Hidden history to explore

Arran has a great history of smuggling in days gone by, and of course that wouldn’t happen without lots of caves in which to store the much south after ‘Arran water’ – as our illicit whisky was called. However, our caves were used for many years before this – as homes, as religious meetings places and even as schools!

The Corrie shore has lots of little caves dotted around the cliffs. Many are overgrown now, but would have provided shelter for those in need once upon a time.

The most famous caves on Arran are on the West coast, and known as Kings Cave – there are several caves here and the main cave is where Robert the Bruce was inspired by the spider he saw try and retry to spin its web. This was the deciding factor in him trying once again to pick himself up and fight for the Scottish throne, which he successfully did in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn! The Caves can be accessed either from Blackwaterfoot, or via the forestry car park near Machrie, which is a circuitous route.

The Preaching Cave lies to the south of Blackwaterfoot and is accessed via the Arran Coastal way footpath. This little cave was once used as a school, and also as a meeting and preaching house for some of the congregation who broke away from the Laird’s choice of church minister.

Also on the Arran Coastal way, the Black Cave south of Bennanhead is accessible only at low tide, indeed it is impassable at high tide. It is also surrounded by boulder fields, so not for anyone faint hearted at the thought of a challenge! Check out the Arran Coastal Way website for more details.