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 on: May 06, 2018, 09:08:07 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
A small group of us undertook to walk the Arran Coastal Way in April/May 2018 on a reasonable budget. Here follows the accommodation places where we stayed and the prices we paid.

1. Brodick. Brodick Bunkhouse. Behind Douglas Hotel. Unstaffed but accessed via Douglas Hotel Reception. Very clean, tidy and well-equipped. ?25pppn.

2. Lochranza. Youth Hostel. Clean and popular. Reception not open until 5pm. ?21.50pppn.

3. Blackwaterfoot. Blackwaterfoot Lodge B&B. Excellent accommodation and food as well as own bar. Close to other amenities too. ?45pppn.

4. Kilmory Bunkhouse. Good accommodation and facilities. Difficult to find staff. ?21pppn.

5. Burlington Guest House B&B. Excellent facilities and food but up for sale. No facilities nearby. 15 minute walk to nearest bar. ?45pppn.

Further information on request.

 on: May 06, 2018, 08:54:29 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
On deciding to walk the Arran Coastal Way I have endeavoured to make fellow walkers aware of the real ale drinking establishments, and otherwise, that we encountered during our journey.

1. En route to Ardrossan, on 29/04/18, we briefly visited the Sorn Inn at Sorn which is GBG 2018 listed. They had Orkney Raven Ale, which was very pleasant. In Brodick we visited the Ormidale Hotel, also GBG 2018 listed. They were serving Arran Best Bitter and Arran Blonde, both at ?4.40 per pint. Excellent.

2. 30/04/18. The Lochranza Hotel had Caledonian Golden IPA. On good form.

3. 01/05/18. Blackwaterfoot Lodge had Fyne Ales, Maverick, on handpull. Magnificent and a very keen owner. The GBG 2018 listed Kinloch Bar had Uisge Dubh Ale (brewed for the bar) at 3.8% and Fair Jenny's Jig at 4.4%.

4. 02/05/18. No real ale at the Lagg Hotel. There was keg Arran Blonde at ?5-90 a pint.

5. 03/05/18. Felicity's at Eden Lodge. No real ale. Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted in 330ml bottles. Schiehallion keg draught. Very gassy and cold.

6. 04/05/18. Pierhead Tavern in Lamlash, also GBG 2018 listed. Excellent. 3 handpulls. Skye Red at 4.2%, Fynefest at 4.3% and Arran Sunset at 4.4%. If only we'd had longer  Grin.

 on: May 06, 2018, 08:28:09 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
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.

 on: March 10, 2018, 08:19:25 am 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
Plans are now made for walking the ACW. I will post my accommodation findings on here upon my return in early May 2018.

 on: February 08, 2018, 04:40:18 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
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.

 on: August 28, 2017, 02:40:20 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
Does anyone have any information regarding accommodation on the Arran Coastal Way. I am contemplating taking this on in 2018 and would be grateful for any forthcoming assistance.

 on: July 30, 2017, 01:42:21 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
There now follows a list of the licensed houses I visited, and what traditional beers they had on offer, during my stroll along the South Downs Way in July 2017. All of the pubs I called at offered at least one real ale and all that I tried were of a good quality.

1. Wonston Arms, Wonston, Near Winchester. Thwaites Wainwright 4.1%, Bowman Ales Trebuchet Wheat Beer 4.5%, Redcat Raiona 6%. Listed in the 2017 GBG.

2. Shoe Inn, Exton. Wadworths IPA, 6X, Swordfish, Bishop's Tipple. Bath Ales Prophecy.

3. The Bluebell at Cocking. Ballards Best Bitter (gravity fed straight from the barrel.) Lovely.

4. Bridge Inn, Houghton Bridge, Amberley. GBG 2017 listed. Longman Brewery Long Blonde, Harvey's Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord. Landlord replaced by St Austell Tribute.

5. Squire and Horse, Bury. Arundel Sussex Gold, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter. 2 redundant handpulls  Sad.

