Almost Stranded on the Isle of Arran!
Hello readers! As most of you know, I was in the Isle of Arran this past Saturday. Rachel and I booked our tour through ISUK Tours, a student tour organization! Hopefully the title of my post today has sparked your interest a wee bit...and I will get to the story behind the title later!
Waking up Saturday morning, I was bummed by the weather. It always seems like the weekends I decide to do something, the weather just wants to say, "No, you shouldn't go outside today." I woke up to a blizzard outside my window...thankfully by the time I was leaving to catch my tour bus, it calmed down to a rainy drizzle. This tour required catching a ferry, which I was excited for! I had never been on a full scale ferry before, so this was a new experience for me. We boarded the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry at the Ardrossan Harbor to cross the Firth of Clyde. We arrived in Brodick, the capital of Arran after about an hours ferry ride. The weather was still kind of sucky, with a constant drizzle (so that's why some of my pictures have raindrops on the lens).
The first stop of the day was the Isle of Arran Whisky Distillery. For someone who doesn't like whisky all that much, I sure do go to a lot distilleries...I guess my brother would be proud of me. I did try a cream liquor they made called Arran Gold...IT WAS SO GOOD! A lot of people compare it to Bailey's (which I haven't tried), but I really enjoyed the Arran Gold. I would have bought some, but they only sold it in big bottles and there was no way I was drinking an entire bottle of whisky before coming home. We were only at the distillery for about a half an hour, so we just tried some whisky and walked around the property. There were really pretty views of the mountains directly behind the distillery! I'll attach pictures at the end of this post!
Our next stop was Loch Ranza to see the ruins of Lochranza Castle. I can't really tell you anything more than what the name of the place was because our tour guide didn't really give us any context or story behind the castle. It was closed up, so you could only observe the outside of the castle (if you can even call it that). It wasn't extravagent at all and was very underwhelming. The only part I enjoyed about this stop was the rocky beach and the views looking into the water and towards the mountains. Lochranza has a field study center, where schools from all over the UK come to study the locality's interesting geology. I did take a cool looking rock with me from the beach, so I guess it wasn't that bad of a stop.
Unfortunately, we did not go any further than Lochranza, which Rachel and I were kind of upset about. I mean, we paid like forty bucks to get a day tour, and we literally only stopped at two actual destinations. On our way back to Brodick, our tour guide had us stop at a cheese shop. I'm not a huge fan of cheese, so I just walked into other shops while people bought cheese. Then we went back to Brodick to eat lunch and just walk around until our 4:40 ferry back to the mainland. Rachel and I made the most out of our time in Brodick by checking out the infamous chocolate shop (which I did cave and buy some), and other local shops of Arran. After our late lunch, we went to the beach and had a good old photoshoot. The joke of the day was, "Beach day #springbreak!" since our friends are actually on warm beaches on spring break while we had cold beaches here in Scotland. By then, the rain had mostly stopped and it was starting to get sunny! We actally saw a rainbow walking back to the harbor!
Now this is when the title of this blog post becomes applicable. We were told to be in the ferry terminal by 4:10p, that way we would not miss the ferry. Don't worry, we were there with plenty of time. What ended up happening was that our 4:40 ferry was canceled. Yes, canceled. Apparently something was wrong with the boat, and the 1:40p ferry kept getting delayed, so people who had tickets for that ferry were still in the terminal. I'm not sure if they made an exception just for our tour group or everyone who was supposed to be on the 4:40p ferry, but they said they would allow us to get on the delayed ferry if they decided to run it. At this point, lots of people on our tour group are freaking out because they just want to go back to the mainland and get back home. Rachel's boyfriend was flying in on Sunday (today), so she needed to be back here to pick him up. They had already canceled all the ferry's for Sunday, so we would have been very screwed if they decided to not run the ferry. While we were waiting, we were seated in the terminal, where we met a fellow Iowan, Caitlyn. She had been waiting for ages in the terminal since her ferry was the one that kept getting delayed. What a small world, right? She was from the Quad Cities area and has been living in Scotland for the past six years! We chatted with her for a while, waiting for our fate with the ferry. After about an hour and a half of thinking we were going to have to spend the next couple days in Brodick, we were delighted over the intercom to hear they were going to run the ferry! They had been working on fixing whatever part of the ferry that was broken, and apparently they fixed it well enough to run it one more time for us. They even gave us a free drink and snack voucher to use at the restaurant on the ferry. I was definitely relieved because I did not pack to stay for a few more days.
How crazy is it though that I literally met someone from the Quad Cities? On the Isle of Arran in Scotland. God works in mysterious ways, I tell ya that. Just think about it, if we hadn't had crappy weather, then the boat probably would've been fine (I don't actually know what was wrong with the ferry, but I feel like the weather would have had an impact on whatever the problem was), then Caitlyn's ferry would have never been delayed, then we would have never met her. It was so cool to pick her brain a little bit about adjusting to life in Scotland and just hearing some of her stories! The whole day had also tested my patience and attitude with the crappy weather, sucky tour, and ferry problems. We tried to keep positive thoughts as I kept repeating the terminal, "Think positive thoughts, we are getting on this ferry, we are going to get back to our rooms tonight, everything is going to be fine." Rachel can back that up too--I really did say that. Everyday I continue to see the different ways God works in my life. I know I always say that He has blessed me with my world travels and has brought me to Scotland, but it's so much more than that. He is in every decision---which classes I signed up for, what church I go to, what tours I go on, what I eat in the morning, I mean, it's all His design. The less I fight to claim my accomplishments and adventures for myself, the more free I feel. If you don't know God, then that probably doesn't make much sense to you, and that's okay. All I can tell you is that I don't have to be scared for tomorrow or anxious about anything because it's in God's hands, not mine. I know I will be guided through my days with the spirit of Jesus, which is something that I have to consciously remind myself daily.
If you're with me this far, thank you for enduring that little rant. I just think it's important to give glory to the one who deserves it! Anyways, this next week I'm going to be Amsterdam from Tuesday until Saturday, so there will be a lot to talk about in my next blog post. Until then, enjoy these pictures from the Isle of Arran!