We recently went on a camping trip to the Isle of Arran, one of the best islands I've visited off the West coast of Scotland. I've been to Arran many times but this is the first time I have went and hiked/camped.
We set off early and got the first Calmac ferry over to Lamlash from Ardrossan, the sun was high and skies were blue. We picked up some eating and drinking essentials and got our Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro rucksacks packed (pick one up from TISO here).
We got our maps out and headed up the road towards the start of the trail towards the foot of Goat Fell, passing a cemetery, residential houses and a camping site on the way. The camping site looked appealing at this time in the morning, my legs were already suffering from lack of sleep and breakfast, a lie down in the tent would have done me fine at this point.
Our original plan was to do the 3 hills surrounding Goat Fell, then camping somewhere on top of the third peak or at the foot of it. We set off up the natural stairs at the base of the first, stopping to take some shots of our new rucksacks in the lovely bright light we were being provided with.
I managed the first section of the first hill relatively easily, the sun gifted us with dry terrain and it was pretty flat after the first up section. We crossed a river and walked through short grass with beautiful views from every angle.
It was after this first section that I started feeling the tiredness kick in. Now we had at least another 2 big inclines to get to the top, and I already knew that my body wasn't going to cope with this easily and I was worried I wouldn't get as far as I had originally wanted to and thought I would be capable of. The main point of this write up (other than showing off some images from the trip) is to speak about the negative aspects of trekking and the realistic aims and expectations. When I say negative I don't mean that trekking is bad in anyway, I just mean the downside to trekking, depending on your fitness and experience.
Other than our big trek a few months ago on the Isle of Skye in the Cuillin Ridge area, I haven't really hiked anything this big. I instantly feel intimidated every time I embark on a trek with my partner in crime, Mr Tristan Harper. He has just come back from hiking to base camp Everest and is in absolutely incredible shape - the man puts the work in for sure!
Once I finally made it to the top we decided to just pitch the tent and stay there for the night. The time it took me to get up I didn't feel comfortable going any further. I totally didn't expect to feel that bad after such a short trek. The top was more than rewarding, the views were incredible and we spent the whole evening taking shots and talking nonsense and some, just some sense.
The next morning we awoke expecting to be able to continue our trek across the remaining 2 hills but the fog hadn't cleared so we decided to go back down and call it a day.
The main thing I learned on the trip was my personal limits. I think in particular the fact that I'm not cut out for big treks like that at the moment and if I'm going to attempt them, I need to go at my own pace. That said, it is good being out there with someone with incredible fitness and experience because it makes you push yourself and want to keep up to a decent speed and standard. For anyone looking to get into trekking or looking to gain experience, I definitely recommend going with someone who feels more comfortable doing it and building up your personal strengths and confidence. If anyone wants to ask anything about trekking we (Tristan & myself) can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm sure one of us will be able to answer most questions.
You can check out the whole photoset from this trip HERE!