Arran – May 2014 (by Clare Johnson)

‘Arran is lovely … wish you were here.’  So we said on our postcards, and you should have been there because it really was!  The tourist guides claim Arran is Scotland in miniature and that is pretty spot on.  The select group of Wessex Mountaineers who arrived to stay at the Lochranza campsite managed to enjoy both a beautiful coastline and the mountainous centre.

DAJ had picked up a hitchhiker off Holy Island
DAJ had picked up a hitchhiker off Holy Island

Minimal tidal flow and low winds saw a fair amount of sea kayaking during the week.  Having yomped over half the island on the first day (carrying all his worldly needs for the week) Henry’s knees took no persuading to spend a day sat down in a kayak provided by Laura who just happened to have a spare one [Henry: and had transported all my climbing gear up to Arran for me too!].  A circumnavigation of Holy Isle, just off the east coast of Arran, made an interesting little tour.  In return Henry took Laura up some good solid granite climbing on Cir Mhor the next day. Daj and Clare tagged along again climbing the parallel route.  (South Sou’wester Slabs S ** and Sou’ wester Slabs VD ***)

Henry climbing on Cir Mhor
Henry climbing on Cir Mhor

Steve and Helen spent the week making the most of their wedding presents … a pair of sleek new sea kayaks …. especially useful for those seal watching videos!  Dave Mac [Henry: when did Dave arrive?!] and Brian got the most mountain walking done, enjoying the best of the compact but varied and exciting mountainous area.  The granite outcrops gave some cracking ridge traverses and Clare and Daj, in preparation for the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon scooted along the A’Chir ridge one day and a horseshoe ridge from North Sannox taking in the ‘Witches Step’ another.  Both routes had enough scrambling to keep the interest peaked and Clare was grateful for the rope on a couple of sections.
Clare would like to make special mention of the quality and quantity of coffee shops dotted conveniently all over this most welcoming of islands.  Cake of the week, Tunisian polenta and almond …. yum!
So, Yes it does take more than a few hours to drive up here and the CalMac monopoly of the ferries will set you back a pretty penny BUT for a week on this glorious little island which offers so much, we thought it was well worth it.

Steve and Helen enjoying their wedding presents
Steve and Helen enjoying their wedding presents

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