Arran Coastal Way – Lamlash to Whiting Bay

(Walked May 2019 – catching up!)

It was another sunny day and I was looking forward to this walk as it was going around the Viking fort at Kingscross Point and I had been told that it was a beautiful walk.

It started along the stoney beach so I was glad the tide was out. This was interspersed with a wooden boardwalk which brings you up off the beach into the pretty woodland along the edge of the shore. Walking in May meant there were bluebells and garlic in abundance and it all felt slightly magical! The only blot on the landscape (literally!) is the commercial Salmon Farm just offshore with it’s constant hum of engine noise from the boat there. I did wonder how they had managed to get permission for this to be sited there, not far from the ‘No Take Zone’, only later finding out that there is a lot of objections to it from locals.

Shame about the Salmon Farm! Still beautiful though.

As you near Kingscross Point the path takes you up off the beach and along some pleasant tracks through fields until it drops back down, I guess due to privately owned sections of shoreline. You come back to the sea where a gorgeous house looks out over to the Holy Isle lighthouse…a beautiful place to live.

Looking over to the lighthouse on Holy Isle

Then it all got a little bit bazarre! I stopped at a little stoney beach to take in the view and found a lady sitting on a rock smoking a cigar! It turned out she was Italian with very little English and posed on the rock while I took a photo for her before I moved on. The path then went across a section which was nicely cut and manicured, almost like a flat football field…weird!

Wandered up through the fort and stopped to have some lunch before heading off into Whiting bay. After a coffee stop it was time to head for the pretty painted bus stop before heading back to the tent for tea.

Definitely do bus stops in style on Arran.

Endurance or enjoyment?

I read a post on one of my favourite Facebook pages the other day where a lady was asking about completing the Arran Coastal Way in less days than the suggested six/seven because the daily mileage didn’t seem high enough (slightly paraphrased!) I think I was tired and grumpy and my hackles rose just a little bit. For a brief moment I felt as if my efforts weren’t quite good enough. I am planning to take the whole six/seven days, take in the scenery, explore the caves, swim in the sea and plod along happily… I got over myself!

I’m a 46 (ahem) year old mother, staring the menopause straight in the face, a dodgy hip and 17 years of hypothyroidism under my belt. I never have been and never will be super fit, super energetic and super enthusiastic about notching up as many miles in a day that I possibly can… and it doesn’t matter.

It’s so interesting reading other people’s posts and blogs, finding out about their adventures and their plans, some I would jump at given the chance, and others I would run a mile from (if I had enough energy!) Everyone is different, with different bodies, different opportunities, different wishes and that’s what makes the world go around.

My plan to walk the Arran Coastal Way on my own, wild camping, carrying all my equipment may be a drop on the ocean for some people but it’s a biggie for me, one that makes me nervous and excited at the same time. The reasons are many, life is short and it’s too easy to get dragged along in the everyday of ‘getting by’. So, enjoyment or endurance? Personally, I would choose enjoyment every time.

Trangia Mini – Review

Being an extreme budget, wanna-be backpacker I’ll run through some of the gear I manage to pick up along the way.

Solid, compact and doesn’t rattle!

So, first up is my new-to-me camp stove. We’ve had an ancient trangia set for years which has had a lot of use and is still going strong but I wanted something a bit more compact and lightweight just for me. On the ‘Outdoor Kit Exchange UK’  Facebook page I found a guy selling a Trangia Mini which is exactly as it says… a mini trangia!! For your money you get a standard trangia burner and screw on top, a seperate simmer top, aluminium saucepan (holds approx 0.8 litres), non-stick frying pan (which also doubles as a pan lid) and a pan handle. The whole thing weighs 330grams, not for the ultralight community but fine for the rest of us (!) So after a trial run here are my pro’s and con’s so far:

PRO’S:

  • Small and compact – packs together with the burner and holder inside the pan and frying pan (also the pan lid). Lid snaps shut nice and snug.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to use.
  • More stable than a screw on gas stove.
  • Cools down in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, so can be packed away once you’ve finished.
  • Has a simmer ring lid so the flame can be a bit more controlled if needed.
  • Non- stick frying pan.
  • Great lightweight pan handle which actually works, although it looks really flimsy!
  • The pot and the lid / frying pan have handy little grooves on the bottom so they sit snug onto the stand or the top of the saucepan to make them safer and more stable.

CON’S

  • This uses a standard trangia burner and it maybe would have worked better with a slightly smaller version for this model to avoid flaring.
  • Generally a bit slower to cook with than gas but I’m not in a hurry!
  • It doesn’t like any wind!! This was an issue which has come up a lot on other reviews and I wasn’t quite sure what they meant until I tried it on a breezy fell! I had fortunately taken a folded piece of foil with me which helped fend of some of the wind, but without this the flame was blowing all over the place. This could be a huge issue if you had to use it in your tent doorway on a rainy, windy day!!
  • Only really big enough for one person which is absolutely fine for solo trips but not quite up to any more.
Slightly cockeyed and the aluminium foil kind of worked but a better windshield is needed!

Overall, you can’t go far wrong with Trangia’s and I like the compact size of this one but we need to find (or make) a decent windshield before I’d be really happy taking this away with me.