It was a fond farewell to Lochranza Campsite as we drove to Blackwaterfoot to start day five of our walk. We’d definitely be back, lovely friendly staff and clean facilities.
Day 5 – Blackwaterfoot to Lagg (12 km/7.5 miles)
My Garmin recorded 13.7 km/8.5 miles
Wow, look at our map and how far we’ve walked already!
Today was a more relaxing drive as we didn’t need to catch an early bus. We would leave our car at Blackwaterfoot, walk to Lagg, then get the bus back. We would then drive to Kildonan to see if we could book a tent pitch at the Seal Shore Campsite. We didn’t book any accommodation in advance for our walks, so we hoped that there was space! If not, we had our two person tent and we could wild camp. Walking in June before the school holidays also meant that it wasn’t as busy.
The public toilets at Blackwaterfoot were closed so we had to ask the Kinloch Hotel if we could use their facilities. There was a small fee of 50p which I didn’t mind paying. It was just that I felt bad walking into the hotel with my dirty walking boots! When you’re preparing for a long walk you need to hydrate, then you need the obvious. Public toilets need to be open.
After a very short walk, we sadly parted with Anne as she was walking the road today. We’d meet her again at Sliddery though as we’d be back on the road again to walk to Lagg. We even thought we might have time to go further today, depending on the tide. I was hoping to walk around Bennan Head to Kildonan to see the Black Cave.
The Cardiff Ramblers had also started their walk, we could see them behind us. I was pleased to see them again and it was becoming a nice daily habit.
We reached the Preaching Cave, so of course I had a look. I didn’t like the graffiti all over the cave walls but there was another coincidence! The initials DMA were on the wall. These were my new initials!
When Alan and I first visited Arran in 2006 we walked to the Giants’ Graves. There was a list of names engraved on one of the stones. Both our surnames were on it … now 11 years later my new initials were on this cave’s wall. Spooky!
The Preaching Cave was used from 1851-21 instead of the parish church. The congregation seemingly didn’t like the minister and they preferred to worship here. It’s a fair trek along the beach to go to church.
The Cardiff Ramblers caught up with us at the Preaching Cave, then they stopped for their elevenses. It was someone’s birthday, I think it was Ruth, and they had strawberries to celebrate.
I normally drink water when I’m exercising, but this walking challenge was making me crave sugar. Irn Bru really did get me through!
The Cardiff Ramblers were on the move again and this was where we parted as we walked different paths.
According to this signpost the yellow route was up, up and up! Our Arran Coastal Way Rucksack Reader was telling us to keep walking along the coast. We weren’t sure if the uphill route would take us to the road and we preferred to stay on the coast as much as possible. So, rather than follow the leaders, we continued along the coast. This was where the route became a little bit confusing.
We walked through a field with cows nearby. I didn’t like the way they were looking at us though, then one started to stamp its foot. We quickly walked down towards the rocky beach and boulder hopped for a wee while.
As we were boulder hopping along the beach we spotted two peeks out of the water. I had to get closer so I walked towards our amazing ocean.
Two seals were peeking out now and then. They are so curious with cute big eyes!
The next surprise was that Alan seen what looked like a sub lying on the rocks. It was an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) that is used by the Royal Navy for underwater research. There was a message on the AUV to contact the Royal Navy if you find it. Alan took some photos and its coordinates so he could report it once we had access to Wi-fi.
The tide was out and the beach was simply stunning. I love a mix of rocks and sand, makes it more adventurous.
The sand was untouched, strangely I couldn’t even see any seashells on it.
The volcanic plug Ailsa Craig was also peeking out of the ocean. The island is a bird sanctuary with granite being mined here from the early 1800s – 1971 to make curling stones. Olympic ones at that! One day I will climb to the summit of Ailsa Craig and look across to the Isle of Arran.
This was proving to be a very eventful walk today. The next surprise was Alan spotted a sea otter on a rock! He slowly stepped through the boulders towards the rock to try and capture a close up. This wee otter didn’t even flinch and carried on munching away at what we think was seaweed.
Our walk then became confusing. We looked up the hill and noticed tiny wee dots that were the Cardiff Ramblers sitting on a Dun (Torr a’ Chaisteil Dun) eating again … How did they get there? Did we go the wrong way after all? It’s not that there was a wrong way, I just wanted to follow the coastal route as much as I could so I wouldn’t miss anything interesting.
We were supposed to be looking for an old quarry and two cottages with a track back up to the road near Sliddery. There was no obvious route that we could see. We might have strayed too far towards the coast though.
While we were trying to decide which way to go Alan fell down through a hole. Luckily he was okay. His Garmin was scratched but his screen protector saved it! Anne had already text us to say she was waiting at Sliddery for us, we didn’t want to keep her waiting too long.
