The Isle of Cumbrae
Just off the Clyde Estuary coast at Largs lies the Isle of Cumbrae, a fairly flat featureless bit of land with a maximum elevation of 417 feet, yet it remains one of the most visited islands on the west coast, especially for day trippers. It’s not very appealing through the winter but on bright warm sunny days like we’ve been experiencing recently, it’s a very convenient way to “get away from it all” without the major expense or time travelling to larger islands such as Arran or Mull.
Just a ten minute crossing on the ferry and you feel like you’re well away from the bustle of civilisation. The ferry drops you off at the top end of Cumbrae and most people then catch the bus to the lower end where lies the only town in the island, Millport. Millport is a classic seaside town stretching round the bay, catching the sun when it chooses to shine. Popular during the 40s and 50s with Glasgow trippers having a day “doon the water” on paddle steamers, it still has an echo of those family days out, paddling on the beach or having an ice cream on the promenade. At this time of year, however, most businesses remained well out of season.
The favourite past time for any visitor is the hour long cycle around the island. I took my own bike and enjoyed the peace and quiet of what is sometimes a very busy circular route. The views were a gorgeous hazy blue towards the distant islands of Bute and Arran, the silence broken only by the occasional seagull’s cry, and made for an excellent way to soak up that long missed sunshine. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, I was somewhat saddle sore (not being used to cycling) and required some delicate sitting positions later that evening.