So off to Arran again
for the weekend - hopefully this time
there will be no "technical" problems with the ferry that
caused us to abandon ship two weeks ago! Most of us caught the 3.15
with Alan, Carol-Ann and Craig waiting for the 6.00.
As ever an excellent buffet was prepared
by Michael following which we were entertained by Maureen who had
taken on Stevie's role as the Karaoke Queen!
Earlier in the week the weather forecast
had shed doubt on the proposed plans to do some night navigation
on Friday night. However, in the event it turned out to be a superb
starlit night with a half moon shimmering on the horizon. Myself,
Steven, Michael, Julia and Craig set off at around 9pm for the area
around the disused mines in Glen Sannox. After some initial doubt
that Michael really was pacing at the rate of over 90 per 100 metres
we had a really successful night.
On returning to the centre at about
11.30 there was an eerie silence, explained by the fact that everyone
else had disappeared to the pub!
The following morning Peter woke
us with a fully cooked breakfast - superb! By 9 o'clock we were
all ready for our respective walks; Peter and Helen doing the Cock
of Arran; Irene, Craig, Ewan and Maureen going to North Goatfell
and Goatfell via Corrie; and the rest of us planning to do a circuit
of the Witches Step, the Castles, Cir Mhor and, time permitting,
North Goatfell and Cioch na h-Oighe.
A long slog across to the base of
Suidhe Fearghas saw Steven and Fiona turn back as Steven's boots
were causing him problems. The rest of us eventually reached the
first summit in glorious sunshine, but not before Alan and Kenny
had made a slight diversion into a rather steep gully. The rather
sheepish looks suggest it was somewhat more difficult than they
had perhaps anticipated!
Carol-Ann also discovered that she
had alternative footwear in her rucksack in the form of pink slippers!
By this time the heat of the sun was causing mist to bubble up out
of Glen Sannox.
Eventually we neared the Witches
Step and found the path that some of us had used previously when
doing the route the other way round. Against our better judgement
we were pursuaded by Stevie to carry on the main path leading to
some interesting route finding!
Once on the Witches Step we again
found some awkward manoeuvres to make before we had a rest for lunch
just before the Castles. By this time we had decided that the inclusion
of North Goatfell and Cioch na h-Oighe was not realistic so for
once we had time on the Castles to explore a little and then made
our way towards Cir Mhor.
As we approached the summit the mist
again started to roll up from Glen Sannox and I noticed a strange
circular rainbow-like apparition appear in the distance. Stevie
and I realised that it could possibly be the start of a Brocken
Spectre and suggested we wait a few minutes, much to the amusement
of the rest of the party. Eventually, small shadows appeared which
we could all see, soon becoming larger as the mist came closer until
we could only see our own shadow, a truly amazing site, with everyone
pleased we had stayed to see it.
The descent off the Cir Mhor was
another interesting affair with us having to re-climb our initial
route to find a good path all the way down to the Saddle. From there
most took the direct route down the "chimney" although
I made a somewhat precarious descent over some very wet slabs -
you know it's not sensible when you realise you can't get back up
the way you've come down!
On the way out through Glen Sannox
we passed a particularly docile stag about six foot off the path,
although even at this distance Kathryn and Julia managed to miss
it in their desperation to get to the pub!
At about 6.30 we reached the Sannox
Bay Hotel for a couple of well deserved pints before heading back
to get changed. Then back to the pub for dinner. On returning to
the Centre I made the fatal mistake of falling asleep in the presence
of Michael, Alan and a bag of coal! Predictably I found myself looking
like I'd just surfaced from "down t'pit"! Alan then made
sure he didn't meet a similar, or worse, fate by locking himself
in the dining room for the night!
Another great breakfast by Peter
on Sunday morning was much appreciated by all and we were amazingly
ready to leave by just after nine o'clock. As the bus wasn't due
until 10.15 this led to a memory game culminating in Stevie declaring
that Cornflakes began with a "K"! This was only beaten
by Kathryn's observation on the bus that trees were playing golf,
a remark that was on a par with her comment last time about sharks
in the Clyde!
Again an absolutely superb weekend
- can't wait until next time!