We needed to find a way back up, so we walked towards what we thought was a path near two cottages, but it turned out to be a field and a way out through a farm.
When we reached the road, we seen a signpost for Corriecravie. What? The signpost for Corriecravie was back at the uphill climb where we’d left the Cardiff Ramblers ages ago! We’d already walked a fair distance along the coast. We couldn’t believe we were still in Corriecravie.
I was texting Anne to let her know that we were on the road, and I didn’t know how long it would take us to get there. Stupidly, I was texting and walking at the same time and fell down a pothole in the road filled with water … flat on my face, phone fell out of my hand and slid across the road. I was so lucky, my phone didn’t smash.
On the road we passed a signpost for the Torr a’ Chaisteil Dun where we seen the Cardiff Ramblers. They must have walked the road and then went back down to the beach. We’d swapped places!
It turned out that we didn’t have far to go to reach Anne at Sliddery but we did come back up the wrong way. We should have continued along the coast but there were no way markers that we could see.
We reached Sliddery and met Anne sitting at the bus stop. This was where we were supposed to exit the beach! Oh well, it was back on the road again.
This church looked as if it wasn’t in use, such a nice building.
It was exciting to see that a second whisky distillery and visitor centre was being built on the island at Lagg. The south of the island is just as beautiful as the north!
The Lochranza whisky distillery was really nice too, I must try the whisky tour sometime. I’m not a whisky drinker though. I tried it once and it tasted like TCP antiseptic … yuck! I was told that was not the whisky to taste for my first time.
Yay! We reached Lagg and a cold refreshing drink was calling us, and a toilet break. The Lagg Hotel is so picturesque, old and worldly. I really liked the feel of the place.
The owner was so friendly and Alan got chatting about the sea otter we’d seen. She posted a copy of Alan’s photo on the Lagg Hotel Facebook page. It’s nice to share. It was cold drinks all round and Anne met a new friend called Charlie.
The Cardiff Ramblers arrived at Lagg soon after. They were confused with the route too and couldn’t understand why they ended up back on the road following the signpost on the beach. I read later on the Arran Coastal Way Facebook Page that walking up to the road at Corriecravie is an alternative option to the coastline. The coastal walk doesn’t appear to be signposted very well though, unless we missed it.
We were thinking of continuing on to Kildonan, but Alan and I couldn’t walk to the Black Cave as the tide was in. If I remember right, we might not have reached Kildonan in time for the bus, so we ended our day’s walking at Lagg. This would give us time to pick up the car and drive to Kildonan. We would hopefully have time for a nice meal tonight, I thought, as the Kildonan Hotel was beside the campsite!
When we arrived at the campsite I was so pleased they had space for us. I did ask if there were any camping pods available, but they were booked. The owner then mentioned that he did have a gypsy caravan…
Now that was something different to try, we just couldn’t say no! Seemingly Jade Jagger has stayed overnight in this Gypsy Caravan too …
It was a bit wobbly walking up the steps and the caravan needed an airing, but it was so beautifully hand painted and cosy looking inside. Electrical points were a bonus too as we needed to charge our camera batteries.
This was somewhere unique to stay for our honeymoon. The lovely couple camping next to us took a wee photo of us. Thank you!
We opened the window, freshened up as much as we could and walked to the Kildonan Hotel next to the campsite for some yummy dinner! The Cardiff Ramblers were staying at the hotel, I almost didn’t recognise them with their normal clothes on!
I enjoyed an Arran Blonde lager with my dinner then felt quite tired. We still went for a short walk along the beach though to check out the views and our friendly neighbours.
Such beautiful views across to Ailsa Craig and the island of Pladda!
I was hoping to see the seals this night, the campsite was called Seal Shore after all. We were told that they bask on the rocks further along the coast though.
I gazed across to the coastline where we we’d be walking the next day, hopefully I’d see the seals tomorrow.
We retired to the cosy gypsy caravan and this was the best night’s sleep I’d had so far! Tomorrow we’d be walking from Lagg to Whiting Bay (16 km/10 miles). We also hoped to reach Lamlash if we had time so that our last day of walking would be shorter.
I hope you’re enjoying my island walking story so far. Only two more days to tell you about!
Thanks for reading.
Catch up on my other walking days
- The secret wedding
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 1 – Brodick to Sannox
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 2 – Sannox to Lochranza
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 3 – Lochranza to Imachar
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 4 – Imachar to Blackwaterfoot
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 5 – Blackwaterfoot to Lagg
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 6 – Lagg to Whiting Bay
- Arran Coastal Way – Day 7 – Whiting Bay to Brodick