Lochranza to Corrie

Kev and Jazz shadow on sandstoneIt has been said that I don’t do enough planning for these walks.  Well not this one.  This was a coastal walk that would be simplified if it was low tide.  I therefore arranged for my Mother to give birth to me so that 52 years later the Moon’s position in its orbit would produce such a situation. I had also arranged with the Jet Stream to park a ridge of high pressure over Arran on the day so we would be treated to lovely autumnal weather.  All was therefore set for the annual birthday escape walk.

Goat Fell

Goat Fell

The plan was to do the next section of the Arran Coastal Path from Lochranza around the coast to Sannox Bay.  You might have worried that as it was my birthday I’d be feeling old but the bus 1 to Lochranza was overflowing with the silver-haired brigade wielding their bus passes and so I felt youthful. I even gave up my seat for one of them and didn’t kick their stick away when they didn’t say thanks: clearly I was in an unusually good mood.  Fortunately they were only going as far as Brodick Castle‘s tea-room and so we soon got our seat back.

After what must be most scenic bus journey anywhere we got out in Lochranza and started our walk. A check of the winter ferry timetable showed that we had two options:

  1. Forced march to get the afternoon ferry, or
  2. Very pleasant amble and get the evening one.
Lochranza castle

Lochranza castle

Seal pups on rock

Seal pups on rock

Hutton's Unconformity

Hutton’s Unconformity

Answers on a postcard to: Bleedin’ Obvious Competition.  So we sauntered around the loch taking pictures of seals sunning themselves on the rocks, the castle and the wee ferry heading over to Kintyre.  The path now passes the geological hotspot of Hutton’s Unconformity.  Luckily I didn’t have the rest of the family around to veto exploring this 2 and so had fun looking at rocks at funny angles. Let’s just say that even for a science-bore like me this was a little underwhelming.  But the views around were stunning. A little further on is a section where big rocks had fallen making passage tricky, unless you had planned your birth to match the lunar orbit to get low tide.  So we simply wandered around them and thus avoiding any man-handling-of-Spaniels-over-boulders unpleasantness.

Jazz at start of boulder field

Jazz at start of boulder field

Looking towards the Cumbraes

Looking towards the Cumbraes

Jazz at Cock of Arran

Jazz at Cock of Arran

The next section of the path is remote since the road takes the easy option around the back of the ridge 3.  The path here is really good and I was thinking grateful thoughts for whoever was looking after it when we turned a corner and met them!  A couple of guys had won the contract to maintain the path and were busy dealing with vegetation, boulders and heavy lifting to create a path that fits into a sensitive environment and makes it easy for folk like me.  We chatted for a bit 4 and I was deeply envious: imagine working here in stunning weather – until I remembered that Arran is not always a tropical paradise and they have to walk what I was doing to get to work every day – the world’s best commute?  Jazz and I were very pleased to see that this path has a well-funded project that will make a huge difference to walkers and the environment.

Blue Rock, Sannox

Blue Rock, Sannox

Stepping stones

Stepping stones

Laggan cottage

Laggan cottage

The path continued past some old salt pans and pit shafts and then onto the old cottage at Laggan. Here the cliffs rise quickly and we could see and hear the Red Deer enjoying their rut way up on the hills.  At the Fallen Rocks 5 the path enters the forest.  Unfortunately this is now being harvested and so it will be a while before this section is attractive again, but it is only a small section and soon we are at North Sannox. After crossing the stream we continue along the coast past the Blue Rock 6 to Sannox Bay.  Here we cross the stream using the stepping stones to reach the road. We liked these stepping stones.  Every other ones I’ve come across have obviously been built for people either 9 feet tall or descended from Ibex and happy to jump from one to the next.  The Sannox ones are designed for normal people: i.e. me.

Sannox harbour's sheep

Sannox harbour’s sheep

Eroded sandstone slab

Eroded sandstone slab

With the next ferry a couple of hours away the bus was a long while off.   Sannox is lovely but doesn’t have the amenities to keep a Springer Spaniel amused for a couple of hours, so we decided to head down the road and try thumbing a lift.  The last time I tried this on Arran was a dozen years ago and managed to get a lift from the third vehicle: a combination of friendly locals and my attractive legs – it was a lady locum vet. No such luck this time. You could hear them slow down but when they saw Jazz it was back onto the accelerator.  I always knew she was holding me back. So you can imagine my utter shock when a vehicle actually stopped as we were about to leave Corrie: it was our new path-building friends heading home.  A lift to Brodick was offered and gratefully accepted. As a final service they even recommended a dog-friendly pub in Brodick 7 and dropped me at the end of the drive.  Class guys.

So we end my birthday escape in an extremely good mood and do the usual thing: trying to work out how to make a living if we came to live here!  All offers gratefully considered 8.  Of course this gets one of our 5 star ratings: it’s probably the best coastal walk we’ve done.

Notes:

  1. Isn’t it great to have an integrated bus service where the bus and ferry people actually talk to each other?
  2. I pulled birthday privilege with Jazz.
  3. Don’t listen to any cyclists moaning about this road being a long, steep climb – it’s a cinch compared to the rugged coast.
  4. They kept on working.
  5. A bunch of huge conglomerate boulders that had fallen and broken on the shore: much less impressive than the ones we’d past earlier but more accessible from the picnic area at Sannox.
  6. A vertical rock face that has leached a blue colour.
  7. The Ormidale – strongly recommended!
  8. Except path building – that looks hard work!
Distance:18km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again:
Duration:5 hours