A short break to the Isle of Arran was the perfect opportunity to bag the only BCQ checkpoint on Arran, at Pirnmill.
Setting off from Brodick with Charlotte on a grey (and occasionally drizzly) but largely still day, the first 14 miles or so heading north up the coast were entirely flat, making for quick progress. Turning inland at Sannox, the road headed upwards in short order. After a brief stop at the car park at the foot of the main climb we set off for the nearly 700 foot climb. On one of the steeper ramps near the bottom I went to give Charlotte a small push to help and immediately strained my back with the twisting movement. Fortunately the gradient of the climb was generally rideable for both of us!
The descent that followed took us all the way down to the Lochranza distillery where we planned to have a short tea stop. Suitably refreshed, we then briefly took a look at Lochranza castle before stopping near the ferry ramp to eat our sandwiches with a view of the Kintyre peninsula. The road south along the shore was mostly flat, with the odd small incline, and the checkpoint in Pirnmill was easy to spot from the road. Charlotte was beginning to experience some chest pains, so we decided on a cafe stop at Machrie Bay before reviewing our options. The cafe was clearly a popular choice with cyclists and we were fortunate to arrive just before a large group.
The route back to Brodick was about 9 miles over the String road, but included a bigger climb than the one we had ridden in the morning. We decided to take the ride very gently, but even so had soon covered half the distance and were on The String itself. As the road ramped up Charlotte needed to walk, and we decided that it was best for me to carry on and return in the car to pick her up. Over the top of the climb and following a fast run down to Brodick I wasn't surprised that on returning with the car Charlotte had already made it to the top of The String where she was waiting for me whilst spotting deer on the moors.