We had a mediocre breakfast at the hotel and then set off for the ferry 1/2 mile away. We bought our tickets and drove Gromit down the ramp and onto yet another ferry over to Arran. We arrived quite early at the campsite and decided to go out for a long walk to visit a large waterfall.
To get there we we wanted to get on a bus to take us there and walk back to the campsite. We got onto a local bus and as we entered we were pushed aside by a young woman in a pink T shirt holding a handful of vomit in a tissue. We had run into a hen party and the bride had had a drink or two too many and the nice bus driver would not let her off to be sick. After our short trip to the intended path we could see why the poor girl had been sick in the first place, the driver was a dork.
Following our bilious escape from the bus we set off for about 3/4 of an hour up a steep forest trail and were rewarded with this:
|Glashendale Falls, Arran|
We then set about making our way, cross country back to the campsite. Not an easy task in the dense forest that had been seriously modified since the map was made.
|Whiting Bay, Arran|
We set off along the only available track which as luck would have it, did not go anywhere near where we wanted to go. Anyway, 3 hours later we finally spied the campsite about a mile away. Yippee. Shame about the dozen or so barbed wire fences in the way.
Following this encounter I have now gained a boy scout badge in 'how to ruin new trousers on barbed wire fences'.
We eventually fell into Gromit and then the local hotel (read pub) and went to bed.after a nice meal and a few sherbets we went to bed.
That night all hell broke loose and the weather changed...for the sublime.
Sunday 13th May
The weather had turned real nasty. High winds and horizontal rain all day and all night. It was a batten down the hatches kind of day.The tent (and Gromit) were rocking like mad and the flaps were aflappin. We decided to have a chill day, having tried valiantly to walk along the beach and being driven back by the gales and whilst waiting in the campsite 'day room' a couple of Scottish ladies came in and I assisted them in inflating their air bed. It was their first night camping and One I am sure they will not forget. Anyway, we met them again in the pub and they insisted in buying us a beer. We got talking and had an absolutely fabulous evening bantering with these two completely mad women. Both had been in the TA and one was now a paramedic,Lisa, and the other Sam, worked for a bank. She was originally from Dumfries too, so a good rapport soon followed. Despite the weather again we still had a good nights sleep !
Monday 14th May
No change in the overnight weather and again we woke afresh to a grim day. We decided to pull the plug on Arran and drove around the island intending to get the ferry later that day. The the weather brightened a bit and we found a deserted beach so decided to take Gromit to the sea side. The wind was still blowing a gale however so we did not stop long.
|Gromit on the beach at Kilmory, southern Arran|
Before the ferry, we stopped at the Arran distillery to sample the Scotch whiskey. I laughed at the commercialism of the 'Robert Burns' flavour. I did not have the heart to tell them that their distillery only opened a hundred or so years after his death. I am sure they actually knew but many punters wouldn't.
|Sannox Glen, northeast Arran|
Then it was down the ramp and across the Lock to Kintyre.
|Me first...me first......an eager to get off Gromit.|
We traveled about 50 miles around the southern end on the peninsular and the scenery was stunning.
|Saddel Bay, East Kintyre|
|Westport, west Kintyre|
The rocks you see here are at a beautiful little spot called Westport. Rock climbing to the start of the sea was one of the sports on offer and Ray led the way. He jumped over a little culvert and then turned to assist me as he said it was quite slippy. I fussed about looking for my safe route, all the time both of us oblivious to what the sea was doing behind us. The next thing we knew was that the sea came rushing in, and Ray was virtually up to his knees in water. I remained nice and dry well apart from the tears of laughter. He was very brave about it though.
|Sunset on our campsite. Noth of Tayinloan, west Kintyre. It was very cold and windy.|
We eventually found a beach side campsite we liked which was run by the son of the Lord of the estate. He owned virtually all that could be seen.
Tuesday 15th May
The wind was still howling, the heavy rain was on and off and it was freezing. Our trip to Scotland was turning into a highland version of the Japanese game show 'Endurance'. It was really starting to get on our pips, (I wanted to use a similar word with 'T's in it instead of 'P's but Karen told me not to.)
We decided to visit a small island opposite to do some bird watching and look for a Perigrin Falcon which was on an island also owned my the Lord. The wind on the island was so strong that we pulled the plug on the birdwatching and sampled the local beer in the only pub on the island. We were joined in the pub by 3 German walkers and had a great thigh slapping time whilst conversing in both broken German and English.
Wednesday 16th May
Time to move on again, this time over to Mull via Oban. The 60 mile drive to Oban was again very picturesque and enjoyable. Once in Oban we did some shopping and popped into a Fish and Chip restaurant and found this on the menu.
|These Jocks have some strange tastes|
Once on Mull we booked into the campsite, set up both tents (Gromits and the 'room' tent). We then set up the satellite dish and the fellow campers looked on in amazement to see what was to be erected next. They even started taking photos of it all. We then retired to the local pub and watched the heavens open yet again.
Thursday 17th May
After a very wet, cold and windy night we woke afresh (no really - we have been sleeping like logs) but the rain was still a heavy as the night before. Undeterred we collapsed Gromits tent and leaving the room tent up, lest for a tour around the island.
|Another bloody traffic jam. South Mull|
Although not being too big, all the roads were single track and were very tiring. This was compensated for by the scenery despite the weather.
|Eas Fors waterfalls, West Mull|
We clocked up about 100 or so miles in all. The last 30 miles was during the rush hour where we passed only 6 cars. Bliss.
Friday 18th May
A slack day to get some laundry done and generally recharge our batteries. On the positive side, the weather is improving. Not good but better. Tonight we will drop the room tent and get ready for an early start for Tobermory and the ferry North.