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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Secret continues

I seem to remember early in September, posting about a ride I did on Arran and promising to post about the second ride. Sorry for the delay but here it is.

A couple of days after the first ride I met up with a neighbour of the friends we were staying with. Ian is his name. He is a forestry worker and a Highland Games competitor so a tad on the healthy side.

We decided to do the Northern loop out of Brodick. The route takes you North (as if you hadn't guesed) along the coast towards Sannox with lovely views back towards Brodick

and occasional sightings of local wildlife

The above image is of a wooden sculpture. Good isn't it? There were a dozen or so other tourists trying to photograph the seal!

As we rode, we met a couple of youg guys who it turned out, were doing a self supported End to End, doing the Lands End to John O'Groats version. They had arrived the previous day and were taking in the island before going back to the mainland the next day and heading for their next stop- Loch Ness

Ian is on the right in red and black. I didn't catch the names of the two lads unfortunatley. We rode together until we reached the Youth Hostel at Lochranza where they were staying. They were on holiday from school and having a bit of an adventure. Well done them. I hope they finished ok and had the experience they anticipated.

The route was all coast road until we left Sannox, where the road cut inland a little and started the long climb up The Boguillie. Though only to 200 meters, it was over quite a long distance, so sustained but no too steep. Once again, the countryside and views were beautiful

Sorry about the crappy photos' but my point and shoot was letting me down a bit.

Once we had topped out, there was a nice smooth descent towards Lochranza and, in true Secret Cyclist style, it was Yahoo Banshee Warrior time as I tucked in over the top tube and gave it loads of wellie. We then rode into Lochranza where our end to enders peeled off, leaving Ian and I to continue our ride. Lochranza is a pretty little place tucked away in a little bay to the west of the Northern tip of the island, known as The Cock of Arran. I think its location must have been quite significant once upon a time-

By now, the geography of the island was demonstrating its effect on the weather. It was dry and bright on the East side of the island but, the West side was the opposite. The mountainous spine of the island was keeping the weather on the west side and wew were riding in a fine drizzle. Not to worry though becuase the riding was very pleasant and the views kept the spirits up

This was the last picture I took on this ride as the camera didn't like the wet.

We rode south along the coast again, through the little vilages of Pimmill, Dougana and Tormore, a nice flat road where, if you were minded, a bit of a chain gang could get going but, Ian and I were just out for a pleasant ride. As we approached Blackwaterfoot, we turned off the main drag and cut inland towards Shiskine and The String, which wold give me the opportunity of doing this road in the opposite direction. The drizzle had kept it up so the roads were wet, though not too bad. The String in this direction presents a longer, shallower ascent up to its 235 meter summit and the effort needed to make the climb had the added benefit of keeping the body temperature up, shrugging off the cooling effects of being wet.

Once at the summit, we were then confronted with the steeper, shorter descent in to Brodick. It was still drizzling and the road on the East side of the mountains was now wet as well. I still tucked in and gave it wellie, though maintained a slight air of decorum, keeping the speed under control. Because of the wet I only managed a 49.1 mph descent. I'd love to do this in the dry!

After getting to the bottom of The String, it was a short run in to Brodick and a nice cup of tea. A loop just shy of 38 miles with gorgeous views, quiet roads, great climbing and cracking descents.

I love Arran. Don't tell too many folk though otherwise the place will get swamped!

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