Arran’s roots go back 540million years to the Cambrian period, when the island was actually part of the ocean bed in the southern hemisphere! Arran Geopark is working towards becoming a UNESCO Global Geopark, and they have three hubs with interactive displays to whet your thirst for geological knowledge, explaining the creation of the stunning landscapes we see now.
There are many standing stones around Arran (one is at the side of the road opposite Brodick School). The main pre-history site though is Machrie Moor which has seven stone circles to explore, including the iconic 5m high sandstone pillars. It’s a very special place, with great views to the Arran hills and down Shiskine Valley. It will take approx. 30 minutes to reach by track from the main road. Other pre-history sites include chambered cairns, and hut circles – all dotted about the island.
Lochranza Castle is a hallhouse-type ruin which you can wander about, whilst Brodick Castle is a perfect example of a Victorian Hunting Lodge, though parts of the actual building date back hundreds of years. Once belonging to the Dukes of Hamilton, the current interactive display covers more recent history of the 10th, 11th and 12th Dukes. Whilst Brodick Castle tells the story of one family – Arran Heritage Museum tells the social history of the whole island. This fabulous museum is packed with interesting artefacts, from schoolroom to cottage to farm implements, and covers the Clarances, and Arran’s part on the World Wars of the 20C.