Doing Arran in a day
The Isle of Arran is known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’ owing to its remarkable mix of mountains, rolling hills, charming villages and beautiful coastline. Resident, Claire Richardson, tells us how to ‘do Arran in a day’
“Sorry, a misleading headline. Unless you wear your underwear on the outside of your trousers, a day just isn’t enough time at all.
However, for the purposes of making the headline accurate, let’s assume you’re a super hero. The Isle of Arran (with an area of 167 square miles) is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, the seventh largest Scottish island and the ninth largest island surrounding Great Britain. On Arran you could: golf (seven courses!), hill walk, gorge walk, climb, abseil, paraglide, road bike, mountain bike, quad bike, kayak, sail, powerboat, shoot (guns and bows), fish, pony trek, hawk, wildlife watch (on the land and under the sea) sing, dance, swim and spa before visiting the museum, castles, brewery, distillery, cheese shop, chocolate shop, Balmichael Centre, petting farm and then head off for the neolithic and geological sites – leaving time for an excellent meal and wee refreshment, before settling down to read the local newspaper.
There are many great places to stay on the island including the award winning Auchrannie (home to two distinctive four star hotels and a country club consisting of 23 five star self catering lodges, plus three restaurants and two leisure clubs), cosy b&bs, inviting guest houses [the CD Traveller team can vouch for Fellview, run by the hospitable Eleanor Hamilton) and an array of hotel and camping options.
Let’s face it, there’s not a big market for super heroes and they tend to be a too flashy anyway. The majority of us, with a sense of adventure or curiousity, will still manage to sample one or more of the above activities in a day. You can do this on your own, in a group, or in the company of qualified and experienced professionals who possess a real passion for their activity and the Island.
The train, or your car gets you to Ardrossan harbour on the West of Scotland’s Ayrshire coast. This is where Arran’s main ferry, ‘Caledonian Isles’ sails from several times a da. It’s a 55 minute mini cruise where you can relax and soak up the scenery. You can also sample some of Arran’s produce at the Visit Arran ferry desk next to the purser’s office, plus the nice ferry desk folks can help you get the most from your visit by highlighting the attractions and activities which match your interest, thus avoiding wasting valuable time when you leave the boat in Brodick. Super heroes miss out on all of the above!
We Arranites look forward to seeing super heroes and normal folk alike, on Arran,. We look forward to seeing you because we know that you’ll enjoy our island but mostly because we believe you will discover what we already know: a day on Arran is never enough, but it is a very good start…
NEED TO KNOW
Before arriving on Arran, we would like to ensure that all visitors are aware of the associated risks and feel it is necessary to issue the following:
Arran can be addictive and all visitors should remain vigilant lest they succumb to a serious attack of ‘Arranitis’. Symptoms start with a mild feeling of well-being which can quickly develop into extended periods of euphoria in extreme cases.
There are many well documented cases of people deciding to stay on the island permanently – only two hours after stepping off the boat! This condition has attracted people to Arran for the past 5,000 years so, if you decide to visit us, tread carefully and avoid strong drink for the first 24 hours as this will significantly increases the chances of catching the malady.
So all you have to do is get yourself to Arran and although Super Heroes can arrange their own transport, the rest of us have to travel by air, road, rail and/or boat. Arran is less than two hours from Glasgow airport and First Scotrail have teamed up with Caledonian Macbrayne ferries to offer some really good deals.
Thanks Claire! Find out more about the Isle of Arran at www.visitarran.com . For more on Auchrannie, visit www.auchrannie.co.uk