Day 9: Moniaive to Lochranza – Suicidal sheep on the way to the Isles

The Scottish scenery that we have been looking forward to.

The Scottish scenery that we have been looking forward to.

A fabulous start to the day riding deserted, moorland lanes to the headwaters of the Nith then down through Aryshire to the ferry terminal at Ardrossan. 65 miles before lunch. Excitement at being back on the coast after not smelling the sea for a whole week. Then our first Island. We are loving being on Arran.

We left Moniaive at 0745 after Tim the owner of the Craindarroch Hotel obligingly got up to cook us an early breakfast.

Leaving Moniaive

Leaving Moniaive

The rain from yesterday had cleared leaving a bright sunny morning.

Moniaive nestles in a scenic valley on the River Nith surrounded by low rounded hills. We began a gentle climb straight away and enjoyed the quietness of the morning. In the first hour we saw 1 curlew, 2 cars, we crossed 3 cattle grids, saw 4 deer, 5 hares and 600 sheep.
After crossing the first cattle grid we were out on open moor for the first time since leaving Lands End. There were a lot of sheep with their lambs taking advantage of the warm tarmac to lie down and didn’t seem to recognise our silent bikes as vehicles until the last minute when they moved unpredictably. One little lamb ran along touching my front wheel (like I was its mother). Injury was avoided!

Once over the watershed we left the Nith behind and rolled down the Doone valley, passing a fish farm with reflections in the quiet water.

Daley Fish Farm

Daley Fish Farm

Carsphairn came and went at 20 miles and we continued on the A713. The long, swift descent off the hills down into Dalmelington followed a lovely valley with a brown peaty burn tumbling down at our side and crags at the other side.

The 45 miles from Queen of the South (Dumfries) to Dalmelington was an exceptional bike ride. Very scenic and we enjoyed it very much. Also Dalmenington marked the half way point of our adventure, 600 miles ridden, 600 miles still to go. Hurrah!!

Dalmelington - half way point

Dalmelington – half way point

We were now in Ayrshire and even the road surface was rough

The next 40 or so miles through Aryshire to Ardrossan were a little dull. Our route followed minor roads about 5 miles in from the coast where it is very built up. The route undulated with no major hills. The planned route found a very devious cycle track and lane which threaded it’s way through the main arterial dual carriageways to the ferry terminal at Ardrossan. That was 65 miles to the ferry.

We had time for lunch at a nice little Italian restaurant before we boarded the ferry to Arran.

Waiting to board our ferry to Arran

Waiting to board our ferry to Arran

On the ferry - 15 miles to Lochranza

On the ferry – 15 miles to Lochranza

Arran is one good thing about Aryshire. On leaving the ferry we turned right towards the North end of the island and our destination for today, Lochranza.

The road followed the shore to Sannox and we saw a seal. Then followed the major hill of the day. 700 feet of ascent over 2 miles into a head wind.

On the descent to Lochranza, after a very long climb

On the descent to Lochranza, after a very long climb

I can’t say I enjoyed it as after 75 miles my legs had really had enough but I hung onto Steve’s wheel and we eventually got there. The freewheel down the hill was fun and seemed a very long way. It made us realise how much of a climb we had done

Lochranza is very peaceful and it is a very beautiful evening as I sit here watching a herring gull trying to get a whelk out of its shell.



Tomorrow our morning starts with the little ferry across to Kilchoan. At 09:30. A lie-in.

Our ferry for tomorrow

Our ferry for tomorrowSuicidal sheep

The GPX track for today’s ride is here.

3 thoughts on “Day 9: Moniaive to Lochranza – Suicidal sheep on the way to the Isles

  1. Jennie

    Nice one! Half way and cruising. Have a fantastic day tomorrow, your route looks brilliant, we look forward to hearing how it goes. P.s. we were inspired to visit the big willy today and have a close up view!!! Lots of love xx

  2. Jonathan and Pam

    Great to read the blog Barb!
    Great choice of route avoiding the worst traffic and seeing the sights – loved the view of the severn bridge – lots of years since I cycled across there…..
    A couple of questions for you and Steve – why have you always got rain gear on and why is it so darK?! Joke – couldn’t resist
    One suggestion. The Great Victorian or Great Queensland Bike rides happen every couple of years. They cover about 1000km in eight days and cover some amazing country – just like your ride
    A friend and I did the GW BR two years ago – and just loved it

    Enjoy the Torridons and North West Highlands

    Stay well and safe

    Pam and I send love and best wishes (old bat!)

  3. Kelly

    Well done you two! Enjoying following your cycle/blog. Making me want to jump on the bike and head off again, if only to be able to have an excuse to have a second breakfast! Hope your not too saddle sore. Looking forward to hearing about it all when you get back. Kelly, Dave & iris xx


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