With the bank holiday and me not working for a change, Jules and I decided to boost for the weekend.
We settled on Arran and hastily booked accommodation finally finding a place in Lamlash called Oakbank Farm.
Next was the Ferry to be booked ! this turning out to be bad news as almost all crossings were booked only leaving the 7am crossing with space.
An alpine start was called for so the car was packed the night before and alarms set for 5am !
We woke to the sun just coming up and were on the road as the sun started coming right up.
It was a bit weird to be taking in the sunrise from the car and not from a tent or rock on a mountain.
We crossed over to Arran and checked into the accommodation and contemplated the plan of attack.
As usual the weather forecast was not great so we decided to take advantage of the present good weather and climb to the highest point on the island Goatfell.
We popped into one of the outdoor shops to pick up a map but did not linger long to look at kit as the selection was poor (thats being polite!)
We parked the car at the Brodick Country Park side of the hill and set off up the good track in the sun.
At 874 m and almost a sea level start its a fair hike in up the motorway of a path that snakes up the hill.
Once up on the main shoulder it gets a bit steeper and rockier.
Some of the rock formations are amazing.
A short pull up through the rocks rewarded us with a windy summit and a look back down the hill to see the snake of tourists coming up behind us.
The ridge from here to Beinn Tarsuinn looks impressive and tempting but Jules was feeling the climb and my knee was starting to get tender again from the Ben Lui trip.
We headed back down the hill in the sun and stopped off at the pub at the bottom for some late lunch.
We woke on Sunday to sunshine again.
We headed over to Brodick again and headed out on the bikes on some tracks which were badly signposted !
We ended up pushing up a narrow path next to an impressive wee gorge.
At one point I was trying to ride up the hill when the the back wheel spun in the grit, I came to a stop lost my balance and did not manage to get my foot out my clips as I fell of the edge of the path down into the gorge !
I managed to grab a bush and climbed out with my bike back onto the path to the amusement of Jules.
Finally we reached the big track that we could actually ride.
We were rewarded with a nice wee downhill section and stopped off to visit te Castle before heading back to Brodick.
The rain fell on Monday as we packed up for the ferry at a more friendly time.
All in all we were a wee bit disappointed with Arran.
It has the potential but it just isnt there yet.
The food available in restaurants and bars is all very much the same from place to place and lacks true Scottish Fare.
Bike routes and paths are not well marked or displayed/advertised with the tourist board.
An old mate Callum lives on the island and runs Arran Adventure but I couldn’t get a signal on my phone so missed his call.
I reckon getting him to act as a guide would be the way to get some good biking done on the island.
It was good to get away from work !