I watched some of the England v Brazil World Cup quarter final before breakfast, returning to find our boys a goal behind and running out of time. We packed up and rode the short distance to the ferry. At the traffic lights in town, a bin man suddenly leapt up in exultation from his seat and I knew England were out and I could enjoy the rest of the holiday without worrying about missing the semi-final. The ferry was delayed by 15 minutes awaiting a late train from Glasgow – shame this didn’t happen last night!
We shopped for food at Brodick on landing before starting our clockwise circumnavigation of Arran, our picnic lunch at Whiting Bay being curtailed by rain sweeping up from the south to displace the sunshine. It stayed dull all day with occasional light showers but that didn’t spoil the views of the dramatic coastal scenery. We stopped for tea and scones at the golf club tearoom at Blackwaterfoot. This was followed by a glorious run up the west coast with the wind behind us, very easy cycling with the sea on our left and misty views of the Mull of Kintyre and the mountains of Arran.
We turned the corner and cycled a short way into the pretty Lochranza Bay with its ruined castle on the shore, watching the ferry for Clonaig arrive and depart. It was good to be able to cook for ourselves at last after several days of pub food. The Youth Hostel was fairly busy and we spent the evening talking to Steve, the second graduate of Bangor University that we’d met, 1994 in this case. Steve had started off from Carlisle on the same day as us but a few hours later, making a few alterations to the official route including the detour to Arran, just like us. He’d decided to avoid the Glasgow conurbation by taking the ferry over to the Mull of Kintyre and picking up the official route again at Killin. We’d planned on staying at Killin Youth Hostel the same night so we looked forward to comparing experiences. I didn’t fancy cycling through dodgy Glasgow suburbs either, but we’d rejected the Mull of Kintyre option as being too far out of the way. We went to bed thinking that maybe he had the better plan.