I was extremely interested in Charlie Stephen's account in the June issue of "The Mysterious Sound", which he heard on the summit of Beinn Dronaig. A few years ago, I had a similar experience to Mr Stephen. I was climbing on the Caisteal Abhail-Ceum Na Caillich-Suidhe Fhearghas ridge, above Glen Sannox in Arran, in excellent weather.
I was enjoying the superb conditions when a strange noise alerted my senses. It was an unusual rushing sound, like an approaching squall at sea. Could it be a fast-approaching, low-flying jet or some weird atmospheric anomaly? I glanced along the crest of the ridge and saw a rotating funnel of what looked like gravel and dust, in a column about 10 ft high, bearing down on me at considerable speed.
I instinctively lay flat on the ridge, protecting my head behind a boulder. The rushing sound increased in volume, swept right over me, peppering me with a "mini hail storm" of dust and gravel and was past within the blink of an eye! Within seconds, everything was back to normal. This, presumably, was a small "dust devil", probably created by the intense heat, the sharply-inclined ridge slopes and rising thermal air current. Thankfully, I got off lightly, with just some small cuts.
Charlie Stephen probably didn't experience a "dust devil", or even the rarer "ball-lighting", but he definitely did hear something unusual and perhaps it could be another case for the "X-Files"! So, walkers and climbers, take care out there, even on clear, sunny days!

H. McCallum,