BLUE AT the front, green at the back. Sit on the couch in the living room, look out of the window, and all you can see is the sky and the steely waves rolling in from the Firth of Clyde.
Terns stop in mid-air, suspended as if at the top of a swing, before dropping into the water.
Open the back door and you’re straight into the non-manicured garden, with a gravelled patio area for barbecues. The hill rises up steeply beyond the wall at the bottom of this space, with zigzagging paths cut into the shrubby incline.
Eastwood on Whiting Bay is my kind of holiday home.
I’ve stayed here on three occasions, each time for a whole week. It’s a big Victorian villa, with two twin bedrooms, plus one single and a double. The latter is more of a romantic boudoir than a bedroom, with a chaise longue, and bay windows that look onto the ruggedly stony, kelp-strewn portion of the beach.
Any other couples staying in this self-catering accommodation have to sleep, Dot and Jim from EastEnders-style, in a twin.
Not that I minded (my sister had bagged the double).
The communal living room is cosy, with a big telly, a wood-burning stove, well-upholstered sofa and four fat armchairs. Try reading your book on each seat, to find out which you like best, then commandeer it by leaving your paperback draped over its arm. Works every time.
Most of our gang could usually be found in the huge kitchen, where they’ve provided binoculars for guests to spy on those terns.
Or you could use them to track the progress of the bonkers collie who, every summer, we see daily, scampering solo along the road, before spending a couple of hours frantically attempting to chase the encroaching waves back to where they came from. He never has any luck.
Two minutes from the house, you’ll find the Arran Art Gallery, where they might sell an original painting by John Bellany, alongside prints and quirky ceramics by lesser known Scottish artists. There’s also a nearby cafe – The Coffee Pot – for cakes, baked potatoes and panini. Not to mention Bay Stores, where we bought lunchtime ingredients of pastrami, goats cheese and locally made ice-cream.
Should you get tired of shopping and cooking for yourself, there’s always The Trafalgar.
This restaurant is just a ten-minute walk from Eastwood – or a six-minute run, if it’s a particularly midge-ridden evening.
It’s owned by Wolfi and Gege Kroner, who grow much of their own produce, and serve “simple and wholesome” dishes such as lamb chops with minted pear, followed by Dutch apple flan.
Want to go further afield? Then follow the coastal road, which loops around the island.
Whiting Bay is my favourite of the little villages dotted along this route, but each has a distinct personality, and at least a couple of must-visit attractions.
In Brodick we always visit Wooleys the baker, the gardens around Brodick Castle, The Wine Port (for a scone), the Auchrannie Spa (for a swim) and Arran Aromatics at Home Farm. Then there’s Catacol and its Apostles, Corrie and the horseshoe-shaped seal sculpture, Lochranza’s castle and Lamlash’s stylish Glenisle Hotel.
While, in Blackwaterfoot, Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club has had a recent overhaul, and the cafe is now a sun trap on a bright day. Once you’ve fuelled up here, you could attempt the King’s Cave walk, which starts nearby, and meanders through shady foresty areas, across a slope of wildflowers and long grasses, then down into the gloomy and dank cave in which Robert the Bruce was supposed to have met his eight-legged friend.
We could have followed this route – we have completed it on our previous visits – but instead we sat on the cream-coloured beach at Blackwaterfoot, and dug our feet into the sand.
Then we went home to Eastwood, to enjoy the blue and green views, watch the terns dive, and read books on our personal chairs.
• For ferries between Ardrossan and Brodick, see Caledonian MacBrayne (0800 066 5000, www.calmac.co.uk). A return journey for a car with two adults costs £101.40. Eastwood, Shore Road, Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran (01770 700 396, www.arranholidayhomes.com). Rates are £500-£700 per week. Trafalgar Restaurant, Shore Road, Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran (01770 700396, www.eatingonarran.com).
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west