Arran Coastal Way ~ Day 1: Brodick to Sannox

 Our wedding day was over, so it was time to rest our weary eyes to re-energise for day one of our coastal walk. This was My Peak Challenge and honeymoon combined. I’m so lucky that my husband wanted to share my challenge.

It was a tale of two different days …

Off with the new fancy clothes, and on with the old outdoor ones. This was what we were used to wearing. After the lovely clear night before, it was back to good old cloud and rain. Dreich. I don’t mind it so much though, I just miss seeing the views.

We enjoyed a tasty breakfast in the morning at the Glenartney Guesthouse with Anne and Kathy. Yummy poached eggs on toast for me, fuel for the day!

We packed our gear into our car and said a fond farewell to Room 9 at the Glenartney, which ironically was the same date we were married! We were also staying on the island for 9 nights …

As we drove down to the Brodick promenade the rain was showing us no mercy.  We left our car parked in Brodick for the day and Alan was going to pick it back up after our day’s walk.

Day 1 – Brodick to Sannox (12 km/7.5 miles)

My Garmin recorded 18.7 km/11.6 miles

Arran Coastal Way Website – Brodick to Sannox

Arran2017Day1Waterproofs were a must today. We were supposed to be climbing Goat Fell, but we couldn’t even see it. I was sad that Anne and Kathy wouldn’t get to see the magnificent views.

I forgot to bring my day backpack and only had a smaller one for the day with no rain cover. I did have my huge 65 litre backpack as I thought we’d be carrying everything but it was too big. So, I had to put everything in plastic bags to make sure they didn’t get soaked, even my camera bag!

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❤ The newlyweds ❤
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👍 The peaker team ☺

I try to be optimistic and thought we’ll just go as far as we safely can.  Anne climbed her first Munro with us last year and she knew what to expect, but Kathy had never experienced anything like this at all.

The Fisherman’s walk was a totally different experience than last year when I ran along beach in December for my Marcothon Challenge. No views to gasp at, but they were still there.

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Fisherman’s Walk

The foggy beach walk was quite refreshing!

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Brodick Beach
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Anne and Kathy at the Goat Fell start point

This was the start of our upwards journey to as far as we could go. When you climb Goat Fell you start at sea level, zero, so you’re hiking the full 2,867 feet (874m). This would be my fifth time climbing the mighty Goat Fell.

Even though it was raining it felt quite warm. The rain started to ease off as we got higher, we were in the cloud rather than below it.

The fog was not easing off at all which made it more difficult to enjoy. It’s a tough climb with uneven ground and boulders if you’re not used to it. What makes it more enjoyable is to stop now and then and take in the views, but today this wasn’t to be.

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Rocky ascent in the fog

Occasionally the cheeky mountain cloud would give us a wee peek of what was around us, only for a brief moment though!

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Fog watch!

Alan and I knew what we should be seeing around us, but Anne and Kathy had no idea and I felt a little sad that they were missing out on the beauty.

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Foggy climb

We eventually reached the bridge which is around half way.

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Foggy Bridge

We plodded on and finally reached the shoulder of the Goat Fell. The Arran Coastal Way yellow route is to turn back here and walk down to Corrie. Climbing to the summit is optional.

We knew there was no point going to the summit. The last part is very challenging, more so in the current weather conditions. I was so proud of Anne and Kathy reaching the shoulder in such conditions. They climbed 2000 feet!

So, group decision was let’s head back down as we still had a fair bit of walking to go to reach Sannox, and catch the bus in time.

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At the shoulder of Goat Fell

This was the first time Alan and I had walked down this path to Corrie, so I was quite excited to try something new. I didn’t realise how close to the edge we were!

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Back down to Corrie

As we got closer to civilisation and out of the cloud there was sunshine below! I loved the look on Anne and Kathy’s faces when they seen the ocean and views below.

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Smiles as the cloud clears

Now this was more like it. Two different worlds all in one day.

