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One of the first things you learn about Scotland is to drop everything and take advantage of great weather. One of the second things is not to wait for great weather. Yesterday, we did both. It was a holiday weekend thanks to the Queen’s Jubilee in honor of her 70-year reign.

We went out to lunch. It took the whole day. I woke a shocked Hub before breakfast and told him the azaleas were in bloom at Achamore Gardens on the tiny island of Gigha. I gave him 30 minutes before we had to leave to make the ferry at Lochranza, on the north end of Arran. It wasn’t pretty, but to my amazement, we made it into the second-to-last slot for the small ferry to Claonaig on the mainland.

We drove across the Kintyre peninsula to the even smaller Gigha ferry, arriving with plenty of time to see the fantastic displays at Achamore Gardens.

 

Arran, the Kintyre Peninsula, and Gigha. [The Isle of Arran was described to us as the balls to Kintyre’s penis. This is, I’m sorry to say, something that’s difficult to unsee…]

Gigha has seen a millennia of fighting over its tiny self. For centuries, two clans—Macdonald and MacNeills—fought bloody wars for possession. Eventually, the island was sold several times before finally being acquired by Sir James Horlick (of the powdered malted milk drink mix) in 1944. He began construction of the incredible specimen gardens of Achamore. Sadly, the island passed through several owners hands, with population dropping from a peak of 624 in 1792 to only 98 by the turn of the 21st century. In the largest community buyout in UK history, the residents managed to pull together the mix of loans and grants needed to purchase their little island. They paid off the loans by selling the manor house, and opened the stunning gardens to the public.

 

After a morning spent gawking at azaleas, admiring the specimen plants in the enormous walled garden, and enjoying the scenery of Gigha on a sunny day, we were ready for lunch at the Michelin-recognized Boathouse restaurant.

 

Gigha has been fought over for the past 1000 years. Its Norse conquerors called it Gudey, the Good Isle, which time softened to Gigha (Pronounced Geea).

And… that’s where my phone batteries gave up. (Please excuse this photo collage from an earlier visit to The Boathouse.)

We made it back across in time for a side trip to 12th-century Skipness Castle, where sadly, we again failed to meet the resident ghost, the Green Lady of Skipness Castle.

 

 

Skipness’ current residents, with ruins of ancient church, and view across to Isle of Arran.

 

Our return ferry to Arran was escorted by friendly dolphins but alas–still no camera batteries!

So what was the worst thing?

Nothing went wrong. Not. One. Thing. What am I supposed to blog about?