One of the pleasures of taking a campervan to Scotland is being able to park up in remote and secluded spots each night. This is exactly what I did for the eight nights on the Isle of Arran. Sometimes it was just me and the dog, other nights I joined the other two vans for sociable evenings. With the weather being as wild as it was I was glad not to have been backpacking in a tent. Having a van meant that I could wait out the worst of the weather, dashing out for quick walks in between weather systems. It would be wrong to name the places where we ‘wild’ camped, so instead here are a couple of photos of my favourite spots.
Fionn Bhealach (444 metres) and the north coast
The main lesson I learnt on this walk was not to underestimate bad weather even on the lower hills. This was a full day circuit that took in a trackless moorland ridge before returning along the coast. I measured sustained wind speeds of 50mph on the open moorland which made it difficult to walk. I would often have to kneel down during the strongest gusts to prevent being blown over. Add into the mix heavy horizontal rain and I began to doubt my wisdom of leaving the comfort of the van. Reuben kept disappearing to hide behind anything that would give him shelter.
The unpleasant moorland trudge was soon left behind for a spectacular coastal walk along a well-defined path. This took us past Laggan cottage and the Fallen rocks. A section to savour.
Kings Cave and The Doon
A popular waymarked circular walk took us to the Kings Cave. This contains Christian and pre-Christian carvings, some of which are quite beautiful. I found myself following a rather noisy family so decided to peel off to the south to have a look at The Doon with its impressive columnar basalt cliffs. An enjoyable leg stretcher.
Machrie Moor Standing Stones
I waited until late afternoon before walking the mile or so to the various stone circles and standing stones on Machrie Moor. I was lucky to time my visit when no one else was around. A very atmospheric spot.
Eas Mor (waterfall)
This was a quick diversion on the way to somewhere else. During a day of vicious squally showers I managed to time a thirty minute dash without getting wet. An impressive cascade hidden in the forest above Kildonan.
Blackwaterfoot to Drumadoon point
Visibility was down to a couple of hundred metres as we sat in the wind and rain lashed Bongo. The sea and sky had merged under the heavy black clouds. The shower had blown in from the Argyll peninsular to the west, a solid wall of weather. Thankfully it cleared as quickly as it had appeared, the sky washed clean. A stroll along the sandy beach to Drumadoon point was timed to catch a spectacular sunset. The feel of sand under Reuben’s paws sent him into canine heaven.