The 'Henney Kilowatt', a 1961 production electric car based on the Renault Dauphine.
The Environmental Approach
Two minutes down the road from Green Brae barn you will find The Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot, where not only can you enjoy a great pint or glass of wine to go with an excellent meal, but also charge your car while doing so!
Ok, so not every car. You will need one of the new(ish) breeds of Electric Vehicle which are now appearing on our roads, and providing that you don't live too far away from the ferry at Ardrossan, and you have such a vehicle, then Arran is no longer a 'no go' area.
This free service was put in place in early 2013 by Robbie Crawford, the hotel manager. Always looking to ways of helping the environment, this is not the only 'eco friendly' installation at the hotel. In 2010 a biomass wood chip boiler was installed to power all the heating and hot water. One of the very first to be found in Scotland.
With a distance of approximately 56 miles around the Isle of Arran, there is no problem with a round trip finding you short on power, with most vehicles at time of writing capable of 100 miles plus on one charge.
Although not yet connected, a second charging point is now installed at the port in Brodick.
'Electric Vehicle' - Not such a New Idea
When I began to write this I thought (as you may do also) that the Electric Car was a relatively new idea. Not so. The red car on the left is a 1961 aptly named 'Henney Kilowatt' and it doesn't stop there as this extract from Wikipedia shows:
Electric cars enjoyed popularity between the late 19th century and early 20th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for car propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the petrol cars of the time. Advances in internal combustion technology, especially the electric starter, soon rendered this advantage moot; the greater range of petrol cars, quicker refueling times, along with the mass production of petrol vehicles by companies such as the Ford, which reduced prices of petrol cars to less than half that of equivalent electric cars, led to a decline in the use of electric propulsion, effectively removing it from important markets by the 1930s
Crazy quirky Folding Electric Car
The 'Hiriko' electric folding car being shown off. Maybe not a car we will be seeing on Arran anywhere in the near future, but with the advance of charging stations like the ones appearing in Blackwaterfoot and Brodick, it will not be long before the electric car is a much more common site on our roads.
Lucky. Right lens, right place, right time. The moment, when you know as a photographer that the shot may elude you, but even so you walk on, not taking any frames until the time is just right. It should have a name, the moment that is. A weird space where the shot exists, but it doesn't as it's just in your head. And then it's real. Captured. A gem and you know it.
What were they looking at? I've no idea. They resumed chewing the grass, split apart, normallity regained and no longer modelling for the moment, whatever it's called.
In 2007 we were on one of our half-term trips to Arran when we happened to see an advert in The Banner for two disused barns with planning permission - so we sold our house and here we are, one to live in and one as a holiday cottage! (There were a few bits in between but the world wide web is not large enough for that blog yet) .
Our architect, thankfully was fantastic, creating a great design and coming over from Glasgow on a regular basis to check all was well and going to plan. Our builders, from Shiskine just half a mile down the road, have done a superb job on the construction, using much of the original stonework and sourcing locally for what was still required. Although a few moments of " #### . . .what have we done . . " did pass through our minds (see pic #3) the result is a joy to behold (and live in) and we have now been resident for just over 12 months.
Out on the beach close to the waves, but not too close, stands Lenny, our gentle giant schnauzer. Hanging loose or racing along Blackwaterfoot beach is living the dream for most dogs.
When our holiday cottage was nearly ready we discussed whether or not to accept our four-legged friends. The discussions didn't last long. How could we not when our dogs love being here so much? Here's to lots of happy dogs having their perfect holidays in Green Brae and dragging their owners to the beach every morning.
Watching and Waiting
Jackie walks on. I feel the urge to 'Tweet', more as a marker for myself than of the need to share.
As I catch up I see them again. Determined to get an image, I run forward up the path and over to the left, ahead of the birds into the marshy grasses. I know the shot I want. Crouching as low as possible I wait. Their heads must be clear of the foreground but I know these random stalks are important to the final picture. Two shots on silent mode, The birds hardly notice and float by unconcerned. Happy photographer, happy swans.
Arran for the First Time
Our first holiday on Arran was in October 1998. We had come ready, both physically and mentally, for whatever the weather might throw our way. We found wild contrasts. One minute there were rolling black clouds and heaving rain. It was all travelling so fast that in moments it would give way to crystal blue skies and a rich low sun. Not once did we have to settle for lengthy mid grey.
But the real magic lay in between: there were rainbows everywhere we looked. We counted thirty three in the course of the week, arcing across the sky and glittering in waterfalls. It was spectacular. Other vivid memories were the seals at Kildonan that made it look as if the rocks were moving; Geoff and Oliver with limpet rings for spectacles; Sam with head tossed back drinking the rain at King’s Cave.
It’s a great time of year, and quieter than August!
Effie, our Airedale Terrier, has a Border Collie dog 'friend' called Flynn she occasionally meets on our beach, which usually means a crazy chase up and down the sand. This morning they surpassed themselves with this amusing scamper in and out of the tall grasses. Lenny, our pensionable Giant Schnauzer, clearly has a heart that's willing but legs that aren't!
I was asked on Twitter today, “What exactly are bleaters?” I couldn’t decide which bit to focus on: their name, the stories, the riddle or the Dobby connection, so I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to the matter.
“Curious creatures, neither man nor beast. They would come unbidden – whence, no one knew; and when they would take their departure, it was unknown where they went.” (The Book of Arran vol.II)
On further inspection I discovered their name referred to their predilection for moaning, weeping and general lamenting. Not happy bunnies for sure. They’re related to the English Brownies and Dobbies and are often attached to a particular house or family. It was the riddle at the end of the Arran story that caught my attention:
A family at the south end of Arran had a bleater with them for a long time. It came in and out with the cattle and slept in the cow byre. Every night the woman of the house would leave a handful of meal out and every morning the iron plate would be licked clean. One winter the son of the house married and brought his new wife back to live with them.
Come 'fika' with me
In Sweden, the institution of coffee breaks both morning and afternoon (that’s two scones or maybe the boozy brandy tiffin the second time) has been around since the 1700s. It’s called fika and it’s imperative that you go with a friend, take your time, drink coffee and have something sweet... I’m sold. I’ve decided this is probably one of the greatest secrets to a happier life and so needs to be given the respect, and time, it deserves! It also sounds like a perfect pastime for an Autumn holiday here on Arran.
Felicity’s is open until mid November and overlooks the beach at Blackwaterfoot.
Jacqueline and Geoff moved to the beautiful Isle of Arran in 2012, and have been visiting since 1998.