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Series 2: Episode 1



Setting off for Arran and Holy Isle, Ben sails from the busy port of Ardrossan on Scotland’s west coast and takes the short ferry trip across the Firth of Clyde to the beautiful Isle of Arran. Only two hours from Glasgow and today a popular holiday destination, Arran is known as Scotland in miniature, but it has, along with neighbouring Holy Isle, some of the earliest connections to Christianity in Scotland.\n\nDisembarking at the bustling ferry terminal in Brodick, Arran’s unofficial capital, Ben’s journey takes him to a tranquil south west corner of the island with stunning views of the glittering sea. He meets the Curries, a farming family who can trace their roots back nearly 200 years. He learns about how their faith connects them to the land,\nand how they see themselves not as owners, but as custodians for generations to come.\n\nArran’s community was once extremely devout, so much so that prefab churches, known as tin kirks, were manufactured from corrugated iron on the mainland and shipped across to the island to serve the demand for places of worship. Ben visits one of the tin kirks on Arran, a fascinating and atmospheric sacred place which sadly, due to declining church attendance, closed its doors just a few months earlier after 100 years.\n\nYet, even as we become a more secular society, Ben discovers that community spirit, once centred around faith on Arran, remains strong. He spends a busy morning with Fiona ‘many hats’ Laing, an islander who volunteers for the coastguard, the fire service and as a first responder. In an emotional encounter, Ben hears how Fiona, through the work she does and her innate compassion, is regarded as a true hero of the island community.\n\nAs Ben continues his journey, he learns how Arran is a haven for diverse faiths. He’s taught how to make traditional Challah bread by Barb and Sharon from the island’s Jewish Cultural Association and finds out about the sacred practices of the Jewish Sabbath.\n\nHe then journeys across to Holy Isle just off Arran’s east coast.\nRenowned as the home of a 6th century hermit monk and an ancient site of Christian pilgrimage, today it’s home to a Buddhist Peace Centre. Here, Ben has an extraordinary encounter with Buddhist monk Karma Zangpo. Together, they trek across the island to find a hermit monk’s cave, and soak up the incredibly peaceful atmosphere of Holy Isle.\n\nReturning to Arran, Ben hikes up to a stunning mountain loch lying 1,000 feet above sea level before visiting a beautiful clifftop apothecary garden. Here, he learns about the ancient links between Celtic beliefs and traditional herbal remedies.

Source: BBC 1

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