The Arran Coastal Way, is a walking holiday around the Isle of Arran, the most southerly of the collection of Scotland’s beautiful Western Isles.
Only 12 miles from the mainland across the Firth of the Clyde, within easy reach of Glasgow, a Walking Holiday on the Arran Coastal Way on the beautiful Isle of Arran is a world away from the busy Scottish mainland.
Sheltered on the western side by the Mull of Kintyre across Kilbrannan Sound and the long Ayrshire coast stretching south across the Firth of Clyde on its eastern shores, it is protected all round. Its position in the heart of the Gulf Stream means Arran has above average mainland temperatures with palm trees and Mediterranean plants being common around the island.
Walking the Arran Coastal Way is often likened to walking around a miniture model of Scotland , though this description undervalues the strong island character. Approximately 20 miles long by 10 miles across, Arran has unique contrasting landscapes in its compact area; rugged mountains and green hills in the north, reminiscent of Highland Glens; farmlands and wild forests, streams and waterfalls of the gentle Borders in the south, encircled by rugged shorelines cliffs and beaches.
Taking the ferry across from the mainland to Arran’s capital, Brodick, the route takes in superb coastal paths and forest tracks, quiet lanes and shoreline. There is the opportunity to walk inland to ascend Arran’s highest point, Goatfell – in fine weather this challenging but enjoyable walk to the summit rewards you with stunning views of Ayrshire, the Mull of Kintyre and Ireland.
You walk through many of Arran’s charming coastal villages with their white stone cottages and ancient Celtic and Norse names; Lagg, Sannox, Kildonan and Corrie. Explore the ruins of Kildonan and Lochranza Castles; venture to the King’s Cave, where according to legend, Robert the Bruce regained his resolve following defeat by the English by watching a spider battle the elements. Look for Pictish carvings on the cave walls.
There have been settlements on Arran since 4,000 BC and the countryside is filled with prehistoric burial mounds, circles, ring forts and one of Scotland’s best examples of Bronze Age standing stones at scenic Machrie Moor.
Arran’s natural island protection makes it’s wildlife a special delight of the walking holiday. The northern mountains are natural home of the red deer. Raise your eyes from your path and you may rewarded with a majestic golden eagle, gliding hen-harrier, or amongst the heather bring up a fluttering grouse or curlew. Seals can be seen basking off shore, and the coastal inlets and cliffs are home to a vast array of sea birds.
At the end of your walk visit Brodick Castle, stroll around its magnificent gardens, or return to Lochranza to sample the delights of the Isle of Arran distillery.