Now many people are put off doing outdoor activities by a little rain. Even cyclists in fact. And most people would be put off doing outdoor activities by a lot of rain. Even cyclists. So when I woke up on Saturday May 11th to an absolute deluge going on outside my window, why on earth did I then yawn, stretch and think “Time to get ready to go and cycle round Arran”
Now if you have been paying any sort of attention on here, you’ll have noticed that I had a less than successful trip round Arran not but a few weeks ago, where I used the excuse of “tired after my Texas trip” to justify cycling like a five year old girl. So what possessed me to think that I could do any better in torrential rain? Well actually it was probably the thought that I couldn’t do any worse that made me head off on the 8.43am train. That and the knowledge that the company would be good.
So there we were, standing on Brodick pier hoping that the brief glimpse of the yellow thing would materialise into a heatwave. And it did – for about ten minutes.
This lasted all the way round Sannox Bay just up to the point where we started climbing up the lower stretches of the Boguille – that’s the FGH between Sannox and Lochranza – a mere 7% at itseasiest point but a 14% in places. What then struck us (literally) was just how much headwind we had. So much that it made us forget all about the constant drizzle.
It was certainly a triumph of willpower over wind that got us all up, and it made the descent into Lochranza all the better. There is then a fairly flat stretch along the west coast of the island and I allowed myself to go for a good blast along here. I was trying out a Giant Defy with a view to purchasing an Avail and it handled the road rather well. My efforts were rewarded by a nice lunch at Blackwaterfoot and a chance to dry myself out using the time-honoured method of standing under the hand drier in the Ladies for about fifteen minutes.
Off we went again after lunch, all buoyed up to do the hilly stretch of the route. I have to admit I found this quite challenging and lagged behind on several occasions. It was, however, markedly better than the previous attempt. The rain was falling quite heavily at times now so i was probably going a little more cautiously than usual given that I was on a borrowed bike. The descent into Lamlash coincided with a rather splendid rainbow over the Holy Isle but no apparent pots of gold were strewn across our path.
The climb out of Lamlash was held up for a while as we attended to Mandy who had injured her wrist. It is a fairly brutal climb at the best of times and again we had the wind in our faces. There was a fairly undignified dash for the ferry which we made almost literally as they were pulling the gangplank up, but we made it for a well-earned seat and a coffe.
So did we enjoy our day in the rain? Well yes we did. it was good company and everyone was united against the adversity of the rain.
And I do have to say that Caledonian MacBrayne have exceedingly good hand driers in the loos.