A fabulous round island tour of Arran was our July antic. The forecast was for sunshine, our diaries were unusually empty, and so our impromptu antic commenced.
All we needed was a small rucksack each. We both had a camera, some water, from the tap of course. I packed a picnic rug, a small sketch book, watercolour paint and a few brushes. I also packed a towel because we thought a swim or a paddle very likely. Finally and most important, our essential bus passes!
The morning began with a leisurely two minute walk to the bus, Stagecoach 323 the 10.15am. Whiting Bay to Brodick was the first stage of our tour.
We enjoyed a very pleasant journey to Brodick, admiring the views all the way. Sunshine sparkling on the sea, a big blue sky and a lovely warm day. It doesn’t matter how many times you make the journey, Arran is stunningly beautiful. All around the island there are magical breath taking views, which are never quite the same from one moment to the next. We never take them for granted and that day was no exception. Sorry we can’t share the views, taking pictures from a bus moving bus is not possible.
We decided our first stop would be Lochranza, it is at the north end of the island and we don’t often visit it. We had to change buses in Brodick at the ferry terminal to the 324. Stagecoach had put on an extra bus because the island is very very busy. People travelling to villages before Lochranza were directed to the second bus. We chose a seat towards the rear of the bus to get a good view; we were seated before the passengers arrived off the incoming ferry. The ferry arrived and the bus began to fill up, and up and up and still they came! People with golf bags, suitcases, rucksacks and bags, prams and dogs! Everyone moved towards the back, but still more passengers needed to get on, so they all moved a bit closer, children sat on laps and dogs were pushed under seats! Try as he might, the driver could not quite manage to get everyone on board. Bus no 2 departed equally overcrowded.
Our view was not quite the one we expected but the journey was very entertaining. One or two passengers needed to get off the bus in Corrie. The bus stopped but no one got off. Of course the person needing to get off was right at the back of the bus and standing and had a dog! The problem was logistical, a helpful passenger shouted “If everyone standing gets off, she can come through and we can get back on again” Good plan, but how many people on the bus were non English speaking? Several of the ones standing were unsure about getting off. Just imagine if this happened to you in a foreign country. After some gentle taps and some pointing to the rear of the bus and encouraging smiles, everyone standing got off the bus, a wave from the departing passengers and everyone got back on again. Off we went and eventually arrived in Lochranza.
First stop “The Sandwich Station” for a coffee and a sandwich each, to set us up for the rest of the day. What a choice, well worth a visit the sandwiches are delicious.
Second Stop, community toilet, it’s important!
“Oh look, the ferry is coming in”
Lochranza is the site of Arran’s second ferry port. The ferry Catriona sails between Lochranza and Claonaig, and the journey takes about 30 minutes.
We could just jump on that ferry, not literally of course. Why not? we have all day and we have our Ferry Passes. A quick check of the bus times and we decided to go for a sail, but stay on the ferry. It was a beautiful day for a cruise.
More stunning views, a gentle breeze, sunshine and the sound of gentle waves lapping the sides of the ferry. It was so relaxing.
We returned to Lochranza to explore the shore.
When you enjoy crafting there is always a treasure trove at your feet on a beach. Every beach is special and quite different. Lynne even found a fossil. I love to paint shells and stones it’s something I plan to do much more of especially in the winter. Lynne will be sewing, I will be painting. That’s the plan.
So I gathered up a little collection and decided to add try and be clever by adding Lochranza Castle as background to my image. This involved placing the collection on the jetty and me lying down, I managed it with my point and shoot camera. Feeling very pleased with myself I looked up, only to see a man not two yards from me with a camera lens at least a foot long! It was really quite funny, but I did decide to swipe away my little collection, just to make sure he couldn’t steal my idea!
By now it was time for our bus to continue to our next stop Blackwaterfoot, a beautiful small village.
This bus was quieter and we were able to fully enjoy and appreciate all the wonderful scenery. We passed the sign for King’s Cave and promised to return soon as neither of us have done that walk.
First some shopping, The harbour Shop offer take away coffee which was just what we needed. A few purchases made, then we stopped by The Arran Butcher. Next over the road for some artisan bread at the Blackwaterfoot bakehouse .
It was time for another beach, we chose to stay close to the bus stop so we stayed in front of the Kinloch Hotel just a few yards from the stop. Time for more sunbathing and relaxing, Lynne wished she had brought a book. I tried out a wee sketch of the view.
Back to the bus stop, the last leg of our journey back to Whiting Bay via the south end.
Still glorious sunshine, this time Lynne and I were the only two on Garry’s bus until we reached Kildonan! Where do all the people go?
The south end is stunning too. You also get a better view from a bus than a car. Lagg was looking picturesque as usual. We had a great view across the water of Pladda light house and Ailsa Craig as we came down the hill towards Kildonan. The bus stopped to let more people on at Eas Mor (waterfall walk) in high Kildonan. We were happy to share our bus.
Next stop Whiting Bay, Lynne’s stop and a little further along the road mine. A great day was ended with a cheery comment from Garry “Thank you for travelling with Stagecoach today” brilliant!.