a big stately home kind of guy – though the grounds are gorgeous and I would like to explore more of the island while I’m at it. A turn across to Arran would be good too as I would finally like to get to Lochranza Castle, maybe even go around the island as so far I haven’t ventured beyond Brodick. This might be a quest for my football-less Saturdays in the coming weeks.

Wednesday night now and I’m starting again with the aid of caramel digestive biscuits. It’s been quite warm here the last couple of days and I’ve been working so enjoying the sunshine hasn’t been possible. That’s probably fine since my sunburn has cooled, I have epic hay fever and I don’t massively like the sun anyway. The hay fever hits this time of year and it is grass and tree pollen this weather. All the fresh cut grass and seeds, they just make my eyes and nose go. This has been a runny nose day, which is especially mortifying in a public-facing job. Plus the heat which as a pale east coast person is making me generally a hot, sticky mess. To be fair I’m that in most weathers, except less hot.

I am considering a trip to Dumfries this weekend. I’ve only ever done the bus down there once and it broke down, somewhere on the outskirts of Dumfries. I remember standing by the side of the road waiting for the replacement bus to rock up. The journey down was quite pleasant, only stopping at Hamilton, Lesmahagow and Moffat, as memory serves. Lesmahagow is a splendid name for a town. Also on that road is the Forest of Ae, which has the shortest place name in the country. Come to think of it, I may try and visit Ecclefechan, the birthplace of Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle. Ecclefechan is an interesting name and ‘eccle’ is ecclesiastical, meaning religious, and ‘fechan’ suggests it may have been the place of the church of Fechan. Wikipedia suggests that may be a good assumption though it may just be the place of the small church in Brythonic. More than likely it would be a trip to Dumfries and a wander to explore that town. I don’t know it very well, which I can’t say about a lot of places in Scotland anymore.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme body image, a very topical subject. Tonight I read that the National Museum of Scotland has a new exhibition opening next week called Body Beautiful discussing bringing diversity into fashion, with all sorts of bodies represented. It opens on Thursday 23rd May and it’s free. I am overdue a trip to NMS so I will try and have a look in the next few weeks.

Sticking with the mental health theme, this morning I saw a clip on Twitter which resonated with me. It included, of all people, Prince William, the Earl of Strathearn as he is known in Scotland, talking with some insight about being bereaved at a young age and how people should talk about their pain and grief. I am no fan of the Royals so it’s unusual for me to praise their work. All power to Prince William for speaking so openly and honestly about what is a horrifically difficult thing to talk about. Here’s the link to the Tweet, which is taken from a BBC documentary to be broadcast tomorrow.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today. Tomorrow’s post is back to Loose Ends, which is by water this time. Wednesday’s Streets of Glasgow is in the city and there is a post on Thursday, which is a walk in Edinburgh. Have a read at this week’s posts, particularly Streets of Glasgow on Sinclair Drive. Have a very nice weekend, whatever you end up doing.

Thanks for reading. As a bit of blog admin, for each of my series I will now be putting a link to the series page at the bottom of every post to keep up the continuity and link to other posts. In that spirit, other Saturday Saunter posts can be found on the Saturday Saunter page.


12 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Cumbrae, ferries and hay fever

  1. Alli Templeton

    Great post again, Kev. Lovely coastal pictures of Cumbrae, and it’s good to know the yachts were out and people were enjoying sailing – we’re off for another lesson for Maddie (daughter) tomorrow. I bet she’d love to sail at Cumbrae though! It looks a lovely place for a saunter. I hope you get to Dumfries. And strangely, I feel like a caramel digestive biscuit now… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Caramel digestives help with most things, I find! I had a particularly bad day at work yesterday, and all I could think about was getting home to a chocolate bar I had stashed away. I’ve been to Thomas Carlyle’s house in London, and I think I actually really liked it (it was an early post, so quite a while ago now). I’d be interested if you end up going to his birthplace to see how it compares!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear that! We all need those moments of light on dark days and chocolate solves a lot of ills.

      Hopefully I will get to Thomas Carlyle’s birthplace soon. Jane Welsh Carlyle came from Haddington, near where I grew up.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Digest: May 2019 – Walking Talking

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