2013-04-09 20.06.20min

mckenzie mountaineering.... outdoor adventures

The Arran Coastal way is a 65 mile/105km rewarding and sometimes challenging circular long distance trek around the beautiful island of Arran, often described as 'Scotland in miniature' due to the variety and diversity of the island, with plenty of mountainous terrain as well as beautiful coastline, quaint villages and an interesting topography. The route is packed with the opportunity to spot plenty of wildlife both on sea and land. Our guided trip not only takes us along the whole of the Arran Coastal Way, but we occasionally take diversions to visit some interesting points of interest such as waterfalls and standing stones. We we also include an ascent of the majestic mountain of Goatfell, the highest point on the island with an optional wonderful ridge walk from the summit and also an ascent of the lesser known but equally challenging and rewarding Pirnmill hills: Mullach Buidhe of Beinn Bharrain. We spend evenings in lovely villages with local bars and plenty of opportunities for sampling good local food.

Day 1: Arrive in Brodick via ferry from Ardrossen. Brodick to Corrie via Goatfell

The first day begins with a leisurely stroll along Fishermans walk to Cladach where we find the Isle of Arran Brewer,y where we allow you the option of some time to look in the shop and sample a beer. (or buy one for later!). From here we begin our ascent of Goatfell, the highest mountain on the island standing at 874 metres high. As we start are gradual ascent through the forest we are eased in gently through open birch woodlands and then on reaching slightly rougher ground further up we are treated to fabulous views back over Arran, with Holy island being
a prominent point! The path becomes rougher as it ascends to the summit between and over granite boulders but is easy enough to follow. Once reaching the summit, the views are simply stunning over the ridges of the other Arran peaks, and on a clear day Ireland can also be seen! For those wishing to extend the walk there is an option (weather and time permitting) to do part of the ridge which involves some mild scrambling and a reasonable head for heights. Our decent takes us down to the small village of Corrie.

12.5km 6 - 8hours, 853metres ascent, B&B Accommodation in Corrie or Brodick

Day 2: Corrie to Lochranza

We start the day in the wee village of Corrie and walk along the quiet coastal road where there is plenty of wildlife to look out for until we reach the village of Sannox. From here the route is arguably classed as one of the best sections of the Coastal way, starting with a lovely section of coastal foot path leading into a forest track which then continues to a smaller foot path and follows the coast. The path is pretty good but does have some muddy and very rocky sections, however recent improvements to the path have made it much easier but it does still involve some very enjoyable sections of minor boulder scrambling along the coast, with the opportunity of spotting Dolphins and basking sharks. After the boulder section the path is once again improved as we eventually arrive in Lochranza.

Accommodation B&B in Lochranza. 19km, 5.5 - 7 hours, 119 metres of ascent.

Day 3 Lochranza to imachar

Starting with a hilltop route between Lochranza and Catacol this section then encompasses a stretch of walking beside or on the quiet main road. Still with plenty of interest along the way and the route passes through the delightful village of Pirnmill before heading onto the shore for the final few kilometres before reaching Imachar. If the weather is fine we take a detour along the route,up to the beautiful Coire Fhionn Lochan which lies between Catacol and Pirnmill and adds about 5km in total to our days walk, but is well worth the effort!

Accommodation B&B in Lochranza. 14.5km (19.5km including optional diversion). 4.5- 6.5 hours, 172 metres of ascent.

Day 4 Pirnmill hill circuit day

Mullach Buidhe of Beinn Bharrain, a wonderful circular route on this less frequented horseshoe range, taking in the highest point , Mullach Buidhe which stands at 721 metres. This route offers much diversity with some scrambling which can be bypassed if required. First climbing through birch woods passing some waterfalls then continuing through moorland passing another spectacular waterfall before the gradient eases out somewhat. Two ridges then sweep up to Beinn Bharrain. We take the left (easterly ridge) which becomes rockier as the ascent continues towards a rocky tower. The crest of the ridge is narrow with granite boulders, but any scrambling can be avoided to the right with the route rejoined via grassy slopes. Either way, a broad grassy ridge is reached which leads up to the summit. On a clear day the views are outstanding all the way to Kintyre with the paps of Jura often visible beyond and also to the main Arran ranges. After descending to the Beallach the ridge curves round and up to the summit of Beinn Bhreac which is a lovely traverse. The descent passes some attractive small waterfalls before eventually bringing us down to the shoreside road and along to our start point.

Accommodation B&B/Hotel Blackwaterfoot, 14km, 6-7 hours, total 892 metres of ascent.

Day 5 - Imachar to Blackwaterfoot

The first section is along the pleasant coastal roadside and we then take a side trip to the impressive Machrie Moor stone circles. The coastal way then follows an excellent path to the coast and passes the Kings cave (renowned to have been a location where Robert the Bruce had his famous encounter with a spider). There are also several interesting carvings to be seen within the caves. From here the route continues along a coastal footpath around Drumadoon point and into Blackwaterfoot.

Accommodation B&B/Hotel Blackwaterfoot, 16km, 5-6 hours, 163 metres of ascent.

Day 6 - Blackwaterfoot to Lagg

This section follows the coast to 3 caves, the middle one being Preaching Cave (this smoke blackened cave was once used as a church). The route then continues over varied terrain to Sliddery. Wildflowers are often in abundance in late spring through to summer/early autumn. Although sections are on the quiet road, the views are simply stunning! The route then climbs inland and just avoids the only nudist beach on Arran before following the road downhill to the small village of Lagg.

Accommodation B&B or cottages Whiting Bay. 12.5km, 4-5 hours, 206 metres of ascent.

Day 7 Lagg to Whiting Bay

This day offers exceptional coastal walking including exciting scrambling over boulders which should not be underestimated! The path then takes us to the lovely small village of Kildonan where seals and otters are often spotted on the dykes extending out to sea. There are two options from here which both offer interest, either continuing along the coast for those who are happy to do even more boulder scrambling, whilst the alternative is to head inland on forestry tracks to Giants grave and Glenashdale falls before arriving at the lovely coastal village of Whiting Bay.

Accommodation: B&B or Cottages in Whiting Bay or Brodick, 16km, 6-9 hours, 85 metres ascent

Day 8 Whiting Bay to Brodick

This newly rerouted section takes us through Whiting Bay village and round Kingscross point and past a viking grave and iron age hill fort and follows much of the shore with beach walking and newly laid boardwalks in the woods taking in many natural features, and then continues from Lamlash around the coast taking in amazing views of Holy isle and then continuing on a footpath before crossing fields and heading down into Brodick. 19.5km. Accommodation: Brodick B&B or cottages.

For our last evening on the island, Brodick offers a variety of services with great bars offering good food and live folk music.. a fine end to a memorable and challenging week!

Day 9 Ferry from Brodick to Arddrossan with onward train travel to Edinburgh/Glasgow included.