What a nightmare this turned out to be!
For the second consecutive day the rain came down, down, down. I was still a bit damp from yesterday's exploring. First effort to find this circle failed but I was determined to give it one more go before it was time to leave this lovely (from the birts I could see through the rain and mist) island.
Look out for the sign on the opposite side of the road for Cnod Na Dial forestry. You can easily park opposite this sign in a large graveled area. From this parking area a track goes off into the trees and a wooden sign offers you a couple of different route options. Ignore all of these - they don't go to the circle.
This is what you need to do: Either-
Walk back to the road, turn right and walk about 50m and crash your way through the chest high ferns and undergrowth and hope you can see the tops of the stones -or-
From the parking area crash your way through the head high ferns and undergrowth aiming for an angle between the parking space and the road and hope you can see the tops of the stones.
How can a stone circle so close to the road be so difficult to find? It is not visible from either the road or the parking are even though it is only a matter of yards away.
On the way to the circle I went via the parking are - big mistake. The ferns were mega high (I noticed several large prostrate stones covered in moss. For a moment I thought the circle had been destroyed!) and the way was hard going. As the ground dropped down I walked into a bog and sank shin deep in blackish water. This whole area was pretty much under water. Too late now. I carried on. Just as I was on the verge of giving up I spotted the top of a large boulder-type stone - success!
The circle is on a low ridge so at least it was out of the water - other than the torrential rain falling. The circle is totally grown over and clearly has not been visited or looked after in a very long time. I counted 6 stones of various sizes, all boulder-type stones. The mist and rain certainly increased the atmosphere but tide and ferry time tables wait for no man (or woman for that matter).
There was no way I was going back the way I came so I headed straight for the road (which you can't see due to the undergrowth and trees). I battled my way through and although very wet underfoot was nowhere near as bad as the way I had come. By the time I got back to the car I did a little dance and splashed about in the puddles and rain (much to the amusement of the children and the disbelief of Karen) I couldn't be any wetter.
Whilst waiting for the ferry I had the good fortune to watch two otters on the beach. One in the water and the other running around the rocks. The ignored me. Apparently there are loads of otters on Arran (as well as red squirrels - which I didn't see) and they are a common sight all around the island.
Arran is a lovely place to visit and my stay was all too short. Most of the sites I visited were short distances from the road but most had a sense of wilderness about them. Pretty much left to look after themselves. Normally this wouldn't be such a bad thing but given the appalling weather it made most visits very wet and muddy.
I will definitely visit Arran again. There is so much to see, I barely scratched the surface. Hopefully the next time I come I may see the sun - and a red squirrel (apparently they don't like the rain either!)
Posted by CARL
28th July 2015ce