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Tiso HikesShipwrecked On Arran

Tiso, Alpine and Blues staff tend to enjoy exploring Scotland in a variety of ways: on the water, on two wheels or on foot, to name a few. We love hearing their adventure stories regaled over a coffee (or a whisky) and we thought you would too (whisky optional)!

by Gav Robbins

Gav works in our Edinburgh Rose St store and is aiming to climb the highest mountain in every country in Europe.

Well, once again I find myself drawn back to Arran.

The first time was many moons ago. I left from Edinburgh around 4am and on buses, trains and ferries, got to Arran, had a plod up Goatfell, a wee play on the ridges, then a meal and a pint and was back home for midnight, it's great what you can do on public transport!

The next time was a little different, as me and some friends went climbing. But the weather was having none of it, so after camping in a midge infested water logged bog, nestled amongst the tussocks, walking through thunderstorms on the A'Chir ridge with one abseil but no climbing, we headed home. But ended up so fobbed off at a road diversion, we tactfully removed the barriers and drove about 8 miles down an unfinished road, to the much bemused faces of all the workies still building it. So as it had been a while, I figured I should return for another outing on that lovely wee isle.

This time I took my cousin, who has just recently gotten into downhill mountain biking, but has also been up a couple of Munro's. We figured the Cioch na h-Oighe ridge in Glen Sannox would be perfect, could link it to Goatfell and my cousin will get his first taste of an airy ridge.

All planned and gear stowed, we headed off, for whatever reason, we assumed winter wouldn't be busy. So when we arrived at the ferry terminal, they informed us they weren't taking any more cars, it's apparently gotten a lot more popular since I was last visiting! A quick recap, we ditched the car, we re-worked our packs and gear and walked on. The crossing was stunning, the light and clouds playfully teasing you with promises of good things to come, whilst still remaining a touch ominous.

Off the ferry we jumped on a bus to Sannox on the north east coast. We walked down to the beach and set up shop for the evening; fires, drinks, stars, good conversation (it'd been awhile since we had hung out)), all with our ridge in the background.

The walk in the next day was excellent, good paths and clear line of sight, a wee rainbow even appeared to guide our way, but just as we were up the steep section almost onto the ridge proper, there it was, in all its form and splendor, I believe the papers called it "Malik".

Visibility, nil. Wind, excessive. Rain, sideways. I felt so bad for my cousin, as he has a worse head for heights than me! But, it is what it is and here we were, so let the fun begin. The ridge is so enjoyable, and even though the conditions would put most off, it's wide enough that you're never in any real danger, and always just adds to the sense of achievement. We made a fairly good time all things considered, but not stopping to eat a windswept and soggy lunch probably helped. We followed the ridge to North Goat Fell and then over to Goat Fell proper, then dropped down to Corrie. It was so nice to have the wind behind us after the constant onslaught, the majority now blocked by the ridge.

Finally back to the camp spot and we thought we'd treat ourselves to a taxi back to town for the ferry (ferry/bus times don't always work out). But this was not meant to be. Go figure, the fairies had all been cancelled. Turns out anything over 25kmph and the ferries get a little shirty. Fortunately my cousin was on holiday and my work can be very understanding. I wish there was more to it, but we just spent the next 48 hours enjoying our time in Brodick. Eating excellent food, having wonderful drinks, listening to live music and plenty of rest and discourse in the wee guest house we booked into. There is nothing better than to be reminded that your life is never entirely in your own hands. Instead of getting upset about it, just go with it, that's the whole point of the outdoors after all.

Catch up with Gav's previous adventure over here:

The Failed Overnighter

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