I picked up Bob and drove down to Wemyss Bay for the 9.25 ferry to Rothesay which was surprisingly empty give that it was a glorious morning.There`s always someting special about a day out that begins with a ferry trip.
Arran ridge behind Rothesay as we come in to berth…
The back of ten and it was already very hot.Thankfully the first five miles through Port Bannantyne and round to Glen More were reasonably flat but after leaving the main road the grunt up the glen reduced me to pushing for a stretch.Dumped the bikes amidst a voracious pack of savage clegs and made haste up the land rover track which leads up the glen and on to the highest point of Bute,Windy Hill.This turned into a faint quad track before disappearing completely into soft boggy ground.Nothing to write home about though as my feet remained dry even though in my trainers.As well as being on the Marilyn list it features on a few others, the main one of interest to me being it`s an island high point. As you would expect it had a reasonably good all round view though it must be said that the hill itself was pretty boring 🙂
Bob walking off the hill….
Back on the bikes we freewheeled down to the main road and turned right to Ettrick Bay .
The wee cafe at the start of the beach was packed to the gunwhales…everybody sitting inside would you believe on a day like today.Hard to believe,isn`t it ?
We cycled along the beach which stretched for a mile….
The only other folk we saw were at the other end of the bay…
Back onto the main road for a few miles and then took a right turn down to the wee village of Straad and St.Ninians Bay.
Straad with the Arran hills as a backdrop….
The beach was mobbed…two folk and a dug 🙂
Back up the road towards Rothesay again and we pulled over half way across the island to go up Barone Hill which is a Hump with a trig…my delight knew no bounds 🙂 Brilliant rocky wee summit with great all round views….
I had by now ran out of liquids and was desperate to get back to Rothesay.Unfortunately, as Bob had the only map, I was in his hands.I should have suspected something extra was to be squeezed out of the day when my inbuilt compass told me I was heading in the wrong direction.Down a wee country road which turned into a track, through some trees and across a causeway to Loch Fad.A nice tranquil spot though and it was and well worth the extra pedalling.
Loch Fad with the Arran hills behind.
I consoled myself with the thought that I might at least see the ospreys here but guessed it would be the wrong time of day.Got talking to a guy with the most expensive camera and lens I have ever seen who told me they were there 10 minutes previously.He showed me some cracking shots of the osprey with a large trout it had just caught.We agreed it would probably not be back for ages now so set off up the hill and then the long freewheel down into Rothesay itself which was now mobbed in the evening sunshine.
We watched the Waverley coming into berth to the sounds of an enterprising piper on the pier looking to make a few bob,but,as it was full of Glaswegians I doubt if it was worth his effort . Just a minute or so before it berthed two vanloads of police pulled up just in case,well,it was the Glasgow Fair I suppose 🙂
A nice sail back in the warm evening sunshine with views up north to the Cobbler and Beinn Narnain was only spoiled by the wildlife photographer telling us that the osprey had indeed returned ten minutes after our departure and had the decency to hang around posing for him with yet another large trout in its talons 🙂
I hadn`t been here since I was a kid but aim to go back very soon for the circular walk from Kilchattan to St.Blane`s Hilll via Garroch Head which Bob rates in his top ten Scottish walks.
Thoroughly enjoyed myself 🙂