In May I met up with a couple of friends who used to be neighbours. We used to like to go walking, say 10-15 miles, and I used to train with Paul for the Great North Run, regularly doing 5 to 8 miles.
My, but how times change!
John has just had both his knees replaced, and Paul is set to have both his done as well! I do keep reminding them that they are a good 10 years older than me, and John, a Glaswegian, said something guttural I didn’t quite catch!
So we had to be sensible, but still wanted to be in the open air and get around a bit. For years we had promised each other that we would visit The Isle of Arran. This after our last attempt when we got no further than the Isle of Bute as we were having such a good time.
So we decided now was the time to go, so Paul and I met John at his home in Gourock near the mouth of the Clyde. The first night he made us a fabulous meal with a nice drop of red and we were all set up for the next day.
John lives near the ferry to Dunoon, as we were going the scenic route, and he also volunteered to drive as he has a convertible! The other factor was that yet again I was lucky with the weather.
Sun and more sun
In fact this was the weekend when the whole country had great weather, and it reached 27c in Arran!
John drove us through beautiful scenic forests on the way to our next ferry at Portavadie. On the way we stopped at an official viewing spot, and wow what a view of The Kyle’s of Bute.
Then on to Portavadie (with its multi-million marina and hotel) for a coffee, and on to the next ferry to Tarbert. We then drove down to Claonaig which then took us by the final ferry to Lochranza in the north of Arran.
It was then a small windy coastal drive to Brodick, the capital of Arran, where we were staying. This was when we realised we were getting a bit sunburnt and hastily reapplied some sun lotion!
As we were only there 2 nights, we agreed to make the most of the following day, and on seeing a bike hire shop called in to reserve 3 bikes. A job well done we decided that the sun was well over the yardarm, and a real ale was very necessary to replace vital fluids.
Brodick is small, so finding our B&B was easy.
It was fine, and so was the restaurant we chose that night before collapsing into bed.
After collecting the bikes the next morning, we decided to go south along a main road then a track road that skirted a hill. This was fine and Paul & John, both experienced riders, took the lead.
I wobbled behind, seeming to find every bump in the road, and managing to miss every gear – there had to be a knack to this!
The track proved hilly and after a few miles petered out into nothing but a dead end. We turned back and eventually biked back along the sea front for a sit on a bench and some lunch.
It was at this point that I realised that to say the least, I was saddle sore. How on earth do people bike for tens upon tens of miles with no ill effects? Paul assured me you do get used to it, but that it took time.
Rested, and sun creamed again, we headed for the Castle, which funnily enough had a nice pub with real ale. Then to a local attraction called Arran Aromatics where we bought a present or two for the women in our lives.
I must admit that once back on the bike I was not enjoying it at all in the incredible heat, and we decided to call it a day at 4.30pm.
We has another nice evening in a pizza place, with a nightcap back at the Hotel. In the morning we got the direct ferry to Ardrossan, and then drove back to Gourock through Largs.
What a lovely place Arran is. Of course most places are attractive with superb weather, but I plan to return. I would definitely recommend Arran as somewhere to visit.
What a Show!
You may remember that I was extremely fortunate to see the show One Man Two Guvnors in London & New York this year.
I love comedy, and particularly a good farce. This production excelled and my jaw ached I laughed so much.
Well, the star of the show James Cordon has just been awarded a Tony, one of the top awards in the USA.
In my view it is thoroughly deserved – well done James.