Hospitality is alive in Arran

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Think chivalry is dead? That might be so down south but head to the Highlands and you’ll receive a welcome as warm as a bowl of Scots porridge – something the CD Traveller team can attest to.

Earlier this week, I embarked on a trip to the Isle of Arran – arguably Scotland’s undiscovered gem. It’s an easy two hour trip from Glasgow (Scotland’s self proclaimed ‘capital of cool’) so why more people don’t make the journey remains a  mystery. For a day trip with a difference, all you need to do is take the train from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour and from there the ferry to Brodick, Arran’s charming capital.

There are few places on earth yet to be ‘Starbuck-ised’ but Arran is one of them. Stepping off the ferry is akin to stepping back in time: forget MacDonald’s and monstrous shopping malls, on this fair-trade island you’ll find quirky little shops selling wares made in Arran –think cheese, sugary tablet and toiletries by Arran Aromatics – cute cafes and an amazingly diverse range of scenery for such a small space (not for nothing is Arran known as ‘Scotland in miniature’).

But it’s the people that really make this place. Locals will go out of their way to help from the bus driver who happily deviates from his route to drop tourists off wherever they desire to Fell View guesthouse’s owner – the lovely Eleanor Hamilton – who within five minutes of meeting me had handed over the keys to her car so that I could hit the road and “get a real feel for the island.”

The message? Gordon Brown might be dour but if my experience this week (and also that of my colleague Adrian – see his rumbling ‘Extra mile’) is anything to go by, his countrymen couldn’t be more welcoming. Don’t just take our word for it though: with the ash crash disrupting flights, why not let the train take the strain and experience Scottish hospitality for yourself?

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