To Arran, Kintyre and Islay

Discussion in 'Scotland' started by KeithStockport, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. CC4EA7EA-E251-425F-AB16-EBE622C6C54E.jpeg I’ve been asked for a review of my first big trip, after buying my first aircooled last November

    650 miles, no breakdowns!
    14 nights spent in 10 places.
    5 camp sites, 3 off grid (or wild camps), 3 hotels or B&Bs

    Day 1: Drove from Stockport to Galloway Forest, hoping it would deliver on dark skies for stars (it rained!). Drive the wonderful ten mile Raiders Road, single track gravel forest road, and camped off grid by a loch. Great start!
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    Day 2: Drove Galloway to Ardrossan, seeing 20 Red Kite flying very close to us, by a feeding station. Caught the afternoon ferry to Brodick on Arran, thence to Lochranza camp site for two nights. Nice to see Red Deer on the camp field.

    Lochranza is a lovely little place, although much closed due to Covid. We Thoroughly enjoyed a whisky tasting session at the Lochranza distillery (£15 ea, included a £5 off voucher if you spend over £30 in shop).

    Day 4: ferry Lochranza to Claonig on the Kintyre peninsula. This is the least miles route to this bit of Scottish Mainland. Suddenly the roads are quiet and single track! Scouted out an off grid camp location at Grogport Picnic table ( it’s ok!) before checking in to a cheapy hotel at Carradale.
    Carradale town is somewhat faded and empty. Very little commercial activity but we found a village shop operating out of a portakabin

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    Day 5: caught the 2 hour ferry from Kennacraig to Port Askaig on Islay. Relieved to find fuel at Bridgend, but actually there’s fuel for sale in lots of places.
    Drove onto the RSPB reserve at Loch Gruinart. Cows, sheep, buzzard each caused us to stop!
    CalMac Ferries has shown messages discouraging wild camping, but we’d booked the Port Mor campsite at The pretty village of Port Charlotte. Amazing views but beaches aren’t lovely on this shoreline. Windy location on a windy day! Put our toilet tent up again ; it gives more space in the bus when the coolbox, portapotti and chairs can be kept in there.
    However, the toilet tent guy ropes and pegs weren’t adequate and I had to take it down at 5am.

    Day 6; drive to beautiful Port na Haven. 150m from the island of Orsay. Chatted to an old guy sat outside his door as we watched seals play in the harbour. Spotted a green bay camper parked up at a property. More single track roads. Lovely driving! Thank goodness my 76 Devon is at stock height
    Wonderful evening. Seafood platter at Port Charlotte hotel is £80 of great value for 2!

    Day 7; We had a walk planned on the Oa peninsula, another wildlife haven. The rain meant we had it to ourselves! Chatted to more locals and travellers. Camped off grid on a nice grassy area adj to Kilnaughton Beach




    Day 8; After a wet and windy night, we woke to clearing skies and were delighted by our stroll to the Carraig Phada lighthouse, having to time our walk on the narrow path between the massive waves. Exciting!
    Chatted to some lads catching rabbits with nets, a ferret and a dog.
    Checked in to a nice B&B in Port Ellen for two night’s R&R. Amazing clear sky and spectacular view of the stars. We don’t see the Milky Way in Stockport; here it was horizon to horizon.

    Day 9; drove the ‘distillery road’ past Lagavulin, Laphroig and Ardbeg. Sadly visitor tours mostly closed thanks to Covid. Enjoyed our picnic lunch on a beach where we saw a pod of dolphins.

    Day 10; after a relaxing morning took the afternoon ferry Port Ellen to Kennacraig back on Kintyre. Sad to leave, but knew we had adventures yet to come. Gorgeous sunshine and a lovely sunset to come so we hastily chose an overnight spot near the Claonig ferry. Enjoyed our meal on the stony beach watching the sky

    Day 11; caught first ferry back to Lochranza and drive via Brodick, past Holy Island to Whiting Bay where we’d planned a 3mile walk to Glenashdale Falls. Nice!
    Checked in at Seal Shore campsite for 2 nights, and got a pitch almost on the beach, looking out to Phadda island and Ailsa Craig in the distance.

    Day 12; my sketchbook came out, inspired by the view. But still time to watch the grey seals sunbathing on the rocks at a nearby beach

    Day 13. Sadly time to leave Arran, which had charmed us so. But not before repeating yesterday’s walk to see the seals again.
    We didn’t see any otter or golden eagle, but perhaps that’s a reason to return?
    Evening fish and chips on Largs Prom watching another amazing sunset!
    Checked in to our B&B

    Day 14; slow stroll around Largs marina, watched a few boats, watched a guy rigging a GP14 dinghy on the beach. Took a slow drive south, pausing for another coffee and cake.
    Parked up in the pub car park at Metal Bridge Inn, Carlisle. With twenty other vans and motor homes. Delightful chats in pub with other vanners, some heading north, some south. A good reflection on two weeks away

    Day 15; called in to Lancaster, because I wanted to delay getting home! Finally saw another Air cooled VW that was moving. Home early afternoon

    Conclusions:

    We like to travel slow, stop a lot, see things, speak to locals, learn from locals and notice what’s around us.
    We liked the balance of campsites, off grid and B&Bs.
    We should plan our meals Two days ahead not four!
    Prob should take less clothes and find a launderette mid trip.
    I drive slow and steady. Less strain and fewer dramas. Am I getting old?
    We moved a lot, but liked the changes. Would have been nice to have less to do once the weather came good!
    Everybody loves an old VW, but mostly we were put with huge Modern motor homes with their TVs, microwaves, freezers and the rest.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. 15D6BE3B-BBCF-499F-AB3F-3E6AC811F04A.jpeg Heres a few photos of the above trip.
    Seafood to delight! F8FF9742-E6BE-425D-8685-92ADFC2EB494.jpeg

    Got to play in the waves:

    88325014-A693-495F-9796-C3DE253B9037.jpeg 88325014-A693-495F-9796-C3DE253B9037.jpeg
     
  3. Happy days :D
     
  4. Nice write up, thanks.
     
  5. Excellent thanks for sharing.

    We have such beautiful places right on our doorstep.
     

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