Day 5 - Pirnmill to Lochranza

Clisham Lodge, Pirnmill
So after an excellent rest day (involving the joy of buses!), and our delayed-but-not-forgotten meal at the Lagg Hotel, it was time to shoulder the bags again. Over half-way distance-wise, and with the longest day done, we were in good spirits. Doubly so, since this was the shortest day of the walk. As such, we breakfasted in the excellent Clisham Lodge in good cheer.

The plan called for a short road stretch to Catacol, then over the headland on the old Postman's Path to Lochranza. The added joy is that Lochranza is home to Arran's own whisky distillery, and given the short distance, we aimed to be arrived in time for a tour and a taster before being picked up by our host for the evening at 4pm. A grand plan.
The Apostles of Catacol

It was not such a sunny morning as others on the walk, overcast and somewhat humid. The sea across to Kintyre was unbelievably still; it barely rippled. If it weren't for the midges flying around, it would have been possible to think time itself had stopped. The road was easy going when fresh from breakfast, and we were at the base of the Postman's Path in Catacol before 12. Catacol's only noteworthy fact is that it's cottages are called the Apostles, for reasons that were explained to me at the time, but now escape me. They were good resons, I assure you :)

Looking back the way we had come
After a short break we started the ascent, and it's on such short sharp climbs that I realised how heavy my bag was - the knees really protested. But it was over quickly, and we ambled along above the road as we rounded the headland. The view was only spoiled the the horseflies once again going crazy - several new bites were obtained.

We dropped down into Lochranza itself by just after 1pm, and as we rested on a bench, we discovered Mrs ER had picked up a big collection of ticks from the close vegetation as we passed. Ticks are not pleasant critters, and in rare cases can transmit the extremely nasty Lyme's Disease, so we immediately broke out the tools and removed them. Gladly, they were so quickly
discovered that some hadn't even latched on yet, and were easy to remove.

Lochranza Castle
Vowed to do a more thorough check later that evening, we set off on the last mile to the distillery, picking lunch from a cafe along the way. Worth the wait - the Arran distillery was lovely. I've been on numerous tours, and the process is no mystery to me now, but the bonus tasting of Arran whisky (unpeated, fairly sweet, with lots of spices - good with Christmas Pudding, we think) as well as Arran Gold (a whisky-based cream liqueur, like Baileys, but considerably nicer) was really the point of the entry price ;)

Finally we were collected by our host, as we were staying in nearby Sannox for the evening. Darven Cottage's owners were incredibly welcoming, and we felt right at home. After a shower and a meal, we hit the sack, feeling ready for
the north part of the island the following day....