Arran — An Odyssey of Adventure.

The pub was in Ardrossen. It was full of drunken Scottish yobs. Hidden in the corner sat two Red Rose members waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. They waited and waited, and they waited! Now what do Red Rose members do when waiting for the others to arrive? They get pissed. One o’clock in the morning saw Neil and myself doing a slow motion samba back towards the harbour. Where the hell were the others? I located a comfortable doss at the car park and passed out. Neil staggered off to look for the others.

My blissful slumber in the gutter was abruptly halted when Fran shook me. Where the hell was I? What unearthly hour was it? My numbed brain creaked into gear. It was explained to us that there had been a last minute change of plan the others had kipped on a beach out of Ardrossen. Perfect Red Rose planning as usual. The Ferry brought my hangover on with a vengeance, Neil didn’t look any better. Soon the team staggered off the ferry into Brodick. It was a three mile walk to the campsite, not made easier with mountainous sacks. Various items of camping clobber made us look like walking Christmas trees.
Time to play happy campers. our team boffin, professor Saville demonstrated his latest invention. Even gadget man Seed couldn’t rival it. The tardis — a never ending rucksack with the capacity to hold countless tins of chunky chicken. We all gasped in amazement as Paul unpacked enough gear to feed an army. Neil, however opted for a more light weight approach, he seemed to have no problem fitting it all in a sporty hold all.
The tents were up, and we’d all had a feed, and it was still only half nine. Being inspired by the beautiful weather, the merry band trooped up Glen Rosa to the foot of Rosa Slabs. Following the guide, Anne, Fran, Andy and myself set off to scale the dizzy heights of Evening Traverse, a 8OOft. V. Diff. What followed was five hours of fine climbing, impressive situations and plenty of inspired wobblers. Andy vented his frustrations, and tried to create some new handholds — by head butting the rock! Fran had a practical lesson on how to cope with a long rock climb; considering it was her first big climb she coped admirably well. Several times I nearly turned my trousers brown. At one point I was trying to thug my way up a crumbling layback crack, when my handhold decided to go on holiday down the crag. I flew off, jerking down on a good thread. My second attempt ended in slippery failure. By this time the good thread had become a mobile crappy thread. In the end, somehow I made it, the others had fun following. At the top we were faced with forty five degrees of loose shitty slope. Prudence took over and we traversed off.

The lure of cups of tea helped to quicken our pace as we trudged back down the glen. It had been a long day, we all felt pretty weary. A good feed and a night supping Guinness made a good end to the day.

By this time on the trip, the resident boffin had triumphed again, after unveiling his latest toy, Paul wondered around the campsite in his ‘snaps’ amazing people. Obviously getting his inspiration from Blue Peter, Professor Saville tried to be David Bailey with a camera made out of an old cornflake packet. The results of his cost cutting practical photography have yet to be published — the world waits — with baited breath.
Next day the weather was slightly overcast, but it didn’t affect our grip. Indeed, almost unheard of in Red Rose history, the wole team was up and awaty by ten o’clock – in the morning! A sweaty haul saw us on the summit of  Beinn Tarsuinn (I think. Ed) then along  to the A’Chir ridge. Time to play at being mountain goats. Following Anne, Fran and Andy we all leapt nimbly from boulder to boulder, some more nimbly that others. Each problem was solved with courage and ingenuity until we reached a particulary awkward section. The sensible team traversed around it, whilst the dedicated, but slightly puddled mountaineers pressed on.

A tricky step, a little climb down, across an exposed ledge, then down over a flake to solid ground. A team of bimblers ahead made everything look much harder than it was. Sure foot Pacey demonstrated his skill by running across the exposed ledge, everyone else shuffled on their bums. Andy became very friendly with the granite flake; he started to hug it passionately, like some long lost relative — only some verbal persuasion by Anne brought him down from his granite embrace. Time was short, so we left Cir Mhor for another day, and dropped down to Glen Rosa. The walk back to camp was getting just a little boring, but the footsore team plodded on, it had been a
great day in the hills.

It was time again for our technical genius; Professor Saville’s ultimate moment. He needed a willing volunteer to test his creation. Luckily Neil, our lightweight camper, was the ideal subject on which to test the spelio—stimulator. He was placed inside, under the careful supervision of the professor. As soon as the zip came down, an ominous silence descended, Then, the ground started to tremble, steam issued from the vents — what was going to happen to Neil? Just as we were expecting a flash and a pile of charred embers, the stimulator stopped — and Neil emerged, grinning from ear to ear. From then on he always slept in a tent!

For the final day the team split up into groups to do their own thing. Neil and Paul set off up Glen Rosa for a day of epics on the rock; The crack teashoppe inspecting duo, Olwen and Pauline hired push bikes, and the rest of us intended to catch a bus to Glen Sannox, for another day on the hills. We tried to flag down the first bus we saw, it drove straight past us. Andy ran off, down the road chasing it. His little legs went ten to the dozen, but they were no match for the bus,. it soon disappeared out of sight.. Luckily, just as Andy was throwing his sack to the floor in disgust another one appeared. This one stopped and we all trooped on board. After a steadier climb than the day before, we reached the Witches Step, the first obstacle on the ridge. Faced with a steep climb down this rocky pinnacle it wasn’t long before the bimbling started. Anne tied on the rope and set off down a crumbly drop which seemed to be the obvious way on. She beat a hasty retreat when the route degenerated to loose choss. Where next! With nerves of steel Andy slid down a slab, thrutched through a crack and put us on the right path. Feeling relieved to have that problem behind us, we raced off to the summit of Cir Mhor. Fran and Anne raced off in front, whilst the boys wheezed, gasped and panted up behind them. After a quick stop for butties and to admire the impressive views we headed down Glen Rosa, for the third time. It really becoming a bit of a bore.
Towards the end of the evening the Pacey, Saville team returned with tales of heroic adventre on the high rock face. Neil switched to pac-man as he devoured a huge bowl of chunky chicken in three seconds. Plenty of Guinness was drunk that night as the stories of the past three days were exaggerated out of all proportion.

The Red Rose had never had as much grip before looked healthy and tanned as we sat in a teashop waiting for the ferry -- well you have to visit one don’t you? It had been and enjoyable long weekend. More epic tales should unfold when our team invades Skye next year.

Chaz. Frankland


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