Arran Coastal Way – Plan B! (Part two) – Blackwaterfoot and Kilmory

Blackwaterfoot has some great, and very popular (!) community toilets , a village shop / newsagents, a butchers and a store / post office so is a good place to wait for a bus for an hour and half. I lay down on the grass and listened to podcasts in the sunshine…bliss! The Danish couple from the morning turned up and the worn out looking walker from earlier in the day arrived in the back of a car. He’d had to get a lift and leave his friends walking as he was just too tired to go on (unfortunately they didn’t make it back in time for their bus to catch the ferry, so had to get a taxi – hope they made it!) It was nice to chat to people whilst I waited and a bit of people watching is always entertaining!

My stop for the night was at Kilmory Haven which is actually a bunkhouse/ village hall / bar all rolled into one. They had assured me that I could camp there free of charge when I had messaged them previously, but it was a bit vague, so I was a little bit worried they had forgotton! There was no need to worry…it turned out I would be camping in the school playing field over the weekend. A bit strange but actually this turned out to be the best place to stay for two nights, I had the field to myself and a fantastic view over the sea to Ailsa Craig in the distance. The lovely friendly people in the hall let me use the kitchen and the toilets inside and I could help myself to coffee whenever I wanted one, in fact they even made me one when I went in to ask to fill my water bottle. The bar was open in the evenings and although there were people coming and going until early hours I felt perfectly safe in my little field tucked away!

View over to Ailsa Craig – the little bump behind the house!
The view the other way! But very peaceful with no-one in the school at the weekend.

I would definitely come back here again, mabe even treat myself to a bed in the bunkhouse!

Monday Mini-Adventure

The sun has been shining! Time for a mini-adventure to try out our ‘new-to-us’ tents before deciding which one I will take to Arran. With Teen 2 along for the adventure we headed up to Hodge Close, near Coniston. An intersting and slightly spooky old quarry which we’ve been to a few times before but we’d never been up to the two little reservoirs just above the quarry itself. What a great place! The pictures can tell you the rest…

P.s. think the blue ‘Lightwave’ tent wins the honour of being my home for a week on Arran! Not quite a stealth wild camp tent but feels so much roomier than the Banshee and is lighter in weight.

Arran Coastal Way – I want, I want, I want…

We’ve camped for years, got at least five tents in our loft (yes, a ridiculous amount!) ranging from a lovely heavy bell-tent to a brilliantly reliable two man Eurohike tent which we were given. We have rucksacks of all shapes and sizes, some vintage, some not quite so. Camping stoves, water carriers, electric hook-ups, sleeping mats, sleeping bags…BUT after a big rummage around the other day I realised I have NOTHING really suitable to go on a multi-day hike and wild camp!! Aaargh ….

Obviously being on a small budget some things will have to be a compromise…the two man tent is 3kg in weight, this could possibly be lightened by taking out the carry bag, getting lighter tent pegs? Maybe? With other things I need to get something more suitable. My lovely five inch deep, self inflating sleep mat is really not going to fit into my rucksack! So on that note I have made a dream list of everything I would really love to have. There’s always Valentine’s day and a birthday before I go so here’s hoping!

Dream Equipment List

  • Lightweight 2-man tent (preferably under 1.5 kg)
  • Lightweight, compact 2-3 season sleeping bag.
  • Newer, lighter rucksack with raincover.
  • Thermarest Neo-Air sleep mat. (REALLY want one of these or something just as good. A dodgy hip makes a comfy mat a priority!)
  • Compact stove, something like a Tomshoo, MSR Pocket Rocket type
  • Some stainless steel / titanium cookware and long handled spoon.

Then, of course there’s also things like new wool socks, merino base layers, compact down jacket, decent waterproof… the list goes on…

This could all get a bit depressing but I have to remember that people have been hiking and backpacking for years without all this modern, lightweight equipment and they coped!! So, a few compromises, a few hours scouring ebay for pre-loved items and some priority things to save up for, and all will be well in the end… I’ll let you know how I get on!

Arran Coastal Way – Beginning…

I’ve done a few solo day walks but never a long distance one so this was on the top of my Bucket List for this year. There are so many in the UK that can be done, some on our doorstep where we live, but I’ve decided on the Arran Coastal Way for my first foray into Long Distance walking and into solo wild camping…nothing like diving in at the deep end!

Why the Arran Coastal Way? Well… it’s an island I’ve been to before, that time in a beaten up campervan with the whole family on an amazing adventure around Bute, Arran and the Kintyre peninsula. We stayed on a few campsites but mainly ‘wild campervanning’ . This is going back a fair few years and it is still my son’s favourite holiday ever.

As I’m a bit of a woose, I wanted to be somewhere vaguely familiar and easy to get back to civilisation on my first solo walk / camp. There is a great bus service that runs frequently around the island so I know I can get back to the ferry point pretty easily if needed.

And, of course, Arran is beautiful and who doesn’t want to spend a week by the sea on a Scottish Island!?

The plan so far is to go in Spring, hopefully before the midges come out in force but when the weather will not be too wet and miserable