Arran Coastal Way ~ Day 7: Whiting Bay to Brodick

Today was our last walking day. Alan’s knees were still painful from the day before. I knew this last day was going be a struggle physically and mentally.

We packed up the tent and drove to Brodick to leave our car at the finishing point. This would be so much easier than having to go all the way back to Whiting Bay after a long day’s walk. We missed the early bus back from Brodick to Whiting Bay though, so this wasn’t an ideal start to our day.

Anne would be starting at Lamlash today and walking with her daughter. I was pleased she had company today. She walked solo from Lagg to Lamlash the day before on the road. Today her walk should be more relaxing.

Day 7 – Whiting Bay to Brodick (18 km/11 miles)

My Garmin recorded 22.3 km/13.9 miles

Look at our walking map! I’m so proud of us all. One more stretch and we will have conquered the beautiful Isle of Arran.Arran2017Day7.png

It was about 10.30am when the bus dropped us off at Whiting Bay. I was tired, so thought a coffee might help wake me up. I popped into The Shore Cafe for a take away coffee. At least I wasn’t dripping all over the floor today!

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Whiting Bay

As I sipped my walking coffee, I tried to convince Alan to pop into the chemist for a knee support. He was adamant that he didn’t want one and started to walk at a faster pace ahead of me. He knew we had a long way to go and our late start didn’t help. He was a little bit grumpy.

I didn’t mind walking alone, I stop quite a bit to take photos. Then I realised we’d been married for one week exactly today and it was 11am. My husband was marching on in front, gradually becoming a red dot in the distance. Oh well “happy one-week anniversary” I mumbled to myself.

Our Rucksack Reader recommended that we walk to Lamlash via the Glenashdale Falls and forestry track. I love the falls, but I’ve seen them a few times now and wanted to experience the coastline. I walked through Whiting Bay, and eventually spied the signpost for the coastal way.

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Lamlash 4.5 miles/7.5 km

It wasn’t long until I reached a different signpost for Kingscross, but there were two ways I could go, I couldn’t see Alan anywhere.

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Right or left?

If I followed the signpost for Kingscross (left) it looked like it would take me away from the coast. If I turned right it would take me the coastal way, I could see the beach. There was no Arran Coastal Way marker here and I didn’t know what way Alan had gone. I knew we should be walking to Kingscross point, but which way did he go?

I decided to turn right as the coast was the obvious way to go. I walked past some houses then the road came to an end. I could see right along the coast but there was no Alan to be seen, or any waymarkers.

I turned back and started walking the other way. I followed the signpost for Kingscross and walked an uphill track for at least 1km. I reached a road with two directions to choose from. I’m not the best map reader, but I pulled out my Rucksack Reader to have a look at where I thought I was. The map in the reader was showing me to take the coastal route. I tried calling Alan and texting but there was no signal. I had no idea where he had gone. I thought he would have waited for me.

Then a couple walking on the road approached me and asked if I was alright. Being slightly emotional, I blurted out that I’d lost my husband and we we’d only been married a week and the Arran Coastal Way was confusing … I didn’t know what way he’d gone … I must have sounded crazy …

The gentleman then replied: “it shouldn’t be confusing because I’m in charge of it.” What are the chances? I then said I would leave feedback as I was taking lots of photos and I’d be writing about it. The lady then offered to phone Alan from her landline to tell him where I was. Thank you both for your help that day!

He said I had an older version of the Rucksack Reader and the route had changed in this area. I’d be back on this road again even if I walked the coastal route as it looped back. I also couldn’t check the new maps on the Arran Coastal Way website as I didn’t have a signal.

I decided to make my way back down to the coast, then Alan’s text came through to say he was waiting for me at the beach. I think I added well over two kilometres to my walk because of this detour.

As I approached the beach I could see Alan’s red jacket. I wasn’t happy as we’d just lost over an hour going back and forward. This was our first domestic after a week of marriage … it happens though.

I walked a little bit further along the beach then seen the coastal way sign. Alan couldn’t understand why I didn’t walk up further before, then I would have seen him behind the shrubbery to the left. I couldn’t even see this signpost from the road end earlier! I was looking further ahead along the coastline for his red jacket.

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Coastal route to Kingscross Point

As you turn left here there’s a boardwalk that takes you away from the beach. This might sound silly, but I was looking forward to walking on the new boardwalks as I’d read about them being put in place.

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Boardwalk off the beach

Instead, I was sobbing and emotional, for a few minutes, then I calmed down. I didn’t want my walk to be sad or remember bad things about it. Arran was my happy place. I suppose when I think back we were both tired and sore. Our walking week certainly tested our wedding vows, that’s for sure.

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Kissing gate ~ but no kisses ☹

We walked through an open grassed area and then reached Kingscross Point. I stood here alone for a few minutes as Alan followed a trodden path down through the high fern. It would have been nice to spend more time here. I read later that this Iron Age fort was also the location of a Viking ship burial that was excavated in the earlier 20th century.

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Kingscross Point

The Holy Isle was hiding in the misty cloud, so I never fully experience the spectacular views today. Another reason to return. At least I’ll know what way to go next time!

