Most of my previous walking has been done in the Lake District. When I open the OS map to plan a walk, it is criss-crossed with green and black dashed lines indicating footpaths and right of ways. This was not the case when I opened a map of Arran. Contours and streams were there, and lots of other symbols, lines and colours that make maps so brilliant to look at – but not too many footpaths. I guess the Scottish Outdoor Access Code means that much of the landscape is one big right of way (within reason). But it came as a bit of a shock when I was trying to plan a day in the hills for us. After consulting my guide book, I decided that Coire Fhionn Lochan would be the walk for us.
One of the great things about Arran is just going for a drive and pulling in to different places to see what is there. I suppose that can be the same anywhere really. After a morning spent at Kildonnan looking for seals, we decided to drive round the island, pulling in wherever we fancied. It was getting late when we drove into a picnic area at North Sannox. It was a gorgeous spot. After messing around for a while at the spot where North Sannox Burn enters the sea, we decided we head back to the cottage for some tea. Before we left, I checked the information board and noticed that we could start a walk to Fallen Rocks from here.
After we’d visited Machrie Moor Stone Circle, there was still plenty of time left for more adventure, so we drove the short distance down the road to Torr Righ Beag, a coniferous forest by the sea. From here, we could walk down to the beach to explore the King’s Cave, but not before the customary check of the information board. Here, we found a circular walk which, for no particular reason, we chose to do clockwise. We made our way to a forest track on the left hand side of the car park.
Last year, Rick and I got married. It was a lovely weekend in the Lake District not dampened in the slightest by the inevitable (for the Lakes) rain. With Rowan now at school, we had to wait for the summer holidays for our honeymoon, but the end of August saw us heading north to visit Scotland in Miniature – the beautiful Isle of Arran.
After listening to me harping on about walking in the Lakes, my friend Beth decided she would like to go hill walking. As it would be her first walk, we wanted something with not too many miles, but at the same time, managing to satisfy Beth’s motto of “go big or go home”. The Langdale Pikes with their stunning scenery and little bits of scrambling opportunity were hopefully, going to be the perfect walk. So, joined by Angela, we set off early one Saturday morning in July.
You may have noticed from some of my blog posts that, occasionally, I get a little confused with my navigation. From taking a bearing with the direction of travel arrow pointing in the opposite direction and squinting to try and find paths I can see in the real world but not on the map, to just generally doubting my map reading and decisions – I decided it was time to do something about it and booked myself on not one, but two navigation courses.