Wildlife watching on the Coastal Way.

by Angela

 It's early March on Arran. The sky is blue, the hills crisp and white. The 9.54 bus from Lochranza takes me over the Boguillie. Snow is piled up at the side of the road and the view of the snow-topped mountains against the blue sky is stunning. The bus drops me off at Sannox and, although the path up Glen Sannox to Goat Fell looks inviting, I turn left across the concrete stepping stones to the beach.

Route finding is easy - keep the sea on your right - and the path well made so I can enjoy the views instead of watching my feet. Following North Sannox burn I see a flash of brown and white over the water and a dipper stops on a rock just upstream. I watch him "dip" a few times before he heads back downstream. At the Fallen Rocks I sit and enjoy the view across to the mainland, Bute and The Cumbraes.

About a mile further on I spot something in the sea. Too fast to be a seal, it must be an otter. I stand still and hold my breath. As it dives into a patch of seaweed I creep to a high rock and sit still to watch it. (Thank you Simon King on your Shetland Diairies for the advice "Move when the otter is diving, stand still when it surfaces". It worked for me, the otter carries on its business.) It swims to a rock, climbs out, looks around and slides back into the water. I watch its graceful body for a long time as it plays and hunts in the seaweed before it swims slowly towards Sannox and out of sight. Perfect.

At Laggan Cottage I admire the painted curtain windows and stop for lunch enjoying the sun on my face. I head uphill and into the snow but the path is easy to follow as it heads across the moor.

Through a light snow shower I spot red deer on the hillside above the path. They lift their heads to watch me but don't run away. As the distillery comes into view the snow stops and I scan the sky for golden eagle. No luck today but I can't complain. Otter, red deer, glorious scenery and sunshine on a beautiful walk.

Comment from Steve: Great story Angela, that is a favourite walk of mine and you were so lucky to get so many good sightings.

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