Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

The overnight flight from Chicago to Glasgow lands mid-morning in an almost inevitable drizzle. My low fat airline meal selections and staying fully hydrated with bottled water were by-the-book prescriptions to avoid jet lag. But a temperamental jet hydraulic system acting up over the Atlantic quickly persuaded me to change my pre-dinner drink order from mineral water to scotch on the rocks and then red wine with dinner.

Our destination was the tiny Isle of Arran, off Scotland’s west coast. Damp and chilled, we drove our rental car to the Ardrossan ferry, an exciting one hour drive. Driving on the reverse side of the road from what one is accustomed to — even if not jet-lagged and slightly hung over — can be a real thrill. Heh.

The big Caledonian MacBrayne ferry would deliver us to Arran’s main village, Brodick, in just under an hour. It was an island of tranquility on the Firth of Clyde,which is a bay between Arran and the mainland. We staggered up several steep, narrow flights of steps and broke out at the main level into a convivial buzz of local folks making the crossing with their kids and the enormously comforting presence of their big, hairy, friendly dogs.

We dropped our rain jackets and backpacks onto a table in the cafeteria, and got into the lunch line. Soup and a mug of Earl Grey tea, please. The soup was Scotch Broth, a brownish, muddy slurry accompanied by a large fresh whole meal roll. The servers were fresh-faced young people whose contagious good cheer made me begin to feel I might live, after all. Might even want to. The tea and soup soon did their work. I was warm all over, and thrilled at the sight of Goatfell Mountain and the postcard pretty village of Correy coming into view.

The ferry’s whistle sounded, and we bounded back down the stairs to our car: restored and ready for the week’s adventure.

Buck on the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry (photo from a 1998 trip)

Buck on the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry (photo from a 1998 trip)

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