Brodick to Auldgirth (the end of the beginning)

Perhaps the comments about Brodick are a little unkind, the view from the ferry as you leave the Isle of Arran is something special and it is a picturesque paradise compared to the immediate impression of the mainland.

Arran

Yesterday's extended route gave us a far simpler start to the day, the first inclines were not for 20 miles and even they would be gentle, plenty of time for our legs to warm up.

The destination today was a tiny place called Kirkbride near Audlgirth - often overlooked on roadmaps itself. It was chosen entirely due to its proximity to the A76 and its location mid-way between Sanquahar and Dumfries, not because of an outstanding selection of accommodation.

Of all the planning I had done for this trip today was by far the most anally retentive! This was the first time the route would enter any built up areas and I had spent ages figuring out cycle paths and quiet roads that we could use just to avoid using the A76. The planning got less detailed the further south the route went and today I realised this was for the best!

The plan was to pick up the B370 to Stair, some quite roads to Ochiltree, more quite roads to New Cumnock, A76 to Kirconnel then more quite roads to Kirkbride via Penpoint.

I obviously had far too much time on my hands when I worked out this stage of the trip; not only had I attempted to select only quiet roads, I had also endeavoured to factor in the most desirable contours as well, the result was a flat profile with lots of road changes. With hindsight its no great surprise that, by the middle of the day, we were quite lost; you can spend too long planning these things!

There was a lot of very pleasant scenery, but the enchantment diminishes as you cycle backward and forward looking for some minor un-posted turn you only realised you missed a mile or two up the road.

My advice for anyone following this route without the aid of a GPS would be to maybe just stick to the A76 until Kirconnel where there is a more or less parallel minor road that is a real pleasure. There are a couple or short but stiff climbs as you follow the River Nith up through the woods towards Dromlanrig Castle, but it is well worth the minimal extra effort.

Eventually we arrived at the only other guest house I feel obliged to mention, Low Kirkbride Farm run by Zan Kirk. It is a lovely place with a really friendly atmosphere and the only place to welcome us with tea and cakes on our arrival. The only downside is it is a little remote and obtaining an evening meal required us to cycle another 6 miles into Auldgirth and back.

As this has come up a in a few emails since, its worth mentioning that Zan can often provide an evening meal if required, but not when we visited. She had just returned from holiday herself and hadn't had a chance to stock up on provisions.

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Day:5 of 13
Date:03 July 2003
From:Brodick
To:Auldgirth
Distance:121 KM
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