Wander the island

Everyone loves to enjoy the fresh air; walking with the sun on your face on the slopes of Goat Fell, the wind in your hair up Glen Rosa or the seaspray on your skin as you meander along Blackwaterfoot Beach can really energise you. Whether low level or hillwalking, Arran has something special to share with you.

There are lots of low level walks on Arran. Think about beaches, glens and even Arran Coastal Way. Fisherman’s Walk in Brodick is one of the most popular low level walks, taking you from Brodick across the bay to Cladach via beachside paths. Machrie Standing Stones are another popular destination for walkers, with an easy to follow track all the way. Kings Caves is slightly more challenging, but is a great clifftop and beach walk. There’s lots of variety to suit every ability.

If you’re heading into the Arran hills, you’re in for a treat. Arran has four Corbetts, with Goatfell, Cir Mhor, Caisteal Abhail and Beinn Tarsuinn all over 2500’. There’s also some very challenging ridge walking. Whether it’s the granite peaks of the northern range, or the smaller but equally lovely western hills, the sense of awe at the views and variety of terrain will take your breath away.

There's a good list of Arran walks with some of the background history on Arran Geopark website and Arran Access Trust have created a map-guide of accessible walks on Arran. Or check out the family-friendly trails guide from Forestry & Land Scotland (FLS) for ideas.

Full details of all walks can be found on Walk Highlands Arran.

Hill Walks

There’s a great variety of hill walks that will exhilarate, and offer you incredible views. Many guide books offer suggestions, and their advice is worthy of consideration.

Glen Rosa is a great entrance to the northern range, and the Three Beinns will take in Beinn Nuis, Beinn Tarsuinn (one of the island’s four Corbetts) and Beinn A’Chliabhan. This is a great walk for a day on the hills, offering views across to Goatfell, and over to the west of the island.

Another nice walk is accessing The Castles from North Glen Sannox, taking the footpath up the side of the burn and going up Sail an Im, before ascending Caisteal Abhail, another Corbett. From here you can get back down into Glen Rosa. Again allow yourself 6-7 hours to complete this.

Always be prepared for the hills with appropriate footwear and layers of clothing. Take a mobile phone, and remember to tell someone where you have gone and when you expect to return.

Beach Walks

Beaches on Arran vary from golden and silver sands to shingle and rock pools perfect for crabbing.

Blackwaterfoot is one of the longest Arran beaches. Looking out over Kintyre, it is backed by the wonderful cliffs at Drumadoon, and from the point you can see Kings Caves. The beach to the south of Blackwaterfoot is equally great for a wander and there’s often seals basking on the rocks.

Strabane Beach sits to the north of Brodick. You can walk this most easily by using the Fisherman’s walk along the back of Brodick Beach, crossing the golf course bridge at the Rosaburn and then continuing round the actual beach itself. The terrain here is tidal and varies year on year as nature changes the layout of the Rosaburn and Cloy Burn deltas.

Many of the beaches, such as those listed above do not have facilities at them, but there are toilets nearby. Please remember to leave beaches as you find them, and please refrain from bonfires as these can affect our fragile wildlife.

Historical Walks

Arran is steeped in history and many of the key sites are easily walkable.

Probably the most famous of these will be Machrie Moor with its six stone circles. This can be accessed by a farm track through the fields and eventually opens up on to the moor itself, which is quite ethereal.

You will pass the first circle of granite boulders at the second bend in the path. There’s also a double circle near the ruins of Moss Farm – it is said the giant Fionn tied his dog Bran to one of the stones here – see if you can find the stone with the hole through it. The biggest stones are the sandstone plinths on the moor itself – amazing! It takes roughly 30 mins to walk to the stones and 30 minutes back, but allow longer to really look over the sites.

Another popular heritage walk would be Giants’ Graves. Accessible most easily from the south end of Whiting Bay, you can take the circuitous path up to the Graves and then back via Glenashdale Falls. The Giant’s Graves are actually two Neolithic tombs which were excavated many years ago. The views from there are incredible! Allow an hour up and back down.

Adventure Walks

Kings’ Caves can be accessed one of three ways – from Blackwaterfoot following on from the beach, or from either path at the forestry car park. The forestry car park offers a circuitous route down from the clifftop and then back up a different path, taking approx. an hour. However, if you want to take one of these paths and then head back to Blackwaterfoot alonmg the shoreline, it will take approx. 90mins to reach the village. The shore path will pass through a boulderfield, which is quite exciting – and you will pass dinosaur footprints, just look out for the Arran Geopark signage.

Coire Fionn Lochan is a popular walk from Thundergey (pronounced Thunder-guy). Follow the footpath up through the kissing gate, and over the stile to the hill. It’s a good 45 minutes up with a little bit of scrambling on one incline, but the path is well marked. The Lochan itself is a delight – with some sandy beaches around it. If you’re adventurous you might want to climb the ridge behind and look down on this wee circular loch.

Always be prepared for these walks, with appropriate footwear and layers of clothing. Take a mobile phone, and remember to tell someone where you have gone and when you expect to return.