Wednesday, 18 August 2010


To wind up our summer holiday, Mrs CWW and I had a long weekend in Arran. There was no way she was going near a wee boat again, after the Spey debacle, so Mrs CWW took her bike out on the ferry and I set off by kayak. Our destination was the Corrie Hotel. With carrying walking boots for 2, a smart shirt, tie and shoes, my cargo was a bit different from usual. The smart stuff turned out to be a bit unnecessary for the Corrie Hotel. It's pretty basic, but good value. The lack of a hair drier wasn't great for Mrs CWW, but not too much of an upset for me.
I was dropped off at Largs marina, which is a handy launching point. Millport came too quickly to be stopping (though an ice cream would have been welcome), so first rest came at Glencallum Bay on Bute before a fairly choppy crossing to Sannox. As is not unusual for me, I fell over on the beach and ended up with a sore leg for a few days. The approach to the mountains was quite dramatic, and I was welcomed by one of the pier sheep, which frequent these parts.

Arran is a place of wonderful dry weather, at least when I'm there, and the beer garden of the hotel sits right by the water. There was a fine evening for us to admire the view of Holy Island.

The following day Mrs CWW set off to circumnavigate Arran by bike, and I went to circumnavigate Holy Island by kayak. I had a fine downwind surf and paddle to get there, but the return was hard work. Crossing Brodick Bay gave a few anxieties about encounters with big boats.

There were no monks to be seen, but lots of people were out walking on the island.
Corrie was having what I think must be its busiest weekend of the year. A Viking festival was on, complete with burning of a long boat. The locals were out pillaging.

The Vikings seem a bit namby pamby these days- they wear life jackets and tow a RIB behind.
Corrie was also hosting a gig by Nick Harper, which was fantastic fun. The bar was set up in the local GP's consulting room, with the queue in the waiting room.
We had a day climbing Goatfell with our friends Ali and Elaine, then on Sunday set off home. In a flat calm I paddled over to Wee Cumbrae. It was rather a dull crossing, as the best views were behind me.

Wee Cumbrae is home of the international Yog Centre. There didn't seem to be a lot of Yog going on, so I'm none the wiser about what it is. It is a great place for bird life, however, despite having a huge number of small boats travelling around it.
We had planned to meet up at Portencross, but I had time to kill, so paddled south a bit. This took me off my map, and I had to navigate by unusual means. This involved asking someone on a beach what the name of the place was. It's not in "Sea Kayak Navigation", but it's very effective.

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