Friday, 14 May 2010
I'd planned a fairly short distance: ten miles to Claonaig for the ferry to Lochranza, then twenty-odd miles round Arran anti-clockwise. Tonight I'm staying in the south of the island.
The usual advice for cycling trips around here seems to be to travel northwards, and circle any islands clockwise to take advantage of the prevailing winds. I'm doing it in the other direction. That's not out of perversity, but because I was keen to start with the overnight sleeper to Fort William. Once that was decided, there wasn't a lot of choice about the overall direction, and for the last couple of days I've been paying the real price for using the sleeper in the face of a steady headwind. Today the wind was much lighter.
I read somewhere that the only advantage in circling these islands anti-clockwise is that it makes the distance shorter, because we ride on the left of the road, and hence anti-clockwise is along the inside of the circle. I reckon that must save several metres on a fifty-five mile circuit of Arran.
There was another advantage for me today, because my route from Lochranza took me round the back road. This runs along the west coast, and is lovely and quiet, but also pretty flat until you reach the southern end of the island.
I took things slowly, with plenty of breaks, but the combination of flat roads, short distance, and little wind still meant that I arrived very early at my destination.
There was plenty of time for a soak in the bath, a coffee and scone for ten-to-fours, and a nice amble through the woods to see an ancient burial mound, before sitting in the bar assembling this, and listening to some surprisingly good jazz as background music. I'm feeling chilled - in a very different way to the way I was feeling chilled at this time yesterday.