Lochranza Castle is superbly set on a grassy spit of land that juts out in to the sea loch. The castle was rebuilt in the 16th century but there are remnants of the original castle from a few hundred years earlier. Legend has it that Robert the Bruce landed at Lochranza in 1306 from Ireland at the start of his claim to the Scottish throne and it is known that his grandson came to own the castle in 1371 when he became King Robert II of Scotland, who used it primarily as a hunting lodge. In the 15th century it was used as a base for James IV and later it was occupied by James VI and Cromwell’s troops.
Lochranza, in the north of the Isle of Arran, was the place I loved most on our trip to the Isle of Arran and it is not surprising that other people love it so much. This beautifully positioned bench is dedicated to the memory of Joyce C Orr. Sitting on the bench you are overlooking a stunning view and I could sit here for a long time watching the birds, the boats and the sea.
THIS BENCH IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF Joyce C. Orr Died 3rd April 2013 A Loving and Much Loved wife to Gavin, Mum to Alison and Nana to Stuart and Christopher “SHE LOVED THIS PLACE”
Joyce C Orr lived nearby in Ayr, on the mainland of Scotland and just a short ferry trip from the Isle of Arran. Joyce C Orr had been treated in Ayrshire Hospice and was a member of the St Columba Church in Ayr and Joyce C Orr and her family are remembered in notices from the church. On Saturday 21 September 2013 a concert was held at Ayrshire Hospice in memory of Joyce Orr, with music by Cantanti, a local vocal ensemble.
We were bowled over by the Scottish island of Arran and one of our favourite places on the island was Lochranza, a peaceful village on the north coast of the island. The village has a great campsite, a ruined castle, a ferry terminal, red deer that wander over the golf course and even its own whisky distillery. We stayed here a few days and while we were there took the bus to Sannox and walked back along the craggy coast, climbing over the boulders that tumble down to the sea and following the lovely grassy paths with views to the mainland and Bute. This isn’t a walk to be hurried and we savoured every moment.
Looking over the water at Lochranza to the village and the ferry terminal
Coming around the coast in to the shelter of the loch, the village of Lochranza came in to sight. Along this stretch of coastline I was amazed by the cluster of memorial benches there were to sit on and rest while enjoying the panoramic views. The number of benches without doubt demonstrate how popular this area is with many people.
IN MEMORY OF EDDIE WARREN (THE SINGING PAINTER) 1919 – 1994 WHO ENJOYED HAPPY TIMES IN LOCHRANZA
The plaque on this shiny green bench to Eddie Warren tells a short story about the man it remembers. I don’t know if Eddie Warren painted on canvas or walls and doors but I feel sure that he was happy in whichever was his chosen trade as he sang as he painted. The plaque also tells visitors that Eddie Warren had some happy times at Lochranza and I can certainly relate to that.
The village of Kildonan lies on the south coast of the island of Arran in Scotland. Kildonan has a long and beautiful beach and on a clear day if you look out to sea you will spot the island of Pladda (from the Norse for flat isle) and the more prominent Ailsa Crag. The houses of the village are strung out along the coast, as is often the way in Scotland.
It was a murky day when we arrived in Kildonan. Undaunted we took a stroll around the village and found this handsome memorial bench not far from where the coastguard lookout once was. The coastguard station closed in 1981 but the old coastguard house still stands. On a clear day the bench has spectacular views. We stayed at the campsite and the following morning we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine and could enjoy that view with our breakfast.
There is a view over the bay at Kildonan in better weather
In the Arran Banner I found out a little bit more about James Potts from his grandchildren. The paper’s Where’s Archie feature had a photograph of the black Labrador, Archie, next to this bench and it was quickly recognised. One grandchild told the paper, ‘James (wee Jimmy as he was known) was the senior coastguard at Kildonan until he retired to Whiting Bay in 1975. The Hagan and Kinloch grandchildren had the bench made at Kiscadale Forge in 1994 and it was designed by their grandson David Hagan.’ Another responded, ‘I was sat on it [this memorial bench] when we were up for a long weekend last week. It’s dedicated to my grandparents Meg and Jimmy Potts who lived up the road at the Coastguard Station for 20 years.’
IN MEMORY OF MARGARET & JAMES POTTS I.S.M. COASTGUARD KILDONAN 1955 – 1975 THIS SEAT WAS DEDICATED TO THEM BY THEIR GRANDCHILDREN 1994
Kiscadale Forge, that created this unusual and lovely bench, is based on Arran. The design includes the letters J and M for Margaret and James and gives the bench a moving and personal touch.