6. Both of the youth hostels, at Truleigh Hill and Southease, had Wells Bombardier in bottles. Acceptable.

7. Abergavenny Arms, Rodmell. Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Dark Star Hophead and Dark Star Sunburst.

8. George Inn, Alfriston. Morland's Old Speckled Hen, Dark Star Hophead, Greene King Abbot Ale, Hardy's and Hanson's Old Trip.

9. Market Inn (Old Smuggler's), Alfriston. Longman American Pale Ale, Longman Sleeping Giant, Harvey's Olympia, Harvey's Sussex Best, Burning Sky Plateau Pale Ale and Seacider, traditional Sussex cider.

10. Star Inn, Alfriston. Longman Sleeping Giant and Longman Best Bitter.

Sadly there was insufficient time to visit any hostelries in Eastbourne. Something for another day, perhaps Wink.

 on: July 30, 2017, 01:13:46 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
Places I stayed and other observations following my walk along the South Downs Way in July 2017.

Sutton Scotney Services 20/07/17. The Days Inn. Excellent, well-equipped room. Very clean. ?27-50 pppn.

Wetherdown Lodge 21/07/17. Part of the Sustainability Centre. Excellent accommodation, friendly staff. Even undertook to dry out wet clothing. Self-catering facilities only. ?35pppn.

Moonlight Cottage Tea Room and B+B, Cocking, 22/07/17. I used the 4-bed bunkroom here. Well heated and comfortable. No running water and the shower is across the road and around the corner  Sad. Ample room to extend to provide in-house services. ?20pppn.

Harkaway B+B, Bury, 23/07/17. Over a mile from the SDW but worth the walk. ?30 pppn. There is now a South Downs Way bunkhouse about 250 yards from the Way. Wished I'd known this sooner.

Truleigh Hill YHA, 24/07/17. An excellently appointed youth hostel with its own caf? and drinks facility. Nice views too. ?21 pppn.

South Downs Way YHA, 25/07/17. Another excellently provisioned youth hostel situated right on the SDW. ?25 pppn.

Chestnuts B+B, Alfriston, 26/07/17. A lovely tearoom, coffee and cake shop and B+B with great hosts. Expensive at ?55 pppn for single occupancy and a better ?75 twin room. Great and proper oven-baked jacket potatoes. Cakes are made on the premises  Smiley. Nice village too.

Anyone requiring more details please feel free to contact me.

 on: July 30, 2017, 12:51:02 pm 
Started by Buggiba - Last post by Buggiba
As mentioned elsewhere the time had now come for me to undertake the 100-miles walk along the South Downs Way, leaving from Winchester and intending to arrive at Eastbourne 7 days later. Believe me, this was no walk in the park. I have traversed many multi-day walks, several in Scotland, and whilst not scaling the scenic heights of the Highlands, this walk should not be undertaken lightly.
Owing to the extortionate cost of the sole bag-carrying provider I had decided to pack light and carry my own gear. Won't be doing that again  Angry

Thursday 20th July 2017 found me driving to Sutton Scotney Services, on the A34, 6 miles north of Winchester. Accommodation prices in Winchester for a solo traveller are, to say the least, expensive. The services were the best option, leaving me to drive the last bit on Friday 21st July for an early start.

Friday 21st July 2017. Up at 4.45am and in the car at 5.15. Found a good parking space near the start of the walk and set off at 5.45am, only to have to declare a false start, as I had walked a quarter-of-a-mile before remembering I'd left my walking poles in the boot. Bugger. had to return for them and start again at 5.55. A dry day, to begin with. Pretty easy going and I found a welcome water stop at Holden Farm, not mentioned in any guide. I arrived at the Millbury's pub at 8.45!! Much too early  Angry. Kept going and made a 200-yard detour to the Shoe Inn at Exton as they opened their doors at 11am  Smiley. Left at 12 noon but got accosted by a local who kept me talking for 20 minutes. Loads of stiles and some steep ascents and descents during this first day. Slower after lunch too. Had only seen 3 cyclists and 2 dog walkers all day. Walked in to the Wetherdown Lodge at 4pm. A refreshing sight after an 18-mile first day. Rain set in just before 6pm and lasted all evening but no matter, nowhere to go anyway  Wink.

