We were warned that we should book our crossing early as our trip would clash with a rock concert at which 800 people were expected. However, any fears that the island might be overrun with ravers was not borne out!
As ever, I found landing and driving through Brodick a rather busy and unattractive sprawl of the town a bit of a surprise. But very soon these feelings were replaced with the pleasure of enjoying the drive along the magical shoreline to Lochranza in the north of the island. I then remembered why I always want to go back to Arran. Lochranza campsite is very well looked after and has excellent facilities. It is a bit of a trek to the pub but nice once you get there.
We (Simeon, Jonathan and Jennifer) arrived at the campsite at lunchtime, pitched our tents and headed off over the moorland to the Northeast coast and then walked back along the shore line to the Lochranza village. The next day we walked from the village up and over Meall Mor and since the weather was unappealing and there were no views we headed back down the stream to the distillery. The latter seemed like a more interesting prospect and we visited it later that afternoon and I stocked up again with my favourite whisky. They only do one and it is only 8 years old but to my palate has a wonderful clean taste with none of the smokiness to spoil it.
On day three, a beautiful day, we (Simeon, J and J) drove to Machrie golf course and standing stones. We then walked along the shoreline southwards past all manner of interesting formations and geology including King’s Cave and then further down the cliffs formed of columns of basalt and quartz-felspar porphyry at Drumadoon Point which look like giant fencing from a distance. We then walked back north, inland to the standing stones of Machrie. These were far more extensive and impressive than we had imagined. They were quite spread out and we found at least six separate circles of standing stones some of which were especially dramatic with the magnificent backdrop of Goatfell in the distance.
On our last day we walked up from Brodick caste to Goatfell . It was raining quite hard and whilst having our soggy sandwiches we contemplated if it was worth going to the top. Fortunately we decided to carry on and it cleared and in fact we were well rewarded with a memorable view at the top. We looked across to North Goatfell that was framed perfectly for us in a complete rainbow. Did we capture a photo of this? Probably not! We will have to go back again.
Simon, Carmen, Duncan and Liz on Day 1 scrambled up Cioch na h-Oighe then Goatfell, North Goatfell, back via the Saddle. It was lo…ong day. On Day 2, the same 4 went to climb on Cir Mhor but were thwarted by poor visibility, and failed to find the route. They continued walking over Cir Mhor instead, returned via the Witches Step, a thrutchy wet Diff pitch. On Day 3, Simon, Carmen, Jenny, Mike walked along the coast and back over the moors. On Day 4, Simon and Carmen went to Holy Isle, walked round and over the island, then went to look at the Machrie Standing Stones.
Graeme Shaw and Dawn were somewhat incapacitated by the previous night’s party and an injury.......