346 pm Sannox to Brodick

I’m walking through Merkland Wood. It nestles against the lower southern slopes of Goatfell, and is a popular walking area, although I don’t meet anyone up here. Plenty of signposts…

27 woodland walk, Arran Coastal Way, Ruth hiking to Brodick

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346 am Sannox to Brodick

It’s the beginning of October and the BBC forecast promises two clear days with no rain. Time for one last trip to Arran before the winter sets in…

…only you should never trust the Scottish weather. Overnight, the forecast changes, and on my first morning I’m greeted by 40 mph winds and stormy showers. At least the rainbow looks bright over Brodick.

01 Broddick on a stormy day, Ruth Livingstone on the Isle of Arran

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345 Imachar to Lochranza

It is my final day walking on Arran. And may be the last for some time, as I must get home for my middle daughter’s wedding, and then be around for my eldest daughter and the birth of my first grandchild.

Luckily, it’s another beautiful day. The bus is full of round-the-island sightseers, and the driver is surprised when I ask him to drop me off on a corner in the middle of nowhere.

01 bus drop off at Imachur, Ruth's coastal walk, Arran

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344 Blackwaterfoot to Imachar

On a beautiful, clear morning, I park by the shore near Machrie, and catch the bus back to Blackwaterfoot. The harbour looks very attractive.

01 Blackwaterfoot, Ruth's coastal walk around the Isle of Arran

Today is a walk of two halves. The first half is glorious, the second half… well, it will turn out to be a bit of a slog. But let’s start at the beginning… Continue reading

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343 Lagg to Blackwaterfoot

This morning I park my car at Blackwaterfoot and catch the bus back to Lagg. The first section of today’s walk follows the road. Great views over the countryside, with Ailsa Craig a constant feature on the horizon.

01 Ruth Livingstone walking from Lagg, Arran Coastal Way, Scotland

I decide not to take the first path down to the shore. The official Arran Coastal Way sticks to the road anyway, until you reach the village of Sliddery.  Continue reading

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342 Kildonan to Lagg

The Kildonan Hotel overlooks Pladda Island. In the distance (just to the left of the island) is the misty shape of Ailsa Craig. The hotel garden is dominated by a circle of sculpted stones.

01 Pladda from Kildonan, Ruth's coastal walk around the Isle of Arran

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341 Whiting Bay to Kildonan

My starting point in Whiting Bay is the path up to the Glenashdale Falls. By the track, a group of four walkers are putting on their boots and strapping on rucksacks. I hesitate, because I hate being overtaken. Should I wait and let them go first? But they spend so long sorting out their kit, I give up and set off.

01 footpath to Glenashdale Falls, Ruth hiking on the Isle of Arran

I’ve just had another bad night, with a persistent cough and muscle pains. So this morning I’ve made two decisions. Continue reading

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340 Lamlash to Whiting Bay

I drive to Kildonan, on the southeast tip of Arran, where I leave my car in an official car park, which turns out to be a strip of grass by the side of the road. From there, I catch one of the infrequent buses that travels around the coastal road in a huge loop.

Back in Lamlash, and the sky looks ominous.

01 Lamlash, Ruth hiking the Arran Coastal Way, Scotland

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339 Brodick to Lamlash

I take the morning ferry over to Arran, and spend the crossing standing on the deck, staring out into a grey mist whilst being blown about by a howling gale. It’s too dull for photography, and I can barely stand up against the wind, never mind hold a camera.

As we approach Arran, patches of sunlight break through the clouds and I feel a surge of excitement. The island looks beautiful, with huge mountains and a rocky shore. Below is the first photo I take once off the ferry at Brodick pier.

01 Goat Fell, Isle of Arran, Ruth arriving in Brodick ferry port

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338 Fairlie to Wemyss Bay

I return to Fairlie by bus. The sun is shining this morning, but the forecast predicts rain later. My plan is to keep today’s walk short – but now I have the extra miles to Largs to do too – the ones I failed to complete yesterday!

Onwards. Along the cycle path. Heading north.

01 footpath from Fairlie towards Largs, Ruth walking the Ayrshire Coastal Path, Scotland

I had a restless sleep last night and I’m not feeling brilliant this morning, for a number of reasons. Continue reading

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