Saturday 22nd July 2017. Following a good nights sleep I was up at 5am and out walking by 6 o'clock. 17 miles today. The rain had ceased, but only for a time  Angry. Showers began about 8.30 and gradually turned to heavy rain. The downhill stretches on the wet chalk paths were unpredictable and dangerously slippery, slowing me down tremendously. Nowhere to stop for any break or refreshment today so had to plod along to my accommodation at Cocking, where I arrived at 4.10pm. The bunkhouse here was adequate for my needs but the rain continued until late into the evening.

Sunday 23rd July 2017. A lie-in this morning as only 12 miles to walk  Grin. Up at 7am. Time for a shower and breakfast before leaving at 9am. Took me half-an-hour to regain the SDW following a very steep climb. This was then replicated on the route, climbing for an eternity. The bright start gradually clouded over and I was forced to don wet-weather gear at the bench by the Gumber Bothy turnoff. Too early for my B+B at Bury so detoured to The Bridge Inn at Houghton for lunch  Wink. Arrived at guesthouse at 6.10.

Monday 24th July 2017. A great night's sleep but up at 5am again. 15 miles to walk today.  Ready to leave at 6 but noticed that it was now drizzling. Donned wet gear again and walked 20 minutes to rejoin the Way. Cloudy and intermittent showers today. Mostly easy-going with some steep downhill stretches. Decided against detour to Washington and continued on to the youth hostel at Truleigh Hill. As the name would suggest it is on a hill. The same hill is occupied by phone masts. It also rained heavily as I commenced my ascent  Sad. Very glad to arrive.

Tuesday 25th July 2017. Another 5am rise and a 6am start. 20 miles to do today but at least the weather looked set fair. Nice views out to the sea where the sun was actually shining  Cheesy. Met some interesting and some strange people today. Arrived at Pyecombe just after 9am and had a lengthy stop at the most convenient bench on the golf course, kindly donated by the Ladies Club Captain 'for those who appreciate the countryside as much as we do'. A fellow walker, a German man, was already resting here upon the arrival. Spent about an hour then pressed on the Ditchling Beacon where I took advantage of the ice-cream van so well located. From here it got very warm and I was pleased to have utilised the water taps along the route. Arrived at Southease at 5.20pm. Very tired but nice youth hostel.

Wednesday 26th July 2017. A short, thankfully, 7-mile walk to Alfriston today. Had a long lie-in to recover from yesterday. Started walking at 9.15am, just as the rain started. Awful day. Walking in cloud, wind and rain. Passed two phone masts, the tops of which were invisible. No stopping today. Just kept on into Alfriston, where the rain stopped. Arrived at 12.30. Soaked. Spent a pleasant afternoon in some pubs in the village, whilst drying out. Nice place.

Thursday 27th July 2017. The last day here already. About 11 miles to complete but included the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Another dry day  Smiley. Breakfast at 8 and walking by 9.20. Easy walking for the first few miles. Things changed on arrival at the Seven Sisters National Park. Several steep climbs and descents leading to the final climb at Beachy Head. A protracted descent then towards Eastbourne and the finish at the caf?/kiosk  Grin Grin Grin. Completed at 3.30pm.

