“The first Scottish island I ever visited was Arran. It was on a day trip, through the mist and fog, on the daily ferry from Ardrossan situated on the west coast of Scotland. On the way over, whilst holding the outside rail in a bracing wind, I felt a sense of adventure and most of all … excitement! What is the island going to look like? How will it be different from the mainland? Will there be anything to do?
As I landed at Brodick, on Arran, all my fears were put to rest. Brodick was all I expected it to be and more. From Brodick Castle to the Heritage Museum, to the Walled Garden, I spent an enthralling day on Arran.
Since that day, I have been back to Arran many times. There are good reasons why it is often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature’.
How do I get to Arran? The main Caledonian Macbrayne Car Ferry for the isle of Arran leaves from Ardrossan on the west coast of Scotland and docks at Brodick, the main town on Arran. The other Caledonian Macbrayne Car Ferry is between Lochranza in the nort west of Arran and Claonaig on the Kintyre peninsula. This a smaller ferry and runs less frequently.
How do I get around Arran? Several buses run between Brodick, Lamlash and Whiting Bay, which are the three largest villages on Arran. Buses also run along the B880 String Road, between Brodick and Blackwaterfoot. Also, there are several taxi firms on Arran.
What’s worth visiting on Arran? Brodick Castle, which is the former seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. Goat Fell is Arran’s highest (and most accessible) peak. It is only a three hour climb. In the north-west of the island are the major ruins of Lochranza Castle. This is set in a stunning location next to the beach at Lochranza. Also, Arran Gems sell locally home-made pieces of unique jewellery. Take a trip on an Ocean Breeze R.I.B where you could learn about the wildlife, geology and history around Arran and its nearby islands including Holy Isle, Pladda and Ailsa Craig.
Where can I stay on Arran? Here is just a selection of the Hotels, Guest Houses and B & B’s on offer on the Isle of Arran. Auchrannie Country House Hotel and Lagg Hotel in Brodick, Best Western Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot and the Glenisle Hotel in Lamlash. Other Isle of Arran Hotels are available through Hotels Combined. There is also The Barn B&B in Brodick, The Mare in Kildonan and the Clisham B&B in Pirnmill. Self-catering is available at Achancarry Cottage and The Shieling in Kilpatrick, The Granary in Kilmory, Dumaghlas in Pirnmill and Whiting Bay Cottage, Windy Pines and Creag-Raineach at Whiting Bay. There is a campsite at Lochranza and Hostels at Kilmory Hall, Lochranza and Corrie.