Despite the unpromising leaden skies, New Year's Day at midday was actually the perfect time to head out for a stroll along Millport seafront, writes Calum Corral.
After seeing in the bells with my girlfriend Karen, a hardy walk along the chilly foreshore seemed an ideal way for us to freshen up.
Due to the Hogmanay celebrations, unfortunately we missed the dazzling array of aurora borealis colours dancing in the night sky, which was particularly visible from Portencross and the west side of Cumbrae.
As a keen amateur astronomer, it is worth pointing out that a few days before in the news, it was announced that there was a big coronal mass ejection from the sun — a large eruption of charged gas and plasma - meaning that there was a good chance of the spectacular 'natural' fireworks display in the night's sky.
The Edinburgh Hogmanay fireworks party may be legendary, but that night will go into legend on the east coast too, as there were some particularly sublime shots of the northern lights sparkling up above.
The fact that the aurora arrived just in time for the New Year celebrations was good timing for lucky photographers who snapped the phenomenon on these shores.
It was just one of the many subjects of conversation on our New Year's Day walk, as we were joined on our walk by a group of friends near the Crocodile Rock, and marched briskly to Farland Point in order to keep warm.
Emergency Responder James Bertram had recently remarked to me that Largs and surrounding area, apart from a few slight exceptions, got off very lightly following Storm Frank, and it was interesting walking along the island's prom, as seaweed was strewn everywhere. Sadly, there had been a victim, as a dead cormorant was washed up on the shore, near one of the benches. In the other direction, the sand was also high up on the pavements, even stretching as far across as the Garrison walls!
We continued our walk round to Farland Point, which is near the Field Studies Centre, and provides a great landscape photo, when you look back to Millport.
As we walked along past the clumps of seaweed, little Henry, the son of Daniel Moncrieff, head of the Field Studies Centre, was trying to negotiate his way along the path in his bike but wasn't getting very far!
The walk was a very pleasant way of greeting friends as part of the new year celebrations, and later that day, Karen and me headed back out along the shore, even though the wind chill factor was quite severe, it was well worth it to see the beautiful orange sunset.
As the palm trees flickered in the breeze, it really was a magnificent view, and when I posted the pictures on Instagram, people from all over the world were commenting how lucky I was, enjoying a similar 'tropical' view to celebrate New Year's Day. And there was nowhere else I would rather have been to enjoy such a glorious view.