So we have something a little different for you this week and over the coming months. As we mentioned in our last blog we are now living in our cute wee camper van Harmony the Happy Camper. We will be travelling all over Scotland Stand Up Paddleboarding along the way. We will also be doing other sight seeing and touristy things along the way because this is kind of our farewell to Scotland trip. In September we will be moving back to Australia for a while.
If you would like to join in our travels we would love it if you would subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we will be posting Vlogs of the trip. There are so many places to SUP in Scotland that we won’t be able to get around to every one that we want and weather – especially wind, will play a bit part. What we hope to do though is show some of these stunning locations and create an online resource for people who are interested in exploring these areas. So with that wee intro I’d like to launch – SUP Chick’s SUP Safari Scotland!!!
Check out SUP Safari Scotland VLOG 1
SUP Safari on the Isle of Arran
Our first week takes us to the Isle of Arran. Usually when I am researching a place for it’s SUPpertunities (SUP opportunities) I look at the satellite map. This enables me to see what the coast and inland waterways are like. Big white sandy bays are a favourite of mine!! From these images you can also see if the water is calm or has waves. You can also tell if there are lots of rocks and whether there is parking and access to the water. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Arran as my usual methods didn’t reveal anything concrete, but… When we got there we found so many awesome places to explore!! Just goes to show that it is always better to visit a place in person.
There were at least 5 locations that I though would be great to paddle. Due to the weather (mainly strong winds) we only got to paddle at one. I will make a video to share these locations in the future so watch this space. For now, check out the video above where we paddle in Lochranza by the castle. Lochranza is a truly stunning setting for stand up paddleboarding. It also has the bonus of being somewhat sheltered from the prevailing wind.
There’s more to Arran that SUP of course!
When we couldn’t get in the water we got to explore some of the islands other attractions. First on the list was Brodick Castle which has just reopened since the last corona lockdown. The castle is really beautiful and the gardens are worth visiting just by themselves.
We visited the Kings Caves where Robert the Bruce is said to have sheltered. Here he is said to have observed the tenacity of a spider, taking inspiration to keep going. I am not a huge cave fan but there is definitely something enigmatic about these ones. There are some ancient carvings from the visitors over the centuries to view as well. We also had an unexpected encounter with some of the wildlife in the form of a snake!! Apparently the adders are quite common in this part of Scotland.
Being such an avid stone circle explorer we had to go and see the standing stones of Machrie Moor. There is such an atmosphere around standing stones and stone circles and these were truly awe inspiring. Luckily we had some clear if still windy weather for the short hike in. Some of the stones were 4-5 meters tall which I find astounding as they must literally weigh a ton!
A taste of Arran
No visit to Arran would be complete without sampling some of the islands produce which we happily did! Unfortunately the distilleries are closed for tastings but we purchased a selection of miniatures from Isle of Arran Distillery and had our own tasting Harmony style! We did a quick trip to the Arran Cheese Shop amid a hail storm and managed to hunt down some Arran Ice Cream during a sunny patch.
One of the biggest surprises was a gourmet sandwich shop The Sandwich Station in Lochranza where we had one of the best sandwiches ever just before catching the ferry to Kintyre. I recommend anyone visiting Arran to check them out especially if you are vegetarian or vegan as they have great options to cater for you.
Stay tuned for next week as we travel further west to the isle of Islay famous for it’s peaty whiskeys, but is there anywhere to Stand Up Paddle? We’ll answer that in our next blog! Thanks for coming along on SUP Chicks SUP Safari Scotland.