Isle of Arran

The first time I decided to do some actual traveling in Scotland was almost after two years of living here. Before that I only visited couple of cities and I couldn’t call that traveling. I decided that the best way to explore Scotland was to do it by bike. I’m not even sure how I came up with that  – I didn’t even have a bike at that point. Having in mind that I wasn’t in the best shape either, I completely underestimated the effort required for the trip.

I convinced one of my friends to join me, bought the bike and decided that the Isle of Arran would be a perfect place for that (no particular reasons, rather than a good access from Edinburgh).

So after couple of hours of train and ferry ride we were in Brodick. My friend’s ex-classmate was living there, so we stopped to say hi. As soon as we left Brodick (heading towards Machrie), a really steep hill was waiting for me. After an hour of dragging our bikes up, swearing and thinking what the hell I was doing there, there was a sweet moment of going downhill. A lot of time it was like that, but after a while I started enjoying the challenge. I think those moments of going downhill were totally worth every drop of sweat.

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The weather was amazing. The sun was shining all the time and a lot of times we were just resting on the stony beaches along the way and enjoying life.

Our first proper stop was to see some stones. Yes, stones! There are a lot of standing stone circles on the Isle of Arran, of which the finest ones are Machrie Moor standing stones. The circles date from around 1800 to 1600 BC and the tallest stone is over 18 feet high!

Soon after visiting the circles we left our bikes and went hiking to see the King’s caves. The caves used to be a hiding place for Robert the Bruce (for those who have no idea who he was – he was a King of Scots several centuries ago). It is said that the King had his famous encounter with the spider there (not an extremely exciting story, but feel free to google it).

We decided to spend the night on the beach near the caves – it was sooo peaceful.

However, we didn’t plan our water supplies well enough so in the morning we had no water left. We found our bikes as quickly as we could and cycled to the nearest village to get some water.

The rest of the day we spent cycling and stopping at beautiful places and at the end of the day we reached Lamlash.

Next morning we reached Brodick and went back to see ex-classmate I mentioned before. He took us to the Sannox Bay Hotel & Restaurant where I had the best fish and chips ever (portions were enormous as well).

My friend didn’t enjoy the trip that much, but I really liked it. I was really struggling a lot of time during the trip and the fact I managed to complete it made me really proud. The weather was perfect, the island was amazing and even though it was a short trip and we did not even cycle that much, it was a perfect escape for my birthday. That summer I promised myself to go on some crazy trip for my birthday every year (and I’m doing quite well with keeping that promise).

I don’t have a lot of photos from this trip and they are not that good either. But you got an idea, it’s a nice island and I still want to come back there. I feel like I still haven’t seen a lot – Goatfell & Arran Coastal Way are still on my to do list 🙂


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