The way-marking throughout the entire route is exemplary. Getting lost would only be possible should you not be paying attention or the mist or cloud descends. Can honestly say I never missed the way once  Smiley.

 on: July 30, 2017, 07:53:28 am 
Started by Jack - Last post by Jack
Well, I'm back from Scotland, suitably tired and muscles aching, but feeling very proud of my achievement. So, I'll get right down to business.
Day 1, Fort William to Gairlochy
Started out at Fort William, (the Soldiers Bridge has been finished and is now open) made my way in the rain along to Corpach Lock,  and then along the canal towpath to Gairlochy, when after pitching my tent the rain stopped and the sun came out. Met a nice guy from Amsterdam and we spent the evening telling tales of our past adventures.
Day 2, Gairlochy to Laggan Lock
Not a bad start to the day, the sun was out got my gear packed up, said goodbye to my new friend, and was on the trail again by 6:30. This is one of my favourite parts of the GGW, the walk alongside Loch Lochy, past Clunes then through the forest to come out at Kilfinan with a great view of Laggan Loch. Had a mug of coffee on the Eagle Barge, and stayed the night at the ever welcoming Great Glen Hostel.
Day 3, Laggan Loch to Fort Augustus.
On the trail by 7:00, for what proved to be a very easy and uneventful day, walked past the yet to be finished railway station museum, and made good time to the Aberchalder Bridge, where I met up with a nice German family who were camping by the loch side. After a short rest, I pushed on, back once again on the canel tow path, and  made Fort Augustus by 11:30, camped at the Stravaigers Lodge campsite and it rained. But, it held off long enough for me to sit and watch some of the boats go up and down the staircase of locks.
Day 4, Fort Augustus to Altsigh.
The start of the hills! So, from this day onwards it's hill walking of a sort, and after a short walk along a minor back road, you are faced with a short but fairly steep climb, then it's not bad going all the way to Invermorison, where I indulged in a cup of coffee at the corner shop, and it began raining. Left Invermoriston after a twenty minute break and made my way (slowly) up the next, but this time more serious hill, then it was all fairly straight forward walking all the way to the now refurbished and newly named Lochside Hostel, which most will remember fondly as the SYHA Loch Ness, but had a great night there and met some nice people from all over the world.
Day 5, Altsigh to Drumnadrochit
Left the Hostel at 6:00 and was immediately faced with one heck of a climb, 2 miles of relentless twisting and turning roads, which I took at my own slow pace, (well, after all I'm well past retirement age and I was carrying full camping gear) but, I got to the top to be rewarded by splendid views both up and down Loch Ness, the words spectacular do not do it justice. Made my way along an undulating trail eventually to arrive at Drumnadrochit at 12:30, and camped at the much improved and far better run Borlum campsite, pitched my tent had a shower, after which the sun came out in all it's force. Made my self a tea of Magi's Chow Mein noodles and coffee, then waited for the sun to go down and went to bed early, in preparation for tomorrow.
Day 6, Drumnadrochit to Inverness.
This day starts off so easy, easy that is until you get to Temple House. Then the climbing begins, short, narrow, up and down hill slopes to begins with. Then when you go through the gate and pass into the forest, it begins in earnest, and it just gets steeper and steeper the higher up you go, so take your time. As you get closer to the top, the path particularly on some of the sharp bends, could, to say the least do with some major attention, so be careful. Once at the top congratulate yourself on your achievement, but the climbing has not yet ended, it is still a steady and at time uphill slog all the way past Corryfoyness and well into the Abriachan forest. Then you arrive at the ever welcoming Eco-Cafe, and after consuming a bacon and egg cob and real coffee, I said my goodbyes, and begun my last leg. A two mile walk along a minor road with spectacular views of the Highlands, eventually takes you onto a small cinder path, which you follow practically all the way the way path Dunain hill, until you get your first view of the old hospital and of course your target, Inverness. Then, well it's all down hill easy walking, eventually reaching if only for a short time the Caledonian Canel and the Tomnahurich Bridge. A slight diversion now has to be followed because of major roadwords, but your tired legs should within 30 minutes take you to Inverness Castle and the stone monolith which marks the end of your long trek.

I had a good time this year doing the GGW, I met some nice people, will, I go back next year, well maybe not, but certainly I'll be there again the year after that. My advice to you, if you are thinking of doing the GGW, stop thinking about it, and just do it! Grin

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