Inhabited since neolithic times, Arran is one of the most southerly Scottish islands and is located in the Firth of Clyde between Ayrshire and Kintyre. Arran is 19 miles long by 10 miles wide but has a remarkable diversity of landscapes and seascapes, thanks to the fact that the ancient Highland Fault Line literally crosses through the middle of the island.
The pretty villages on Arran’s beautiful coastline are complemented by a rugged and mountainous interior in the north and green rolling hills and woodland in the south. Whether you’re looking to get away from it all, have an action-packed break, visit friends and family or just uncover the hidden delights, there really is something for everyone here. You can find a lot of useful information about Arran in these websites:
Also see this charming comprehensive video by Andy Campbell: Isle of Arran
Things to do
Arran in one day
A great way to get familiar with the Arran is to spend your first day driving a circular route. From Quivive, you can start going south, passing Lamlash, Holy Isle and Whiting Bay where you can stop at some beaches or enjoy a drink in the various pubs and cafes along the shore. Kildonan is the next community along the coast, and our favourite as this is a great place to spot otters – if you’ve got sharp eyes, binoculars or a spotting scope, and lots of patience, as these are shy animals and won’t be waving at you. We’ve had most luck along the shoreline from the Kildonan Hotel going westward – a great walk even if you don’t see otters. If you’re an otter enthusiast, start scanning the water 3 hours before high tide.
Continue driving west and you’ll come to Kilmory and then Lagg with the Lagg Hotel which is one of our favourite places to eat – wonderful fish and chips. As you follow the coast you’ll come to the Kings cave where you can make a brief stop.
Continue on the main road along the coast with beautiful views of Kintyre until you reach Lochranza. Make another stop here to visit a 13th century castle ruin and, if you are lucky, meet tame deer which can often be seen wandering around. You’re most likely to see them if you turn left into the golf course. Then carry on driving along the track that bisects the golf course to the far side of the bay. When you can’t drive any further, park ready for a wonderful walk along the coast, around Newton Point until you reach the white cottage at Fairy Dell.
Also in Lochranza is Arran’s oldest distillery- an ideal spot for lunch. If you are interested in seeing how whisky is made, the distillery offers tours of their facility as well as tastings of their fine whiskies. The cafe serves lovely home made food in an informal and relaxed setting. Continuing along the main road, you will cross the north of the island, surrounded by beautiful mountains until you reach the east coast of Arran. The main attraction is Brodick castle and its beautiful gardens. Check the opening times (these vary by season), and if you have time stop for a visit – it’s well worth it.
Along the coast from Corrie, you may see gannets diving and if you’re very lucky, basking sharks.
Further along lies Brodick itself, a good spot for a bit of shopping with its larger supermarket and bakery. You can then drive back to Quivive.
Full day excursion – Hiking Goat Fell
If you enjoy a more strenuous hike, Goat Fell is an ideal challenge on the Island. At 874 metres, it’s the highest peak on the island, with amazing panoramic views of Arran, Kintyre, the mainland and on a clear day Jura, Islay and the Irish coast. The entire walk can be done in around 5 hours, but you can make a day of it by stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. Ideally you should set off from Quivive around 10-11 am so you can enjoy the best part of the day.
There are 2 main paths to reach the summit, one starting from Brodick castle and one (steeper but possibly more scenic) from the village of Corrie. Although steep at points the path is well maintained and once at the top you will be rewarded by some truly stunning views. You will be able to truly appreciate why Arran is called Scotland in miniature as the different landscapes and rock formations will extend in their diversity all around you.
There are seven golf courses on Arran providing a range of challenges. The Arran Golfing Pass allows you one round of golf on each of the seven courses (www.golfonarran.com):
- Brodick Golf Club — par 65. The course is entirely at sea level making it accessible for golfers of all ages and capabilities.
- Lamlash Golf Club — par 64, 18 holes. A serious challenge for golfers of all abilities.
- Whiting Bay Golf Club — par 63, 18 holes. Spectacular views to the Holy Isle and the Ayrshire coast. This course has some of the most difficult Par 3s on the island.
- Shiskine Golf & Tennis Club — 12 holes. Has recently been ranked amongst the top 100 golf courses in the UK.
- Machrie Bay Golf Club — 9 holes. Suitable for golfers of all abilities.
- Lochranza Golf Club — par 70, 18 holes. This is a demanding and challenging course and at 5,487 yards is the longest on the island.
- Corrie Golf Club — 9 holes. Spectacularly beautiful and challenging.
Good information and routes on: www.arranbikeclub.com