Have you heard of the children’s books about the witch Thumble Tumble? She’s an eight year old witch that lives on the Isle of Arran, overlooking the Holy Isle. I didn’t see her today though … I was hoping to see some Thistle Pixies but they live on the Holy Isle. Sadly, I couldn’t see any broomsticks lying around to fly over and say hello.

Magical stories are not just for children, adults can enjoy them too. I feel it’s good to bring back that inner child in you and we all need escapism. I don’t read books as often as I’d like though as I’m a slow reader.

I used to love reading as a child. Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree was my favourite and the Wishing Chair. Another old favourite was The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Dame Julie Andrews. Do you know it?

Isn’t it strange what books you remember the most as a child. I must have really escaped to these places to remember them so well.

Have a look at the Thumble Tumble books and the magical map of Arran!

Sorry I strayed off my walk there for a moment … back to the reality of how far we’d still to walk.

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The Holy Isle is hiding ~ no witches around

The next part of the coastal walk was confusing for us. We thought we would continue around the coast, but the waymarkers took us back uphill again. Alan’s knees were not happy about this at all …

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Back up the hill

Just as the gentleman said to me earlier, we ended up back on a road and passed the junction where I was lost earlier. It felt like we were going the wrong way.

We met some guys walking their dog on the road. They said we were on the right path, so we walked a bit further until we found another waymarker just off the road to the right. This took us back down to the coast again. It could easily be missed with the overgrowth. If you pass the bus stop on this road then you’ve walked too far, turn back and you’ll see the coastal route on the corner.

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Back down to the coast

The next part was a mix of boardwalk steps and dirt path, all downhill. It was slippery at parts because of the rain.

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Back down to the coast

At last we reached sea level again. I don’t know why we couldn’t have just continued going around the coast, but, I was looking forward to finding the new boardwalk that had recently been built.

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Lamlash 2.5 miles/4 km

We had to walk along the rocky coastline first. Then it was an alternate mix of boardwalk and a rocky seaweed covered shore, for about two kilometres. I loved the new boardwalk but the shore line was bumpy and slippery. Our aching legs felt every step today.

I think I would have enjoyed this part more if I could have seen more of the Holy Isle. A scenic view is always a welcome distraction when you’re in pain.

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Looking back at the rocky shore and the Holy Isle
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Walking the boardwalk

We were both pleased to see Lamlash ahead, but it still looked so far away…

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Lamlash ahead

I was happy to get my feet back on to flat ground for a while.

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Lamlash
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Memorial to the Arran clearances between 1829 to 1840

We walked past the registry office where we were married exactly one week ago. We certainly were not looking as fine as we were back then I might add! We were hugely bedraggled and hobbling along the road. I’m so glad we didn’t work to our original plan of walking the Arran Coastal Way and getting married on day seven when we were passing in our outdoor clothes!

Now that we had a better mobile signal, Alan felt his phone vibrate and a notification popped up from the Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Navy. He was asking Alan to call him about the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) we found on day five Blackwaterfoot to Lagg.

The photos Alan sent in Kildonan didn’t get through, so the Lieutenant was asking about its location. After the phone call, this prompted Alan to try and send the photos again. Unfortunately, as he was pacing around trying to send them, he slipped down through boulders on the edge of the road and smashed his phone. The screen was broken and splintered. So Mr Grumpy was back again … understandably though. I would have been upset if my new phone smashed. We didn’t have any insurance either.

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Holy Isle

Alan was walking ahead again but at least I could see him as a red dot in the distance this time.

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Walking out to Clauchlands Point
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Hamilton Rock

Alan waited for me at the point as there was an option to walk up to a Fort. We didn’t have the energy or time for this, so we continued along the coast. Then Alan’s phone rang. He managed to answer it avoiding the glass splinters on the screen.

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Phone call from the coastguard

The Arran coastguard was also looking for the location, date and time the AUV was found. I managed to check my photos on my camera to give him the exact date and time we found it. This would help him with the tide times so he could recover it.

It turned out that two AUVs were found around the same area as I read in the Arran Banner that a local couple found one too! It wasn’t the same one as they both had different model numbers. I wonder why they washed up on shore?

Our path was now changing to a mixture of boulders, bog and grass, but the end was near! The weather today didn’t make for good photos I’m afraid. I was hoping our final walk would show us the mighty Goat Fell.

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Rocky path and Brodick ahead
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Stones
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Looking back to Claughlands Point

Our Rucksack Reader again showed us to keep walking along the coast to Brodick but the waymarkers took us away from the coast at Corriegills. We walked uphill for a while until we reached the next waymarker.

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Brodick this way

We continued across some fields, over a few stiles, then walked down the last field to the road again.

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Goat Fell ahead

I couldn’t believe we were almost at our starting point!

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Path to Brodick

Welcome to Brodick .. the most rewarding welcome in my life!

