Race Report: Gate to Gate Fun Run at Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran

Race Report: Gate to Gate Fun Run at Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran

Date: 21st June 2015

Profile: Undulating

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: runarran.com

Positives: very relaxed vibe, well organised, great entertainment, and Jog Scotty was there 🙂

Negatives: a little hillier than I expected, my poor show, 10 minutes slower than my 5K PB

As you probably know, @TheWelshWookie and I were supposed to be running The Color Run in Glasgow on 22nd June, which was cancelled. Then, fate intervened, and up popped the Gate to Gate run on Facebook, only minutes after I found out that the run was cancelled. Result! We found an excellent replacement and had just as much fun as we would have had in Glasgow.

The Gate to Gate run takes place in the grounds of Brodick Castle, which is a National Trust castle on the Isle of Arran. For us, Arran is very easy to reach as we can hop on the ferry from Claonaig, which is only around 8 miles south of Tarbert. The ferry takes us into Lochranza, and Brodick is around a 14 mile drive towards the south of the island. Perfect!

I laid out my gear the night before, as usual. As it was my first organised run of the year, I’ll admit that I double checked my bag a few times. The weather forecast was for grey, overcast, misty weather, but one report said it might brighten up later. I was optimistic, but opted for a vest and skort combo:

 On the morning of the race, we were up early, had our breakfast and hopped into the car for the short drive to the ferry. It was as forecast: grey and miserable. Oh well! When we arrived at Claonaig, it was already busy, with quite a few cars already queued and waiting for the ferry to come in.

   When we arrived at Lochranza, the sky wasn’t as heavy, and the sun began to appear as we drove down to Brodick Castle. We parked up,and walked through the grounds of the castle to register and pick up our bibs. We were pleasantly surprised by the stalls that were set up: it was busier than we had expected! Apart from the pick up point there was a bar courtesy of the Douglas Hotel, a huge tombola stall, the local Co-op were also there. There was also a DJ, blasting out upbeat tunes. Perfect! When we picked up our packs, we had a lovely chat with the volunteers, and they were brilliant. I got a really great vibe about this event right away.

      By their organisation, I could tell this wasn’t their first rodeo (so to speak), everything was so, so well arranged and relaxed. Jog Scotty was sitting nearby, ready to greet the runners, which was cool!

We went back to the car to change, and then headed back to the start/finish line to enjoy the atmosphere. As we arrived, we could hear the skirl of the pipes, and the Isle of Arran pipe band was there. They were great, if a bit serious looking:

 We then had our group warm up with Jog Scotty, and a count down, and we were off!

Here’s a map of the race:

The race started with a lovely, fast downhill section towards the gate we had arrived through. But, of course, this meant that there was an almighty uphill facing us next as we turned at the gate and headed back. The day had really warmed up, and the sun was blazing as the race kicked off at 12.30. I had to walk for part of the hill section, and cursed my quick start. We then ran on, past the castle turn and onto a lovely flat section, which too soon became another down hill section towards the other gate. Just as we reached the second gate, @TheWelshWookie felt a pain in his calf. We stopped as he tried to stretch it out and then we walked some too, to see how it felt. We then continued on a jog/run back up the big hill. As we reached the 4k mark, he told me to just run on, so I ran the final part myself.

There were a few photo points, which I had fun at – gawd knows what the pictures will be like!

As I rounded the corner, the support ramped up, and as I crossed the line I was greeted by cheers and applause. It was fab! The marshaling was good – a couple of very supportive marshals were along the route. I appreciate the work they do even more now, so tried to thank them as I passed.

When I crossed the line, I collected my medal, my goody bag, a bottle of water, a banana and a fresh scone with jam and cream! Wowee!

I then chatted with the Marie Curie fundraiser, as we waited for @TheWelshWookie to cross the finish line: she gave me a cereal bar, too, so I got loads of stuff for such a small race.

Our stats: 35:30 or so. I forgot to switch off my watch as I crossed the line, so I accidentally added a minute or so to my time by accident. I was about 10 minutes slower than my PB, but -hey- I had fun!

The Medal: As part of the Jog Scotland series, it was a Jog Scotland medal

 Goody Bag: some awesome Arran Aromatics goodies, a water bottle, a voucher for a tub of local ice cream (I had mint choc chip, it was ace!), some local oatcakes, my scone with jam and cream, banana and water. I probably gained an extra pound with all of the foodie goodies!

    T-shirt: None, none needed.

We waited around, and watched the prize giving, as we ate our scone and enjoyed the sunshine.

