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Arran Coastal Way (2nd ed)

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Author Topic: Arran Coastal Way - April/May 2018.  (Read 1015 times)
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Posts: 93

« on: February 08, 2018, 04:40:18 pm »

All plans are now in place for our 65-mile circumnavigation of the Isle of Arran.
Leaving the West Midlands on Sunday 29th April 2018 my son-in-law and I will travel to Ardrossan to catch the afternoon ferry to Brodick. Accommodation booked in the Brodick Bunkhouse.
Nice early start on Monday 30th April to walk the 17 miles to Lochranza. Might take on Goat Fell, weather dependant  Wink. Overnight in the Lochranza Youth Hostel.
Early start again on Tuesday 1st May to walk the 19 miles to Blackwaterfoot. Staying overnight in Blackwaterfoot Lodge. Here we meet up with our third party member, who couldn't make the first 2 days.
Nice lie-in today, Wednesday 2nd May, as it's only 7 miles to our overnight billet in Kilmory Bunkhouse.
Thursday 3rd May, earlier start today as it's 12 miles to Whiting Bay. Staying at Burlington Guest House.
Friday 4th May. Another 12-miler today with the ferry at Brodick to look forward to. Across the water and on our way home  Smiley.
Hoping for some half-decent weather and no midges.
I have booked a bag-carrying service for the duration of our walk. Well, I will be close to 66-years-old by the time we finish.
I will go into detail regarding the walk, the accommodation and the ancilliary services, including pubs, upon completion.

Senior Member
Posts: 93

« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2018, 08:28:09 pm »

After much preparation the time had come to tackle the 65 miles of the Arran Coastal Way. Being a circular route it seemed logical to leave the car on the mainland and take the ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick and back. So it was on Sunday 29 April 2018 my son-in-law and I found ourselves in Ardrossan, catching the Caledonian Macbrayne boat across to Arran. A short, but pleasant, crossing later and we were outside the bunkhouse behind the Douglas Hotel. A pleasant night followed in scenic Brodick.

Day 1. Monday 30/04/18. Out of bed at 5am and set off at 6.15. A chilly but dry and bright start. An easy stroll as far as Brodick Castle. Where the path divides for Goat Fell my son-in-law decided to take it on, in spite of some cloud at the summit. I decided to stick to the low level route, being nearly twice his age and much less fit  Shocked. My journey was a simple one as a new, level, path/road has been laid and, although through woodland, presented no difficulties. I was soon at the road again and walked through Corrie and Sannox, where we had agreed to meet. I was in Sannox by 09.15. Still a beautiful spring day. My compatriot didn't arrive until 10.45  Huh. He was not happy and it hadn't been a simple climb. We left Sannox at 11am. Straight forward as far as the fallen rocks where things became a little difficult and slow. Proceeded past Laggan Cottage, once we got the path back, and on to An Scriodan rock fall where things got even harder and slower. Eventually walked into Lochranza at 4pm at the end of a long and tiring 17 miles. A comfortable night in the Youth Hostel.

Day 2. Tuesday 01/05/18. Not keen to get out of bed this morning but managed to at 5.15am. On the trail at 6.20 with 19 miles in front of us  Sad. A level road walk along the coast through Lochranza. Somehow managed to miss the sign for the Postman's Walk so had an even longer road walk than planned, past Catacol. Eventually arrived in Pirnmill, all road walking. Colder and cloudier today with a stiff onshore wind. Needed gloves and hat despite there being no rain, yet. After being guided down to the beach the way became much harder and slower, with slippery rocks, seaweed, tree roots and other vegetation. Rejoined the main road at Imachar but no sign of any habitation here. A long 5-mile walk followed, passing Dougarie Lodge, until we arrived at Machrie. A very welcome tearoom here, by the golf club. Arrived just prior to 1pm and left again at 1.45. Just another 5 miles to go to Blackwaterfoot and overnight accommodation  Wink. Another mile of road walking and time for waterproofs.  Angry. Eventually on to a forest trail and down to the King's Cave. A slow and laborious route then around the rocks of Drumadoon Point, avoiding a golf course, before joining the beach on the approach to Blackwaterfoot. Raining really heavy now and continued well into the night. Arrived at our accommodation at 4.20pm. Relief  Smiley. Here we were joined by a third party member for the final 3 days.

Day 3. Wednesday 02/05/18. A short day today, only 7 miles.  Breakfast included too  Smiley. Up at 7.30 and walking at 10. Bliss. Dry, bright and a bit warmer too. Some difficult beach walking at first which was slow-going. Rejoined the road and things improved dramatically. Much easier and swifter progress. Arrived at our accommodation in Lagg at 2.10, but couldn't get in till 4pm  Angry.

Day4. Thursday 03/05/18. Early rise today at 6.30. Walking at 7.50am. 11 miles today but at least the rain has stopped. A really long and tough day today, as far as Whiting Bay. Straight onto and along the beach, which becomes increasingly rocky before turning into a full-blown boulder field around Bennan Head. No sign of any path anywhere. Past the enormous Black Cave and, at long last, exit onto the beach at Kildonan. Decision time now. The second boulder field around Dippin Head is longer and harder with no escape route. The inland route seemed more preferable  Smiley. A reasonably level and pleasant walk up to the Glenashdale Waterfall and then a steep and arduous descent into Whiting Bay. Our accommodation was at the furthest extremity of the resort. Makes tomorrow shorter  Smiley.

Day 5. Friday 04/05/18. Tight schedule today as we have to be on the ferry at 4.30pm. Up at 7am, breakfast at 8.30 and walking at 9.50. 11 miles again today and a hint of 'scotch mist' in the air. Pleasant walking to Kingscross Point. The route then descends to the beach where a series of boardwalk sections make the going easier. The route between the boardwalk sections is tough going, over rocks, seaweed and streams. A pleasant walk then, into Lamlash, where there was just time for a quick lunch  Wink. The last stretch into Brodick is slow along a narrow and rocky path where every footfall has to be scrutinised and measured. Exiting onto a steep climb up to Strathwhillan the route finally joins a road which brings you out less the 250 yards from the Brodick Ferry Terminal. Job done at 3.50pm. Phew!!

65 miles in 5 days of walking.

We used a bag-carrying service that was exemplary. Our luggage was always in situ upon our arrival. There are stretches of this route I would not like to have to carry a full pack on and places on the boulder fields where you wouldn't pass through!! For ?9 per drop I thought this was good value.

Details of the accommodation we used and an assessment of the drinking establishments we visited are under separate headings.
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