Arran

TOP 50   SCOTLAND   WALES   ENGLAND

 View from Goat Fell summit, Arran  (Shutterstock)

View from Goat Fell summit, Arran (Shutterstock)

Looking for some Great British adventure inspiration? You're in the right place. Here you'll get an independent, ad-free lowdown on Britain's top 50 adventure locations - the online yin to the paper yang of our Joyously Busy Great British Adventure Map.

Why Go To Arran?

Don't confuse Arran (an island off the west coast of Scotland) with Aran (an island off the west coast of Ireland) - only one of them is famous for its knitwear. Just some of many things you can do on Arran that you can't do anywhere else...

  • Explore "Scotland in miniature", with its own highland and lowland areas divided by the Highland Boundary Fault
  • Get up some serious mountains such as Goat Fell, hike around glorious valleys like Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox, and marvel at big waterfalls
  • Cycle or drive around the entire island, roughly a 60-mile circuit and gawp at the bewitching Ailsa Crag at the southern tip  

Want to find out more? Read on for great photos, articles, videos, top tips and other content to fire up your adventure appetite. Got a question? Ask away.


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Mountainous Arran is Scotland in miniature, with its own highland and lowland areas (divided by the highland boundary fault, no less). So, great for adventures and also geology, if that's what gets your volcano smouldering. Highest point: Goat Fell (874m). Other highlights: the waterfalls of Eas Mor and Glenashdale Falls, the Machrie Moor standing stones, and hilly walks taking in Glen Rosa and - below - Glen Sannox. 

 
 
 Cir Mhor and the Saddle, Arran  (Shutterstock)

Cir Mhor and the Saddle, Arran (Shutterstock)

The essential journey on Arran is the 56-mile circular coastal road for a cycle or drive round the entire island, or - in a similar vein -the Arran Coastal Way walk, one of Scotland's 'Great Trails'.

A short vid mostly of drone footage of Arran in the autumn and with not much sunshine - still looks great though!

Getting To Arran, Maps & Guides

Getting there: Take a CalMac ferry from Ardrossan Harbour (1 hr from Glasgow) to Brodick (1 hr crossing).

Travel times from where you are: See Arran on Google Maps.

Maps: Find the right Ordnance Survey maps and / or get a month's free subscription to their excellent OS Maps app.

Guidebooks: Arran is covered in both Lonely Planet's and Rough Guide's Highlands and Islands guidebooks. 

Walking route guidance: WalkingHighlands or Arran Coastal Way.

Tourist board: Visit Scotland or Visit Arran websites.


Even More Arran Adventure Inspiration

 Goat Fell, Arran  (Shutterstock)

Goat Fell, Arran (Shutterstock)

Arran has an awful lot packed into a small area, the perfect example of the adventure potential that Britain's islands possess. Get into the mood with this podcast from Mountain "Arran: The hills I call home". The photographs of Kirstie Smith, who features in the podcast, can be seen here

There's some great cycling on Arran, both road and mountain biking. A good resource for routes is the Arran Bike Club

The official caption to this video says: “J-Flan took the new CamelBak Kudu on a wild weekend to the Isle of Arran!” We say: “Whooppee-****ing-do!”

Changing the vibe a little now, below is some oddly mesmerising still aerial footage of Arran from the north, with clear delineation between the highland and lowland areas... 

 

A post shared by Raphaël Arnould (@irworld_) on

 

Visible from the southern end of Arran is Ailsa Crag, an island with some wow factor, rising 338m out of the sea in spectacular fashion. It has a ruined 16th century castle, was once a prison and supplies the granite used in curling stones. 

 
 
 Look, it's simple. Arran off the west coast of Scotland, is not where the famous knitwear comes from. That would be Aran, with one 'r', off the west coast of Ireland. Some Arran shops, however, seem very happy to add to the confusion.  (Humphrey Butler/Marvellous Maps)   

Look, it's simple. Arran off the west coast of Scotland, is not where the famous knitwear comes from. That would be Aran, with one 'r', off the west coast of Ireland. Some Arran shops, however, seem very happy to add to the confusion. (Humphrey Butler/Marvellous Maps)
 


What Next?

Click here to see 49 other Great British adventure locations and tell us about your adventures, plans and suggestions for these pages.


Britain's Best Outdoorsy Bits... Mapped!

Liking what you see, but fancy keeping it old school with an actual paper map? Our Joyously Busy Great British Adventure Map features all of Britain's best outdoorsy bits (including the Top 50), plus some enjoyably random and vaguely useful stuff too. Available either as a 2-sided fold-out map or a framed wall map (office furniture and fake plants not included).