Bookmark and Share

Wednesday 17th August 2022

7198/19718

It’s been an unhealthy month for me and though I did a lot of walking in Edinburgh, my last run was on day two of the Fringe, so this morning I thought I’d see how I got on running the 2km up the hill to the main road. I got on surprisingly fine and it was great to have the fresh island air in my lungs and the views were spectacular. Coming downhill was a lot easier, but I managed to do this tough 4km with plenty of energy left. Still some way off the two half marathons that I foolishly agreed to do at the beginning of November.
The stress of Edinburgh saw me fall off the chocolate wagon (though managed to stay off the booze) but I have gone cold turkey on Arran and seem to have kicked my worst vice again. It’s cool to die of a drug overdose, not so cool to die of a giant chocolate button overdose. It’s still hard to manage food properly whilst away though, but hopefully I can pull things back once the holiday is over.
We decided to see if we could drive around the island and only stop if something took our fancy. Around lunchtime we came to a village with a sign pointing up an alley promising fresh bread and we bought some pastries and a baguette and that became our lunch and then we drove onwards.
We didn’t get close to a full circuit of the island. On the west coast we passed a sign for the King's Cave and decided to investigate. It turned out to be a long walk through a forest to the beach where there was a cave, that legend said is where Robert the Bruce saw the spider try, try and try again. Even the signs at the car park said that this was unlikely to be true, which seemed like giving in before you’d started. Front it out, tourist board. Maybe let people know that it’s bullshit once they’re at the cave. It looked like a long walk and we weren’t sure if the kids would make it, but they’ve had a good life and we could leave them behind if they hampered our progress. As it turned out they coped pretty well (though Ernie had a couple of knee scuff falls) and even though I’d already done my run, I managed to get round without too much trouble.
The reward for the long walk was a stony beach and a couple of caves, one filled with slightly spooky piles of balanced stones (stones should be treated with dignity, not turned into performing clowns like this, so I smashed every sculpture to pieces) and one being where Robert the Bruce hadn’t hidden and seen a spider, which he almost certainly never did anyway. There was some cool ancient (and modern) graffiti and Ernie dug for treasure and someone had attached a big spider to the metal gate, but six of its legs had fallen off. Ernie thought they might have come off as it tried to make its failed leaps.  Was this cave worth a round trip of over two hours? Couldn’t they have put the car park a bit closer? 
Maybe, but the long walk and anticipation made it all the more special. 
I fancied that I faintly remembered coming here as a kid, have a fleeting memory of my grandad telling me about the spider, but that might just be a legend of my own or I might be confusing it with Robin Hood’s cave. My mum’s parents certainly came on holiday with us at least once, so it’s possible we all came here and I made this trek to see basically nothing. But like my own kids I am sure I’d have loved the story and the adventure and the spooky dark caves. 
Maybe we’ll drive further tomorrow. I want to go the lake with the ruined building beside it, which my grandad painted. There is a distant figure in the painting which is my mum in her light blue anorak, that I still remember her wearing (but maybe only cos of the painting), but that’s a bit further to the north.
We went for a drink in the local hotel and the kids played on their ipads as we played poker. I almost got a Royal Flush but had the 2 or diamonds instead of the 10. I won two imaginary pounds for that hand. My son was listening in though and at one point whispered to me "Do a flush, daddy." As if he had come up with some great poker strategy. Good idea. Good to start them young though. We are terrible parents.




Bookmark and Share



Buy my new book/ebook/audiobook "Would You Rather?" (get stickers and a signed bookplate from gfs. Also available as a very different audiobook with the brilliant Stevie Martin
Help us make more podcasts by becoming a badger You get loads of extras if you do.