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The scenery alone will help you relax
Aran, thliving is easy
Leave the rat race behind and get pampered on an island retreat. Words: Kelly Apter
annoys blare. train engines roar and
human traffic darts across the concourse.
Friday lunchtime at Glasgow Central. and the stresses of modern life are alive and well. Today. however. I’m leaving them all behind. A 50 minute train journey to Ardrossan: two minute walk onto the waiting ferry and less than an hour later. my companion and I arrive in a different world.
The sheer beauty and calm of Arran would be enough to drag your stress levels down to a workable level. But we‘re going one better — the Pamper Break. Run by husband and wife team. Chris and Jan Attkins. Vision Unlimited is a company dedicated to ‘Personal attention for your mind. body and spirit’. A motto which initially set some alarm bells ringing. But a quick tour of their website before departure allayed any fears we had about saying grace before meals or group soul-searching. Instead we were headed for two nights of comfy accommodation. four-course evening meals. full Scottish breakfasts. a complementary therapy and. should we so desire it. a ‘heart-to-heart‘ about our personal lives. And all for £150.
Meeting our ferry in Brodick harbour. Chris
shakes our hands warmly before relieving us of
our baggage (the literal kind — he‘ll deal with our metaphorical baggage later). In five minutes we‘re being shown to our room at the Belvedere. a charming old guest house with immaculate. cosy décor and a self-help book on
1.4 THI LIGT 18 Oct—1 Nov 2001
every shelf. But the interior pales into insignificance when we look through the window. Brodick bay sweeps before us. with Arran's highest mountain. Goat Fell. looming ahead. A quick check on dietary likes and dislikes. instructions to be back at the hotel by 7pm for aperitifs and we head down to the beach. Arran. like most of Scotland. can easily
fit four seasons into one day. so this brief
moment of sunshine is maximised to the full. The weather remains kind into the evening. so we dine al fresco on the patio. enjoying the
With cosy decor and a self- help book on every shelf
view. Chris busies himself in the kitchen. while Jan fills us in on the couple‘s past (film producers in Glasgow and much travelling the world) before whetting our appetites with details of tomorrow's therapies. Fully trained in aromatherapy. reflexology. reiki and cranio- sacral therapy. Jan operates from premises down on the seafront and we all book in for a session the following day. Curled up on comfy sofas and tucking into hand—made Arran chocolates. we drink and chat late into the evening.
The next day dawns grey and rainy, but no matter. After a tasty cooked breakfast. we take
a bus trip round the island and a walk up the magnificent Glenashdale Falls before journeying back for Jan to revitalise us with her magic hands. Part counsellor. part psychotherapist. part wise sage. Chris is in charge of the optional ‘personal development’. and later we discuss a few ‘issues' which arose out of the questionnaire 1 filled in upon arrival -— and much to my surprise. I feel all the better for it. Continued rain confines us to the dining room that evening. but the food. wine and chat ﬂow just as easily. although the fresh Arran air forces us all to an early bed.
Our last day on the island and we visit a pool and sauna at a nearby hotel. access to which is included in the break. A whistle- stop tour of Brodick Castle and Country Park and the nearby museum. and it's time to go. Relaxed and rejuvenated. we pull on our trainers and get back to the rat race.
A Pamper Break at the Belvedere Guest House. Isle of Arran costs £150 for two nights. £199 for three. Phone 01770 302397 for details or go to www.vision-unlimited.co.uk
The List travelled with Caledonian MacBrayne (www.calmac.co.uk) and Scotrail (www.scotrail.co.uk). More information on holidays on the Isle of Arran lo available on www.visitscotland.com and www.ayrshlre-arran.com