Posts Tagged 'Isle of Bute'

Crossed wires

Isle of Arran seen from St Blane's

Isle of Arran seen from St Blane’s

The Cookiebite Cortex, the part of the HOH brain responsible for piecing together fragments of speech and making up fanciful interpretations of what is being said at any given time, has two error modes of output: 1. Utter Gibberish and 2. Strangely Poetic. In my experience, Utter Gibberish tends to be the default mode, and the cookiebiter owes a great debt of gratitude to the invention of written language, without which we would be condemned to an entire lifetime of people laughing at our strange turn of phrase whenever saying anything out loud.

Just occasionally, however, the Cookiebite Cortex swings into Strangely Poetic mode, in response to a series of contextual cues from its internal and external environment. I was reminded of this yesterday, as I heaved myself wearily over a stile whilst enjoying a nice country walk in the autumn sunshine. I managed to narrowly avoid ripping my trousers on the neighbouring barbed wire fence, and the brief touch of the vicious metal thorns strung from post to post stirred a long-buried memory; as a child, when I first saw a written reference to ‘barbed wire’, it took me a while to connect the concept to ‘bad wire’, my own misheard version of the name for the shin-ripping wire which lurked unseen in suburban undergrowth, waiting for its chance to painfully ensnare children who were running about after dark in places they shouldn’t…

Running Up That Hill

View from Suidhe hill looking out over Kilchattan Bay

During an unexpected break in the holiday rain today, the spouse and I decided to get a nice bit of exercise by climbing the nearby Suidhe hill. Suidhe (pronounced ‘suey’) is Gaelic for ‘seat’, and I certainly needed one by the time I got to the top, since it’s extremely steep and the path was horribly slippy after all the rain. There was a dramatic moment on an almost vertical stretch near the top, where I didn’t have enough strength to get my left leg completely over a wooden fence and became stuck in a very undignified splits position, as the the right leg slid back down the hill. In order to release me, the spouse had to lift the leg off the fence for me, but he confirmed it was a very heavy leg, so I didn’t feel so bad at not being able to lift it myself.

Once at the top, the effort turned out to be well worth it, since the panoramic view from the trig point at the summit is absolutely stunning. The sun even came out, and as the clouds parted, I spotted the distant shores of Inellen on the horizon and gave Soozie cyborginafield a wave. I don’t think she saw me, though.

Beside The Seaside

It’s amazing the strange creatures you find on the beach…

It’s Spring Again

I examine Kelspoke Castle carefully. It wasn't quite what I was expecting from the map...

Spring is finally in the air. The skies were blue and the sun was shining as the spouse and I set off up the hill behind the Buteshack yesterday, to take in the splendid views across the Clyde from the rather grandly named Kelspoke Castle.

The wellies were a must to negotiate the steep boggy ground, and the comedy slurping noises underfoot as I squelched through clods of peaty mud, were highly satisfying. I will give you a tip, however. Should you see watercress on marshy ground, don’t step in it unless you wish to take a refreshing dip.


Return to Rothesay

View from the deck of the MV Argyle on Saturday, BBC weather forecast: white cloud

After a busy week, the spouse and I headed to Bute for a bit of fresh air. Since we were both tired, we decided to take the train instead of the car for a change.

At the station ticket booth, I made a special effort to enunciate clearly, using my finest exaggerated mouth movements. I wished to avoid a repeat of the previous time I had asked for two returns to Rothesay. On that occasion, after the world’s lengthiest transaction, the bad tempered ticket man issued us with two over-priced returns to Rosyth instead of Rothesay, and nearly made us miss the train.

No such difficulty yesterday and, thanks to my Wallace and Gromit mouth movements, I was successfully issued with the correct tickets at the first attempt.



Kilchattan Bay, BBC weather forecast: sunny

The spouse was a man with a mission this morning. He had spotted a rather nice piece of sawn-off tree stump washed up on the beach near the Buteshack yesterday, and had decided overnight that life wasn’t worth living without it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t remember exactly where we had seen it, so had to retrace our steps from yesterday’s epic windswept walk along the sand. Fortunately, there was no icy biting wind nor bad-tempered cows this time, so I was able to happily peer at bits of sea glass in the low winter sunshine, while the spouse reunited himself with his beloved stump.

Me and My Shadow


Looking from Kelspoke, Bute, towards Largs, BBC weather forecast: Sunny


Larking about in the sunshine yesterday, balanced precariously on the outcrop of rock which carries the remains of the ancient Kelspoke Castle. I was laughing on the other side of my face when I twisted my ankle on the way back down, but it was worth it for the spectacular view right up the Firth of Clyde.

A nice bit of exercise

Looking to Arran from Birgidale Moor, BBC weather forecast: Light Rain

It’s been a bit quiet at Cookie Bite HQ recently, because teaching begins again in earnest next week. I have been busy on a series of high-profile academic assignments, such as filling the holes in the projection area of the wall with Polyfilla, and sticking hundreds of notices beginning with ‘Please DO NOT…’ on every available surface in preparation for the arrival of the new group of students.

As a bit of light relief yesterday, the spouse and I headed off to Bute with the intention of beating the Women’s Institute to the last of the season’s brambles. Once we arrived, the bikes were immediately dragged from the shed and we began the two mile uphill cycle to Birgidale Moor, crunching through seized-up gears and attired like a couple of scarecrows. Had we known that the Round Bute Cycle Race was on at the same time, we might have left it until a little later. There is nothing so demoralising as labouring your way up a huge hill as loads of Lycra clad whippets on intravenous energy drinks speed past. As I watched the spouse and the Tour de Bute team shrink to specks on the horizon, my thoughts wandered to whether the long leg might be hampering my cycle technique, in addition to tripping me up all the time. As I began mentally designing a built-up pedal arrangement to circumvent my biomechanical inadequacies, the noisy entanglement of a passing bee in my hairdo jolted me back to the present in a timely manner, and I spotted the spouse having a nice rest against a fencepost in the distance.

Once I eventually reached the top of the hill, the bikes were ditched and we set off across the moor in search of brambles. When we reached the track to the treasure, unusually, the gate was closed. By way of explanation, the spouse pointed out a rather large specimen of a bull about 50 yards further on, but fortunately it turned out to be on the other side of the fence. We carried on, admiring the bull’s generous proportions and customary nose ring from behind the safety of the electrified barbed wire fence. Suddenly, there was a loud ‘Moo’ and a cow jumped out of the gorse bushes on to the track in front of us, followed by the farmer in a quad bike and a woman in wellies waving a white rag. I had never seen a bull jump over an electrified barbed wire fence before, so when the beast did, my first instinct was to run extremely fast. The spouse took fright at my unusual decisiveness and ran too, quickly overtaking me after approximately 2 yards. Amidst the yelling and flag waving, there was a flurry of snorting and hooves as the bull had his wicked way with the object of his desire, while we caught our breath on the other side of the gate.

Once the farmer had rounded up the bovine casanova, we were finally able to complete our mission to strip the hedgerow of brambles, taking in a bit of the nice autumnal view at the same time.


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