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Welcome to Brodick

I was so relieved and proud of us all, we completed the Arran Coastal Way! My Garmin totalled up around 84 miles all in. This was my peak challenge and honeymoon combined. Anne had already finished her walk and challenging achievement too. It was 5.45pm, we would be meeting Anne and her daughter later at 7pm to celebrate.

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The island is mine!
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Alan at the finishing point

It was time to pull off our wet boots and slip into our Crocks. My feet seemed to have survived, no blisters, just wet and cold. Then we slowly walked across to the Douglas Hotel to pick up our completion certificates and pin badge.

We were also hoping that we could book a room at the Douglas for the night, but there were no rooms available. I was disappointed as I would have liked some luxury for one night. We didn’t have anywhere to stay for the night as most places were booked. We then found out there was a triathlon and marathon event happening on the island at the weekend.

There was an Arran Blonde lager with my name on it, it was so refreshing.

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Completion certificate

Before we knew it, 7pm was almost upon us so we walked back across the road to the finishing point to meet Anne and her daughter. We both had smiles on our faces, totally knowing what we’d just achieved. Anne’s challenge ended up being more difficult for her because she walked solo some of the days.

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Proud peakers achieve! We conquered the Arran Coastal Way!

Then came an unexpected surprise. Anne’s daughter, who is a very talented artist, made us a wedding gift. This is the most beautiful personal gift I’ve received. She made us a picture with shells, stones, slate and seaglass, all found on the island. It was a picture of Alan and I on our wedding day at the standing stones!

I, of course, was even more emotional and tearily gave Anne’s daughter a huge hug. She’s a very talented lady and so kind. Just like her mum 💙

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Emotional hug

The picture even had a wee cute sheep in it. I’d mentioned to Anne that there was sheep at the standing stones when we were taking our wedding photos.

Do you remember day four – Imachar to Blackwaterfoot when I mentioned that Anne was on a secret mission? She picked up the large piece of slate near the standing stones, at the Moss Farm ruins for this special picture. So thoughtful and unique. We both love it, thank you!

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True love at the standing stones

We were all thirsty and hungry, so we went back to the Douglas Hotel for our celebratory meal.

Guess who we bumped into? The Cardiff Ramblers! Small island eh? We’d just realised we didn’t see them at all on our walk today. They walked the inland route via the Glenashdale Falls. The ramblers were staying another night on the island and hiking Goat Fell the next day. They are such an inspiration, well done ladies and gents!

Alan and I still hadn’t found anywhere to stay. After our meal and a fond farewell to Anne and her daughter we drove across to Blackwaterfoot to hopefully get a room at the Kinloch Hotel. There was no room at the inn either …

It was getting dark, and we were starting to feel a bit like Mary and Joseph, without the baby … we had our tent though, so we drove back to Lochranza campsite to see if we could pitch up for the night. I think it was after 10pm before we arrived though. I hoped we could just pitch up and pay in the morning. Luckily the owner appeared and confirmed it was okay. Phew! It wasn’t what I hoped for on our last night, but at least I could have a warm shower in the morning. The showers are pretty good at the campsite.

We left Lochranza campsite in the morning and enjoyed a relaxing day shopping before we caught our ferry. I went back to the Arran Brewery and was pleased to see the Arran Blonde cans back in stock. I was also happy that my perfume was back in stock, After the Rain at Arran Sense of Scotland. Then a quick visit to the Arran Cheese Shop for some tasty flavoured cheeses! Not all for me though, honest.

We could see the peak of Goat Fell on our leaving day. I was pleased that the Cardiff Ramblers had a nice day to see the spectacular views at the top. After the week we had, I don’t think I could have managed a hike today.

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Goat Fell, Brodick

So that was us. We’d completed the ring of Arran as husband and wife. It was the most challenging walk we have ever done. The most memorable honeymoon that we would never forget.

The island is totally magical and has shown me its natural wild beauty over the last nine days. There were days that it was tough for me to keep my legs moving. Everything I challenge myself to do is never easy, I always have to keep pushing myself and try to think positive. It’s too easy to slip into a negative mindset, and I can also be like this sometimes. I think we all can.

Myself, Alan and Anne were determined to finish this, and we totally did. Thanks to the team at My Peak Challenge and Sam Heughan for encouraging us peakers to keep trying and never give up on our dreams.

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My peak challenge and island treasures

Thank you so much for joining me on my 84 mile trek around a little Scottish island sitting on the west coast of Scotland. I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos and stories.

Thanks for reading.

Dawn-Marie 💖

Catch up on my other walking days

  1. The secret wedding
  2. Arran Coastal Way – Day 1 – Brodick to Sannox
  3. Arran Coastal Way – Day 2 – Sannox to Lochranza
  4. Arran Coastal Way – Day 3 – Lochranza to Imachar
  5. Arran Coastal Way – Day 4 – Imachar to Blackwaterfoot
  6. Arran Coastal Way – Day 5 – Blackwaterfoot to Lagg
  7. Arran Coastal Way – Day 6 – Lagg to Whiting Bay
  8. Arran Coastal Way – Day 7 – Whiting Bay to Brodick
  9. Watch my six minute video of the whole week

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