When we got back to Lochranza, I ran another 2 miles while waiting for the ferry. I then ran another 2 miles when we got back to Claonaig. All in all, I manage to clock up my 7.5 miles scheduled for the day – and I have the sunburn to prove it! 😮

I also reached a magic milestone – I’ve now run 1,000 miles with Nike! Woopie! 😀

 I’d definitely do this run again, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for more races on Arran in future! 🙂

Celebrating World Gin Day!

Celebrating World Gin Day!

I  mentioned yesterday that @TheWelshWookie and I had been to one of our very favourite places on Saturday: Portavadie Marina.

We were looking for any excuse, really, to take a trip on the new hybrid ferry, MV Lochinvar 😉 What better excuse than to go for lunch – and celebrate World Gin Day – at Portavadie!

The weather was absolutely beautiful: it was gloriously sunny as we strolled down to the ferry terminal. We popped into a few shops on the way, buying  bottle of white grape & elderflower presse for adding to gin later on in the evening.

The first thing we noticed about the new ferry was how quiet she was! The engine, being a hybrid, merely purred, making for such a pleasant journey. The interior lounge has much more seating than before, and there are two observation areas with seating on the upper decks. Impressive!

20140617-165440-60880819.jpg 20140617-165444-60884809.jpg

We arrived at Portavadie, and walked around to the marina. We saw that construction is now under way on the leisure complex: I can’t wait until the pool and its facilities are built!

As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by Chris, who’s service is always fantastic. We took a seat on the sofas while we perused the lunch menu, and ordered a Botanist gin each. Oh, my. It’s definitely my absolute favourite gin of the moment: it’s from Islay, which is much more famous for its whisky. We had a chat with Ian, the General Manager, and it was so great to hear of the future plans for Portavadie: it’s exciting times ahead!


When we were ready we were seated for lunch. Most of the other guests had opted to sit outside, but I much prefer to eat indoors (I’m weird, I know). I had the smoked haddock with mustard potato salad and pancetta crisp; @TheWelshWookie had Tarbert scallops with black pudding and roasted potatoes. Both were -ma-zing!

20140617-165441-60881827.jpg 20140617-165442-60882721.jpg

Of course, we also had dessert. I had a white chocolate mousse with mini toffee apples and raspberry sorbet; @TheWookie had pineapple crumble with coconut ice cream. Yum.

20140617-165443-60883593.jpg 20140617-165444-60884651.jpg

After taking a stroll around the marina, having a look in the shop (of course), we had another G&T before heading home on the ferry.

20140617-165447-60887307.jpg 20140617-165445-60885636.jpg

We had a fabulous day, as ever!

Did you celebrate World Gin Day on Saturday? Do you prefer to eat indoors or outdoors?

A New Arrival

A New Arrival

On Saturday, @TheWelshWookie and I went for a little run around Tarbert Harbour. It was a damp day, with blustery showers, but we were lucky and managed to time our run between them: more by luck than design, I hasten to add 😉

And, the village has had a new arrival: our brand new ferry is here, and almost ready for action!

Our current ferry, MV Isle of Cumbrae, is a lovely little lady. But she’s a bit tired and ever so slightly old fashioned. But we’ll miss her.


Her replacement is a hybrid ferry, both diesel and electric, and she is much bigger than her predecessor.

She’s MV Lochinvar, and can carry 150 passengers and 23 vehicles. She’s brand, spanking new, and only the second of her hybrid-kind in the CalMac fleet.

I can’t wait until our next visit to Portavadie, so we can see what she’s like inside and on the water 🙂

When was the last time you were on a ferry? Where did you go?





I think that we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Here’s today’s vista:

What do you think? What’s your view like today?

Raining in Rothesay

Raining in Rothesay

Today, I found myself in Rothesay. But it was raining.  Bleugh!

The sun was, however, breaking through the cloud over Portavadie first thing this morning:


I have only ever been to Rothesay once before, and I was hoping to see the Isle of Bute in glorious sunshine, but it wasn’t to be.

IMG_2219 IMG_2223 IMG_2221 IMG_2220

The trip involved two ferry journeys:

1. From Tarbert to Portavadie

2. From Colintraive to Rhubodach

On the drive from Colintraive to Portavadie, I pulled in quickly at Tighnabruaich Viewpoint to take a quick photo, but headed off again pretty quickly to catch my ferry home.


Maybe my third trip- whenever that may be- will be sunny!

Today’s Stats:

Run: 2 miles, and it felt pretty good

Time: 20:09

Weather: Glorious sunshine

Trainers: Nike FreeRuns +5

This was not part of my running playlist, but it has been stuck in my head all day….

Today’s Life Lesson: take two photocopies of everything. One will go astray….

Did you use any public transport today?