The day started out bright and early with a trip by car from Prestwick to Ardossan, which would have been lovely, but The Goddess isn't a morning girl and leaving without so much as a cup of coffee, well... that was pushing it. But 8 a.m. saw her up and getting dressed, putting on her borrowed hiking boots, and shuffling into the backseat of the car. The ride to Ardossan was uneventful and soon she was being herded onto a ferry. Now The Goddess hasn't lived near water for most of her life so this was actually her first big boat ride, first ferry ride, first trip out into a sea/ocean, etc. A whole lot of firsts that were a bit marred by the fact that she was still rubbing sleep from her eyes. Overall it was a great experience. No fear, no sea-sickness, nothing negative, well save from loud obnoxious children but what are you going to do about that?
To make things even more grand, The Dae even bought the morning's cuppa to get her started. The ferry ride was about 55 minutes from port to port so there just wasn't enough time to do more than relax and enjoy the first day's coffee.
When we arrived on the island it was raining, which it has been nearly every day since some time in June, so that wasn't too much of a surprise. We boarded a bus bound for the start of the trail and began our journey.
The entrance to the trail is behind a lovely boutique, but alas, the kilt wearers weren't having any of it. So we trekked into the hills. The trail immediately became engulfed in woods and foliage and green green green. Even the tree trunks were green. The Goddess was impressed. After about a quarter of a mile of steady slight incline we came to a field with Highland Coos in it.
Now Highland Coos, if The Goddess had to describe them, most look like a cross between Texas Longhorns and Yaks. Since first seeing them back in 2010, she is convinced that they must be the most beautiful creatures on the planet and are now one of her favorite animals. After having the coos pose pretty for pictures, it was back on to the trail.
A steady up and up among the brush and bramble, pictures of thistle, bell flowers, heather, and trees, and every now and then a quick peak over your shoulder to admire the beautiful bay, it was all looking rather lovely. Even the rain had let up, although, up ahead around the crest of Goat Fell was a ring of mist that proved to be ominous.
The way began to break from the trees and green and become more rugged and rocky as we made our ascent. It was incredibly steep and all in the party were puffing hard and rolling their ankles at every loose stone. It was breathtaking, literally, and as we broke across stream and boulder alike the mist creept ever closer. By the time we reached the highest ridge before the final ascent we were walking among the clouds. Visibility was just too poor to continue. One for safety reasons and secondly because if we did manage to get to the summit we would see nothing beyond the mist.
Begrudgingly we decided to stop and have our lunch in the hopes the mist would move off. The Goddess decided to be particularly adventurous and moved herself off to a far cliff to sit atop a boulder and dangle her feet into the nothingness below. It was the most amazing experience. She just had to video it and upload it to youtube.
The hike down off the mountain was uneventful but rushed. Andy Murray was battling it out at Wimbledon and we were already pressed for time. We were able to catch the last few games at a lovely lil' pub called Mac's. The crowd was lively, although we were there too late to enjoy their free strawberries and cream and bubbly. It was so unfortunate that Andy wasn't able to make it out against Federer, but the amount of support he had from his countrymen was overwhelming. I would have been brought to tears as well.