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Blue sky and puffy white clouds!

The obstacle course over the burn was the next challenge. With the heavy rain recently it was no rippling burn. I had been taking some video footage on our walk, so decided to record Alan helping Anne and Kathy across the burn.

Unfortunately, there were a few slips and falls … pride injured, wet feet and painful bruises. In hindsight, we should have crossed one at a time and I should have been helping rather than recording.

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Tackling the boulders and rushing burn!

Anne and Kathy still stayed strong and carried on regardless.

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Still going strong

I loved walking down beside the waterfalls. The sound of the water was just what I needed after the foggy mountain.

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Lush green forests
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Water falling

We eventually reached ground level and walked towards the pretty village of Corrie. Anne and Kathy rented a lovely cottage here, so they were still to check in.

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Walking to Corrie

Corrie has such a beautiful sandstone coastline.

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Corrie and its sandstone
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Corrie coastline

I jokingly said to Anne and Kathy it was time to relax those achy legs with a bath. This bath!

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Doctor MacCredie’s sandstone bath

It was carved out for Doctor MacCredie around 1835. He believed bathing in the salty sea water was healthy. It measures around 12ft long, 5ft wide and 5ft deep. I really wanted to take my boots off and dip my sore feet in, but we didn’t have time. I will return and dip them in one day!

Anne and Kathy checked into their cottage and Alan and I kept walking to the bus stop at Sannox. I said a loving cheerio to Alan as he boarded the bus. He was picking up the car at Brodick while I continued walking along the coastline to North Sannox picnic area. We were going to wild camp there for the night. Look at his wee face.

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Tired looking face

I didn’t mind walking alone, it was exciting, especially as I had never walked this way before.

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I love stepping stones!

After the fun stepping stones, I walked on to the beach to enjoy a deep breath and wow moment. I stood for a few minutes and listened to the waves.

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Pebbles on the beach

I turned around to see the mountains tower high above me then walked back on to the coastal path.

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Mountains near Glen Sannox
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Looking back towards Sannox
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Path to North Sannox

I loved this route and was surprised at the cliffs that ran beside the path. It felt like I was walking through a huge canyon. There was not another soul in sight.

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Cliffs along the path

I eventually realised I was getting close to the picnic area as I recognised it in the distance. We’d been there before by car. I could see a few tents already pitched in the field. I walked up alongside the river to a bridge and then back down towards the coast.

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River walk

I sat beside the river and waited for Alan. The public toilets next to the picnic area were closed because of government budget cuts. While I understand that spending needs to be reduced, toilets are so needed at these wild camping spots. Especially those of us walking the Arran Coastal Way after a long day’s walk. We’re not animals in the wild … or are we?

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The river meets the ocean

The tree swing looked tempting, but then Alan arrived with the car and our gear. Time to get the tent up before it got dark. The wind was really picking up too.

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Tree swing

After a while trying to find flattish ground, we pitched our two person tent. It’s a really light tent at 1.5kg. Airbeds up, sleeping bags in and we filled a crate with everything we thought we might need. It was getting so cold with the wind and I was really hungry.

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Tent pitched

Boiler on, add some hot water and dinner was served at nearly 10pm. Sadly, I never got time to write about my day in my new journal my work colleague gave me.

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Our dinner

We eventually thought we were settled for the night, then the wind was blowing like a hoolie with heavy rain to help it along. We started to worry that our light weight tent might not survive the night. Alan lifted everything out of the tent and took it back to the car in case we needed to make an emergency evacuation!

We crossed our little glow lights like light sabers … may the force be with us!

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May the force be with us

It had been a challenging day for us all, but we made it. There was another early start ahead of us in the morning, so we needed to try and sleep. Goodnight wife, goodnight husband …

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Tent at dusk

My next post will be walking from Sannox to Lochranza 9 miles/14.5 km.

Thanks for reading!

Dawn-Marie x

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