En route to Arran

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True to the weather forecast the next morning was wet and miserable.

We drove up to Ardrossan and sat in the queue for the midday ferry. The tarmac was flat enough to revive our leak. Our skylight has a leak in the front corner, and we have developed a habit of parking with our nose slightly down to let the water run off our roof rather than into the van; really we need to sort it out but on days that it’s dry we find other priorities.

The ferries in Scotland tend to be quite good value, subsidised by the Scottish government the crossings are meant to be roughly equivalent to the price of a roughly equivalent road journey. This crossing was a very reasonable £30.15 for us. The crossing itself was a little lumpy but as we were onboard for less than an hour it was no issue. I spent the time on the CalMac wifi trying to sort out i-tunes on my new laptop. Although it recognises that I own the music, it wont let me download it. Grrr…frustrating.

We knew that our first job on Arran would be to dispose of our waste and fill up with water. We’d lost track of how long it had been since we were last able to do so and it was getting desperate enough that Paul was using a pee bottle to conserve our toilet space. On Arran there are a couple of motorhome/caravan service points that are operated by the local communities on an honesty payment basis. Just a chemical toilet point and an outside tap, so nothing too sophisticated, but very welcome. We headed to the one at Whiting Bay, you have to go into the local shop or post office to pay, and when both were closed we were good honest citizens and posted a few quid through the letterbox of the post office. We used Whiting Bay a couple of times during our stay and didn’t go to the one at Blackwaterfoot as there were mixed reports about whether it was open.

Arran is part of the Argyll unitary authority in Scotland and one of the things that has suffered due to budget pressures is the availability of public toilets. Local communities have been asked to take on the responsibility of maintaining these facilities themselves (this includes the motorhome service points) or they would be shut. All of the open public toilets we used on Arran had an honesty box system which we happily contributed to. It seems such a short sighted policy for a popular tourist area and a number of public toilets were shut, but equally the ones that were open were well looked after.

After sorting our chores in Whiting Bay we moved on to find a spot for the night. We headed to Kildonan where we looked at our preferred spot between the campsite and the village and decided it was too boggy to risk parking on. We were in a bit of a grump by this point what with the rain, a drive on less than perfect roads and then finding our parking spot was a quagmire. Time to check out the local campsite, but they were fully booked and we were told that most of the other sites on the island were also booked. School may have started in Scotland but there were obviously plenty of other tourists trying to take advantage of the last weeks of summer.

We drove down further into the village and ended up parking opposite the village hall with a view out to sea. There was a public toilet here which was a bonus, a porta-loo by the village hall. Now settled in we crossed our fingers for fine weather to allow us to enjoy the outdoors on Arran.

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