Sunday, 3 May 2009

Great Cumbrae.

We fancied an easy day on the bikes today and you can`t get much easier than the island of Great Cumbrae :)

Armed with two new wheel bearings,a new brake cylinder,a fresh year`s MOT,some pieces and 20 Lambert and Butler, the van and I set off across Glasgow for Bob`s house.Two bikes into the back and we went over the Erskine Bridge and along the M8 towards Greenock and Largs,where,being a stingy old git, we parked about half a mile away from the ferry terminal to avoid the £2 parking fee.

Even though it was a bank holiday Sunday the ferry was pretty quiet,just another cyclist, a party of women walkers and a few tourists.At £4 return this must be one of the best ferry bargains in Scotland.The boat sailed on time at 10.15 and we were deposited 10 minutes later on the slipway on Cumbrae.

Looking back to Largs from the ferry...

We hung around for 10 minutes or so to let the bus and other folk disappear and then headed northwards to Tomont End into a bit of a headwind.On rounding the northern end we were hit by a sudden squall which had brought a rain shower along for the ride.Apart from a snow shower and a bit of hail on Kaim Hill this was our first experience of this kind of thing since this blog began.We took shelter in a clump of trees and by the time I had finished a smoke it had passed over and normal conditions resumed :)

I don`t remember how long it took to cycle down the western side of the island.We stopped on umpteen occassions for photos.....the Arran peaks in particular formed an almost alpine backdrop.

Arran peaks and myself on the bike..

Stopped to have a look at the Indian Rock.Nearby Bob noticed the remains of the old pier which deposited Victorian daytrippers to view him.....

Nothing spectacular in the birdlife department,just the usual culprits,loads of eider ducks and oystercatchers on the shore and chiff chaffs,warblers,skylarks and the like on the other side of the road.
The verges were alive with all sorts of spring flowers....

I think there were only half a dozen cars passed us before we rolled into Millport,very quiet road for cycling.We went out onto Millport pier for something to eat and drink and found a tranquil wee sheltered corner.Well,tranquil that is until a bunch of Weegie fishermen turned the air blue...

A good look over to Little Cumbrae was had and we marked it away as one to take the boat over to in the calm summer weather...maybe from Portencross perhaps.

The famous Crocodile rock in Millport Bay....

Anyway,with a trig point on Barbay Hill, the islands high point, to bag we set off stopping for a short visit to see Europe`s smallest cathedral on the way.

Bloody steep hill it was too..! As it was my first time on a bike since cycling into the Corbett Stob an Aonaich Mhor by Loch Rannoch with Scott last August I just took to pushing it up the steep bit :)

A bit windy at the top it was but the views were spectacular with just one solitary car parked there.The mountains around Arrochar and further northwards were a bit cloudy but other than that Arran,Bute,Ayrshire hills and the Ailsa Craig were sticking out.Duly bagged the trig but couldn`t have a summit fag because it was too windy for my lighter to work :(

View from near the top...

Having had a "near death" experience coming down off Stob an Aonaich Mhor last year I slowed down on the descent this time.GPS clocked a maximum speed of only 27mph today...must be getting old :)

We pottered around Millport for an hour which was pretty busy by this time.Archery competition,a pipe band on the promenade and a falconry display which should have been banned for causing distress to the birds.


Headed off back to the ferry along the east coast with a quick stop for me to bag the flush bracket on the wall of the Marine Biological Station..

Lion rock along the road a bit....

....and soon we were back at he slipway where the ferry was duly waiting for us.

Back in Largs we loaded the bikes into the van and headed towards the hills above Greenock via the picturesque Brisbane Glen road,passing Loch Thom, until we were just above Greenock.Parked the van and took to the hillside for a quick bag of the Murdieston trig point.Spectacular views to the north from here....

And finally,a youtube clip taken on the descent of Stob an Aonaich Mhor last year.
Taken at a more leisurely pace after the "near death" experience :)

Update: Just checked the list of Hump`s and Barbay Hill on Great Cumbrae is on it :)


munromusings said...

Dear Alex and Bob,

I have been following your blog for a few weeks now. I must have picked up a link on another blog. As you are following the good weather, rather than plodding up a Munro in the clag because it has to be ticked, your reports have a refreshing nature about them. Also your photographs have an added vibrancy as well.

I have posted a feature about your blog on my own today, as well as adding you to my blogroll. I hope you feel able to reciprocate the link. Although my blog is titled “Munro Musings” I don’t limit myself to just stories of plodding up mountains in dreary weather all the time, I talk about lots of other things as well. Although, it is a little more difficult for me to head to the good weather from where I am based, so more often than not I am in the hills when the weather is far from perfect.

Andrew (aka Papagenos)

Alex and Bob said...

Thank you very much for your kind words Andrew.It was really just started to prevent us two old fogies from clogging up our mountaineering club`s forum with our "rambles" and it is a little bit tongue in cheek as such :)

Link reciprocated and good luck with your Munro round..!

Alex and Bob.