Thursday, 5 June 2014
An Arran Amble - best buns on the beach!
As we pushed on up Arran's west coast we were paddling into a steady F4 headwind. We switched down into "low gear" paddling and found that we could make satisfactory progress despite the wind, we were in no hurry and besides, the scenery was pretty good!
We stopped at Machrie Bay for a short rest on the warm coloured sand. Even with the breeze it was a very nice afternoon and much better than the day we'd expected given the grey and blustery weather of the early morning. Once back in the boats and underway, we hadn't paddled very far at all when something caught our eye on the shore road........
A white painted building on the roadside a little back from the beach had flags fluttering in the breeze and what looked like folk sitting on a terrace outside. The OS map shows a golf course clubhouse here, but we rather thought it looked like an establishment which could provide third luncheon!
We landed on the sandy beach and I went a little way up to confirm that our hopes were correct. There were indeed folk enjoying food and drink on the terrace. Without further ado we carried the boats a little way up the beach from the rising tide and set off.
Photo by Douglas Wilcox - seakayakphoto.com
"Machrie Bay" is indeed still a golf clubhouse but there is also tennis, a children's play area and a rather excellent coffee shop. To get to it from the beach, it's necessary to cross a golf fairway, so we took care to look both ways. There were cyclists, families and tourists enjoying the sunshine and the views from both the terrace and an airy inside room. Since it was now so far past first luncheon to qualify we decided that this would be first tea.
The selection of home cooked local food and cakes all looked very, very good - but being sea kayaking athletes (.....) we decided upon a healthy option of carrot cake. We can report that the carrot cake was outstanding, the coffee likewise and the welcome for three rather windswept paddlers in kayak gear was warm and friendly. "Machrie Bay" is open all year, rather than just seasonally - we heartily recommend a stop if you happen to be passing on land or on the water. The sign above the door reads "The Best Buns on the Beach" and we absolutely agree!
We enjoyed just sitting in the sunshine with our coffee, but kept glancing towards the beach and the rising tide. All too soon we judged it time to head back, arriving at the boats just as the tide did, so saving any lifting of laden kayaks after our cake...... It was now late afternoon and time to continue our journey up the coast to our intended camp for the night.