Scotland’s Island Culture: The Isle of Arran

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Explore the Arran Islands, Scotland Untour

The Isle of Arran is one of the most beautiful and accessible Scottish Islands. From Stirlingshire, home of the Central Scotland Untour it takes only 80 minutes to get to the ferry port of Ardrossan on the mainland then just a 55 minute crossing on the Calmac Ferry

The island is considered a mini Scotland, cramming Scotland’s best bits into one space with castles, mountains, beaches, waterfalls, walking trails, wildlife, and superb local produce in abundance and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.  

There are deeply historic sights on the island such as the castles of Brodick and Lochranza; the standing stones, and stone circles in and around Machrie Moor; and the King’s Cave where Robert the Bruce is said to have been inspired by the spider building its web to try and try again in his battle to win Scotland’s independence from England.

The wildlife on Arran is first class: red deer (Lochranza); rare red squirrels, seabirds, birds of prey (including the mighty golden eagle, particularly at Glen Rosa), dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, and seals in Lamlash Bay and Kildonan.

Arran offers fresh local produce and you will find three cheese producers, an ice cream maker, a distillery, a brewery, award winning bakers (home of the famous Arran Oaties), a chocolatier and the outstanding Arran Butcher. The island is also home to candle and soap maker: Arran Aromatics.

If you like golf the island has an unbelievable seven golf courses with the favorite being the unusual 12 hole Shiskine Golf Course at Blackwaterfoot which is an undulating seaside course which is fun to play and has spectacular views over the Mull of Kintyre and the Kilbrannan Sound.

Explore the Arran Islands, Scotland Untour

The island also has numerous beautiful beaches, some more remote and others just across the road from village shops and cafes.  Kildonan, Pirnmill, Whiting Bay and Sannox are probably considered among the best.

Arran also has its famous peak, Goatfell, which has stunning views over the entire Firth of Clyde with the Hebrides and Ireland in the distance. A gentler walk can be found at Glen Rosa or the coastal path north from Sannox.

The island could be done in a very long day but I would strongly recommend spending at least one night to make the most of your island adventure.

Explore the Arran Islands, Scotland Untour

Top Things to Do:

Isle of Arran Distillery; Machrie Moor Stone Circles; Lochranza Castle; Brodick Castle; Glenashdale Falls; Kings Caves; Goatfell; Holy Isle; Kingscross Point – Whiting Bay (named after Robert the Bruce and has remains of a Viking fort)

Personal favorites:

Beach at Kildonan (hundreds of seals); Auchrannie Hotel (if its wet!); Arran outdoors – gorge walking/off road safari; Glenrosa – rock pool you can swim in

For lunch/snacks:

Felicitys at Eden Lodge– Whiting Bay; Little Rock – Brodick; Pier Café – Lamlash; Machrie Tearoom – Machrie

For dinner:

Coast – Whiting Bay; Fiddlers –Brodick; Brodick Bar – Brodick; Black grouse – Blackwaterfoot (this is fancy!); The Shore – Whiting Bay; Glenisle – Lamlash; Wineport – Brodick

Top tips:

  • If taking the car across on the ferry remember to get there at least 30 minutes before the ferry is due to depart.
  • Book you car on the ferry as early as you can particularly during the summer as weekends can be incredibly busy.
  • When booking the ferry on the Calmac website the Route is Firth of Clyde, the Destination is Arran and the Sailing is Ardrossan on the mainland to Brodick on the island or vice versa.
  • Remember your midgie cream!
  • The Brodick Highland Games take place in early August.

Useful websites:

Enjoy the Isle of Arran as an excursion from your homebase on the Scottish Untours.

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