National Geographic : 1965 Jul
Home to Arran, Scotland's Magic Isle the line. On the walls, portraits of the beau ties who bore the line, ending in the life-size oil of the late Duchess herself, gazing serenely down on the interlopers. What was it like, living here with history? In the ninth century a Viking fort looked over the bay from this height. We saw the table marked by tradition as the very one where the Bruce, by then King Robert I, dined in 1326. The great kitchen, gleaming with cop per, could still feed an army, though now it's tea for tourists instead of venison for soldiers. Cromwell's men headquartered here, and some of them were murdered. The stone vaulted prison has a bloody record. With all that, the castle gives the feeling of having been a home. The Duchess of Mont rose's real monument is the wild garden she loved and cared for-a riotous waterfall of subtropical shrubs and plants cascading down to the bay. And the back garden is 7,000 acres, with Goat Fell for overlord. Carved Message Awakens Memories Sure, Sandy, I liked it the old way, too, when the Duchess was here and the islanders owned everything. Now the hotel is owned by a mainland cor poration. The bakery is part of a Glasgow chain. So, too, are the grocery store, the sweet and tobacco and ice cream shops. You'll no' be goin' to the dance, said Sandy. It's just a bluidy rabble noo. I remember when the Saturday dances at the Village Hall were the high point of the week for the visitors. Girls were permitted a dab of lipstick, we boys shined our shoes, and mothers coached from the sidelines with a wary eye on the spinning flirtations. Installed in the balcony now is a projection booth. The Beatles in Brodick? The old Duch ess would never have allowed it! We wandered through the building. On an impulse, I turned in to the men's locker room. Initials scarred its wooden walls. On one I read, "Harvey Howells loves Mary...." (Her full name is there, but you'll have to go to Brodick to read it.) Thirty-odd years ago I Beached by a 10-foot tide's fall, a flat bottomed boat unloads without benefit of wharf. When the tide comes in, the vessel floats free and sails off. Coal-burning craft like this one, called puffers, haul supplies be tween Arran ports and the mainland as well as other coastal islands. blacked the eye of the boy who carved it. I should have thanked him instead. How are you now, Mary? Slainte mh6r Good health! In Arran there is no law of trespass. Cool climate, moor, and sheep track encourage use of the legs. Each beauty spot is hard by the next, and the road between is beauty, too. Walk five miles up the Rosa Glen, with its clear rushing water and straight-up moun tains, and the word "beauty" itself takes on a KODACHROMEBY WILLIAM EPPRIDGE(C N.G.S.