After the SBM Inveraray ride in

Well it was a bank holiday and the best weather in the country was in the west coast of Scotland so it would be inappropriate not to make the most of it.  Usually it would be up over The Rest and be Thankful or the ferry from Hunters Quay to Gourock.  Having prized the Argyll 190 route map off the ladies on the SBM stand at the Ride In, a plan formed.  An island hop. Taking the A83 from Inveraray through Lochgilphead and heading South to pick up the B8084 the start of the northern loop of the Argyll 190.  Single track, but I was not in a hurry. 11 miles down the road and you are along the coast with stunning views over to Jura and to the far side of Loch Caolisport.

The B8084 didn’t emerge where I thought it did, so I gave Tarbert a miss! Picking up the A83 again to head South is the start of the Argyll 190 southern loop, (the loop following the coastline down & up the Kintyre peninsular, if you haven’t done it yet, put it on the list.)

Just past the Kennacraig ferry terminal for Islay & Jura is a left on to the B8001, which is the start of the clockwise loop, though my destination was the ferry at Claonaig to Lochranza on Arran.  Arriving at the ferry, I watched as the ferry departed, so 75 minutes to kill.  Skipness Castle is only a couple of miles up the road and well worth a wander around and a climb up to the top of the tower to take in the views over to Arran. Still time for a coffee and a snack at the village shop.  Sandwiches are available, sometimes. That is what the sign says!

From my vantage point I could see the ferry nearing, so back down the road to join the ‘queue’, one car, one Lambretta and me. £7.50 lighter you arrive in Lochranza, where I had been informed, that the deer are semi tame and will wander through the village, though not today. A quick whizz round the Castle, as you do, then head off down the West coast to Blackwaterfoot.

The coast road is not in good condition, but again, not in a hurry, and the views across to the Kintyre peninsular were spectacular, so another ice cream stop in Pirnmill and sit on the bench on the shore and watch the world go by.  At Blackwaterfoot, you can continue on the coast road or as I did, take the B880, also known as The String, to Brodick. Much better road surface for the 10 miles across to Brodick with cracking views before you drop down into the town.

A one way ticket from Brodick to Ardrossan will set you back £11.30 and it is a pre book ferry.  I had not been to Arran before and I will certainly be back, even if it is just doing the 60 mile loop of the island starting and ending at Lochranza.  A great addition to the Argyll 190. How about the Argyll 190 + the Arran 60, it could be called the AA250 triple loop. Time for another beer….

Andy Tinsley

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