Arran Coastal Way
A rewarding 65-mile / 105 km circular route around the beautiful Isle of Arran on the SW coast. Amazing wildlife, fabulous scenery, pretty villages and local gourmet produce to enjoy, make this perfect for a week-long walking holiday.
Most walkers will start in the main town of Brodick, where the ferry from the mainland comes in. You can walk in either direction, however anti-clockwise is generally considered better for a sea view (you'll be on the right side of the roads/paths nearest the sea).
The beautiful island is famously described as 'Scotland in miniature', containing so many typical Scottish features - mountains, glens, rivers, wildlife, cuisine and culture. The island is mountainous in the north, its western edges with sandy beaches and rocky shores, onto gently rolling countryside in the south and finally through forest and woodland paths on the east coast back to Brodick. There are 11 picturesque villages with traditional small hotel and guest house accommodation. Arran is well known in Scotland for its wonderful local produce
Although Arran has long been a favourite for hillwalkers and hikers, it's only in recent years that the full path has been upgraded and way-marked. It's not a challenging walk, but you should be accustomed to regular country walking. The route is mainly low-level, but there are a couple of tricky and rougher sections, which you happily have detour paths so you can avoid them. In Scotland, there's always the weather to slow you down and demand careful progress in a few places. Many Scots come to Arran and will choose sections as day walks as part of their holiday on the island.
You can also start the Arran Coastal Way circuit at Lochranza, the ferry port on the north-west point, which connects you to the Kintyre peninsula and another long-distance route called the Kintyre Way.
Circumnavigate the Island in 8 stages
- Brodick to Sannox - 12km / 7.5 miles (via Merkland Wood) - or add a climb to the summit of Goat Fell the highest point of the island 15.5km / 9.5 miles (to Goat Fell summit)
- Sannox to Lochranza - 15.5km / 9.5 miles
- Lochranza to Imachar - 14.5 km / 9 miles
- Imachar to Blackwaterfoot - 16 km / 10 miles
- Blackwaterfoot to Lagg - 11 km / 7 miles
- Lagg to Whiting Bay - 15 km / 9.5 miles
- Whiting Bay to Lamlash - 9 km / 5.5 miles (via Kingscross Point) or take the longer variant 11km / 7 miles (through the forest to Lamlash via Glenashdale falls)
- Lamlash to Brodick - 8 km / 5 miles
The Island Bus
Bus services run around the island which means you can easily link the start or end of your walk with a bus ride to your accommodation. You would want to time your arrival at Imachar - where there is no accommodation- to allow you to catch the bus. You could stay in a single place for the entirety of your trip and simply take the bus to and from each daily section of the route. Arran has some really lovely self-catering accommodation.
You will almost certainly have wildlife encounters here including seals and seabirds, and possibly eagles. As well as the harder to spot creatures such as otters, minke whale, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks. But you can always arrange to take a marine wildlife tour as part of your trip.
You can add a detour to take in Goat Fell (874 m/2867 ft) on your first day. Or save it to the end, especially if you're having a rest day to do a bit of sightseeing. It's pretty satisfying to look down on the island you've just circumnavigated.
Sightseeing attractions include Brodick Castle and gardens, Lochranza Castle and Lochranza Distillery for a whisky tour.
If you have a golfer in the family then you can happily get on with your weeklong route and leave them to explore the seven 9-hole courses dotted across the island which have great charm.
Food & Drink
Arran and Ayrshire are famed for their dairy herds. Arran's cheeses are award-winning, then there are the local chocolatiers, ice cream makers all producing wonderful artisan goods.
To complement the cheeses, preserves and traditional oatcakes make a perfect walkers picnic. Local farmers produce beef, lamb, game. The seas provide fish and seafood. Finally, at the end of the day relax with a local ale and make a nightcap of delicious Arran Whisky.
As a popular short break destination for Scots, Arran has many accommodation options including hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast, bunkhouses, a youth hostel and campsites.
We provide baggage transfers between hotels.
Glasgow Airport is just over an hour by road to Ardrossan Ferry terminal and Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire is about 20 minutes from Ardrossan ferry terminal.
Caledonian MacBrayne runs schedued ferry service between Ardrossan on the mainland to Brodick, which takes about 1 hour.
Ardrossan is just less than and hour by train from Glasgow. There is also a summer ferry service between Lochranza and Claoniag on the Kintyre peninsula.
The island bus service gets you pretty much anywhere you want to go on the island.
We can provide you local transport tickets.