Arran – ‘Scotland in miniature’ drives me crazy. Arran is Arran, beautiful and interesting. For us this week – it was Scotland’s Majorca.
What was meant to be a spring trip to Majorca to get the miles in on the road turned into a week in Arran due to circumstances. Turned out a great choice: weather mild but windy with some lovely sunshine to end the week. The journey by ferry a delight unlike the ordeal of low cost airline travel. A combination of hill walking and mountain biking took me to over 15,000 feet of ascent for the week.
The island was fairly quiet with the easter holiday rush over. Friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Road conditions like a trip to rural Bulgaria some twenty years previous. Glad I had thicker tyres and suspension.
Found a trendy cafe @Lagg with cycling memorabilia but with two couples as owners looking to attract custom way beyond those of the two wheeled variety. Some great prints and books in the cafe – never tire of reading the exploits of Robert Millar … now Philippa York of course. What an athlete, what an individual: one of Scotland’s finest.
Sunday was a half island on-road tour of southern Arran. Afternoon a most enjoyable experience in a bar in Whiting Bay watching the Scottish cup semi final, Celtic Rangers.
Monday was off road east and north of Lamlash. Fair bit of pushing along the coastal path before finding the way up on to the Clauchlands MTB route. Descent into Lamlash was steep, mud strewn and with felled trees adding a real hazard. Glad to get back.
Tuesday and Friday in Arran I took to the hills in search of Corbetts (mountains between 2,500 feet and 3,000 feet). Not the wisest decision to take on the Arran ridge and its three Corbetts in low mist and driving winds.
Friday was an altogether brighter day on the traverse of the Goatfell ridge. I am not a prolific climber or scrambler and the ascent of Cioch na h-oighe was a bit hairy at times.
But the highlight was Thursday and an end to end (south to north) traverse of Arran – off road as much as humanly possible. The Arran ‘Enduro’ challenge route near as dammit. Set off 8.30 in the murk from the southern village of Kildonan overlooking the island of Pladda. Mid morning coffee back ‘home’ in Lamlash before heading up the coast again and down into Brodick.
Final day was a nice steady cycle on the forest track from Lamlash to Whiting Bay, a ‘tentative’ descent down the track from Glenashdale Falls and some sunshine sitting out in the sun. Fitting end to great week. Reckon about 15,000 feet of ascent walking and cycling for the week.