Trip Review: Isle of Arran (May 2012)

In the Hall of the Mountain King

I cannot believe it is May. After getting over the initial shock of April I'm now faced with May. Where does the time fly? This weekend saw our fourth last trip of the semester, and what a trip it was.

Despite a few last minute cancellations we had a loaded coach and headed off to the great wee port town of Ardrossan (the castle ruin here is apparently haunted by Sir William Wallace). It's the ferry journeys that really make these trips. Everyone loves the feeling of being at sea. it was nice to know it was a lot of students first time ever on a ferry. They were simply happy with this part of the trip - the rest was just added extras to them.

Arran is a stunning island. It's another of those places everyone already knows about before they get to Scotland. Arriving in Brodick we split into four teams: Alpha team (Pippa and Liz) headed for their prepared hire car to tour the island at their leisure; Beta team (Sidra, Hamza and Shaira) took to the roads on bikes; Gamma team (Petra, Jitka and Radka) took on the blight of the local buses and Delta and Omega teams came with me.

The highlight of Arran is trying to take on the Goatfell mountain. Not quite high enough to be a Munro (hills over 3000ft) it's still worth the trek. With the group in tow we trekked through the town of Brodick, into the beaches of the bay, over the golf course and through the woods (although to grandmothers house we did not go sadly). It was at this point that Delta team shyed away and headed on their own walk.

Only Omega team were left to face the challenge of the Goatfell. Anni and Mirva of Finland boosted on ahead as they had heard that the last four times I've been here there has always been a Finn at the summit - they were not about to change that tradition. The rest took it more leisurely with me. Sadly we went a little too slow and had to make do with the fake summit we call "Student Tours Scotland Checkpoint" - which was still stunning in it's own right with great views over the Cumbraes, Bute and the mainland.

After reaching Brodick again I took a well deserved tea break with the Dutch girls in a quaint wee cafe and before we boarded the ferry again discovered only Anni and Mirva had made the summit - tradition was preserved. For their efforts they each got a Highland Cow teddy - well done girls! You have done Suomi proud this day!

Back on the ferry we learned Gamme team - the bus one - had a rough day. Not quite running smoothly the local buses had let them down. They had however stumbled upon a lovely couple and accidentally insulted them by saying they were Scottish (when they were in fact proudly English) - although the couple still gave them a lift to catch the ferry on time.

Another great tour and another tiring one. I fell asleep immediately on getting back home. See you all next time!