AnElephantCant wait to tell you
Of Bute and all its beautiful bays
Sand, shingle and rock
Such a pleasure to walk
The Elephant spends his time in a permanent daze
Kilchattan has the red sands
And Scalpsie has the seals
Ettrick for paddling
Waddling or dawdling
AnElephant is so happy he squeals
So what to say, where to start?
Port Bannatyne, known as ‘The Port’, lies just north of Rothesay on Kames Bay, with views of Loch Striven.
It is perhaps worth mentioning to the uninitiated that in Scotland some lochs are fresh water (or inland) while others are sea lochs.
In the Lowlands, sea lochs are generally known as firths, e.g. Firth of Clyde, Firth of Forth while in the Highlands they are usually, but not always, just lochs.
In other countries they are fjords or even estuaries.
There is not much in Port Bannatyne, although it does have a 13-hole golf course (with stunning views.
But then everything on Bute has stunning views.) Yes, 13.
And Kames Castle (below) lies just outside the village.
On the other side of the island, directly west of ‘The Port’, is Ettrick Bay.
Glorious beaches here, and, on the days of AnElephant’s visits, people swimming in the sea!
This is not common in Scotland.
Even in what is laughingly called summer here the water can be used to chill wine or children as the mood takes you.
But it was gorgeous and your Elephant took full advantage of the weather to cool his aging extremities.
Then a sensation – an intrepid wild life photographer captured a rare shot of the Elephant at play, with the Isle of Arran visible in the background (see below).
And there is a café here which home bakes apple and rhubarb pie, which it serves with fresh cream.
AnElephant went there twice.
At the south-east end of the island is the village of Kilchattan Bay.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is also a bay on which the village sits.
There is almost nothing here, apart from a little pier (see below), but it is tranquillity epitomised.
It has a beach of red sand, and views across the Clyde and the Cumbraes to Largs on the mainland.
The Cumbraes are islands, known as Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae.
AnElephant will award a prize to the first person who can guess why this is.
Largs is famous for Nardini’s, an ice cream parlour which was opened in 1935, and a battle, which took place even earlier.
In 1263 Norway was claiming sovereignty over the western Scottish islands and seaboard, and so sent an army to enforce these claims.
They anchored in the Clyde to prepare for battle the following day.
Then, unexpectedly to everyone except those of us who have been to Scotland, a storm blew up, and the fleet was scattered and driven ashore.
A battle took place at Largs, possibly due to the lack of ice cream, and the Norwegians were sent homewards to think again.
This battle is commemorated by a monument called The Pencil.
There is another prize on offer if you can guess why.
So, back to Bute!
And to Scalpsie Bay, where the Elephant and his Mahout spent a magical few hours in the sunshine.
Yep, hard to believe, but true.
You know AnElephantCant tell a lie.
A beautiful beach leads to a rocky headland where the seals catch the rays, man, lolling about on the rocks regarding AnElephant with some surprise.
A buzzard is chased from a high rock face by a swarm (or whatever) of wagtails, aided by a few gulls.
A hare is startled by AnElephant who is in turn startled by the hare.
Shags (or possibly cormorants, not sure of the distinction) hang their wings out to dry on the rocks, or skim the surface of the astonishingly placid water.
Arran is, of course, just a few miles across the sea, looming high on the horizon, the Sleeping Warrior majestic in his repose.
The Holy Isle is clearly visible in Brodick Bay, at the southern end of Arran.
Beyond that lies the South Ayrshire coast, with its undulating pasturelands behind.
In short, this is the day when Scotland is just slightly more heavenly than heaven.
AnElephant is at peace with the world.
BUT THEN – TA RA !!!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs upon the slimy sea!
That most deadly and vicious of all the world’s deadly and vicious sea predators, the Wild Sea Water Haggis, (pictured below, please view with extreme caution) resplendent in its crusty spiky defensive shell, its mighty offensive claws ready to rip apart any creature it can find and catch.
Now, in all honesty, there are not too many creatures it can find and catch, but still, if you were one of those creatures you would know all about it, boy, that is for sure.
This lethal monster is the aquatic cousin of the two better known mountain haggises, or haggi, as we say in Scotland.
The Hillside Haggis, with its two short and two long legs, is perhaps the better known, but the elusive and rarely seen three-legged Haggis is considered the greater delicacy in the restaurants of Paris, Monte Carlo and Damperton-Sur-Leven, where your Elephant is currently billeted.
Ah, now these sweet culinary delights remind the Elephant that it is almost time for dinner. Pass the peanuts, please!!
And he does hope you enjoyed your trip to this little piece of Paradise.