The Arran Coastal Way, also known as Arran coastal path, is a magnificent circular walk around the perimeter of the beautiful Island of Arran, often described as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ because it compresses the best of Scottish scenery into its petite size of only 20 miles long by 10 miles wide. The north of the island is ruggedly mountainous, with granite peaks and deep glens, resembling the Scottish Highlands, whereas the south is more gentle with low-lying farmland, woodland and moorland.
Situated in the sheltered waters of the Firth of Clyde, Arran is the most southerly and the most accessible of the Scottish Islands. It’s just a short Calmac ferry crossing from Ardrossan on the mainland, making it a favourite destination for walkers, climbers and cyclists throughout the year.
The Arran Coastal way is is suitable for walkers of average fitness. Although mostly at low level, it includes some occasional rock scrambling and an optional climb over the island’s highest peak, Goatfell (874 m). Explore a fascinating mixture of seaside paths, forest trails, tidal beaches and rolling hills. All around you there are spectacular views, across the Firth of Clyde to the east and the Kintyre peninsula in the west. The Arran Coastal Way provides an opportunity to experience the abundant archaeology, history and wildlife of this magical island, which dates back as far as the Stone Age.
As part of an Arran Coastal Way walking holiday, visit Brodick Castle and Gardens. Find time to a tour the Arran Distillery or the Arran Brewery Visitors’ Centre. During May to September you can even take a ferry to Holy Isle, where you will find an ancient healing spring and caves that were inhabited by monks in the 6th century. Also, don’t forget to treat yourself to some of the local specialities for which Arran is famous, from cheese, chocolate and dairy ice cream to soaps and scented candles.
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Suggested Itinerary – Click each day to expand.
Sail to Arran and stay overnight in Brodick. Brodick is the main town on Arran and is the main commercial centre and ferry port. The town offers a wide range of tourist facilities and services, including eating out and shopping. Once the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, Brodick Castle houses a glorious collection of furniture, with some pieces dating as far back as the 17th century. The garden, created in 1923 by the Duchess of Montrose, has been lovingly restored and the grounds contain numerous paths offering great views of the island, and the chance of seeing red squirrels.
A fairly easy beginning to the walk along Fisherman’s Walk to the small community at Cladach. At this point there is the option to climb to the summit of Goatfell (874m) or take the lower route through Merkland Wood through High Corrie and on to by the coastal road. Goatfell is recommended for fit walkers, who are competent in navigation but it’s not advisable in bad weather or low cloud. Also note that there are no Waymarkers once you enter the National Trust for Scotland land or on Goatfell itself.
Some say the best section of the Way, commencing with a lovely section of coastal footpath that leads up to the Forestry Commission site at North Sannox. A forestry track then continues to follow the coast until Fallen Rocks is reached and replaced by a smaller footpath that is generally good, but can be difficult in inclement weather. Pass the testing An Scriodan boulder field to reach the recently upgraded footpath and continue on to Netwon Shore to finish at Lochranza.
The longest day of walking. Take the elevated route out of Lochranza, along a section that involves a considerable walk beside the quiet main road. The route offers magnificent views over Arran and the Kintyre Peninsula and passes through the lovely village of Pirnmill, before leaving the road and heading down to the shoreline for 3km. Thereafter the route returns to quiet roadside walking (with optional detour to the ancient Machrie Moor stone circles), before resuming path walking at the Forestry Commission King’s Cave which leads back to the coast and around Drumadoon Point to Blackwaterfoot.
The penultimate section of the route follows the coast to Preaching Cave and Brown Head then moves inland onto the road near Corriecravie, with fantastic view all around. Head back to the coast past Sliddery before resuming the road once again to cross the Lagg Burn and into Lagg.
Please note that parts of this section are impassable at high tide - check the local tide times before commencing. This section is provides challenging coastal walking, including scrambling over boulders, and the potential for danger should not be underestimated! Check the tide times before you set out, as Black Cave is impassable at high tide. An alternative route is signed with red Waymarkers. From Bennan Head and Black Cave, the path improves gradually as it nears Kildonan where there is a further choice of routes, either round the coast past the notorious Dippen Head or, to avoid further boulder hopping, head inland at Drimlabarra and onto Forestry tracks to Giants Grave and Glenashdale Falls before taking the route back to the coast and Whiting Bay.
The final day on the path swings inland to take in the impressive Glenashdale Falls and then continues through woodland to Lamlash, where it continues on a minor road round the coast with amazing views of Holy Isle. The route then follows a footpath round Clauchlands Point and along the coast to Dhunan. The Way concludes by use of another minor inland road, before crossing fields to Strathwhillan Farm and heading down into Brodick. An alternative route is to walk through Whiting Bay Village and round Kingscross Point past the Viking Grave and Iron Age Hill Fort to follow the shore to Cordon and on to Brodick.
Congratulations - you have completed the Arran Coastal Way! After breakfast, it is time to set off on your onward journey.
Fixed Price - £585 per person
Single supplement - On request
You can see the Fixed Price stages in the table below, with the additional optional stages in brackets. So you can choose to walk further or shorter distances each day and complete the walk over more or fewer days. There is no accommodation at Imachar or Machrie, but if you want to make a stop at this point, it is possible to transfer to and from Blackwaterfoot by public bus. Look at this blog post to learn more about the Isle of Arran. You can also stay an extra night at any point on the route. If you don’t require overnight stays at the start and end of the walk, simply let us know at the time of booking. You can also choose different types of accommodation, for example bunkhouses or hotels at some stages. Explain any changes you require in the Comments section of the Enquiry Form. We will recalculate the price of your holiday based on the changes you make and will confirm the price before any payment is requested. The final amount you pay may be lower or higher than our Fixed Price, depending on the options you choose. If you have any other queries, do not hesitate to look at our FAQ.
|Stages and Distances (Optional extra stages shown in brackets)|
|8 miles - 13 km|
|9 miles - 15 km|
|9 miles - 15 km|
|4.5 miles - 7 km|
|4.5 miles - 7 km|
|8 miles - 13 km|
|6 miles - 10 km|
|4 miles - 6 km|
|12 miles - 19 km|
|* Transfer to accommodation from Imachar or Machrie|
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