When I went to Scotland to visit an uncle of mine that moved there from Wisconsin I thought we’d spend most of our time doing the typical tourist stuff through Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Even though we did manage to squeeze that in, his main plans were to take me to the Isle Of Arran for a little getaway from the big cities.
The Isle Of Arran is only a 50 minute ferry ride from Ardrossan on mainland Scotland.
It is the largest island in the Firth Of Clyde, and the 7th largest Scottish island overall.
Isle Of Arran is only about 167 sq. mi.(432 sq. kilometres) and has a population just under 5000 people.
But once you get away from the main villages you feel like there’s less than 500 people there.
Brodick is the main village with the ferry terminal, hotels, and most of the tourist shops and restaurants.
The further you drive from there the better chance you have of finding deer and sheep rather than people.
Isle Of Arran is definitely a nice place to get away from people and just relax, but there’s still quite a few things to see during your stay.
If the Weather Gods of Scotland are kind to you(and they hardly ever are) you can see quite a bit before being pummeled by rain.
Here is a list of places to see in a counter clockwise direction from Brodick:
This castle has been sitting there since the 5th Century and is open to the public in the summertime.
Hours are 11am-4pm.
Prices range differently but can be found Here.
ISLE OF ARRAN BREWERY(Brodick):
This is the local microbrewery that produces 8 different beers throughout Scotland.
I never did the tour but I’ve heard mixed reviews, so if you’re interested in trying some of the ale it’s probably better to just pick it up at a local store since I heard it’s cheaper there anyways.
ISLE OF ARRAN DISTILLERY(Lochranza):
If you’re determined to go on a tour for alcohol and the Brewery doesn’t sound that good for you then your 2nd option is the Whiskey Distillery.
An informative tour with samples before and after.
Scottish Whiskey is a must-have even if you aren’t a big fan of whiskey and this is the place to try it.
The Lochranza Castle is actually just castle ruins of a 13th-century castle.
It’s FREE to roam through(although it’s not large at all).
It’s a great place for some photo opportunities and a good place to see sheep and deer walking around.
As my uncle and I went to park the car a deer was just sitting right where we pulled in.
It didn’t even budge as we inched closer to it.
I probably could have pet it because of how close it allowed me to get; but I preferred not taking a hoof to the face, so I just took a picture and continued on to the castle.
MACHRIE MOOR STONE CIRCLES:
While these are certainly no Stonehenge they’re still cool to check out and get some photos of.
There’s 7 standing stone circles in total and it’s a nice area to have a picnic(if the weather permits it).
Just 10 minutes away from the Stone Circles is the King’s Caves.
This is a really nice walk along the west coast of the island.
From here you can see Kintyre; the peninsula where Sir Paul McCartney has owned a farm since the 60’s.
But it’s the coast and the King’s Caves which are more spectacular.
The caves are said to have been a refuge for Robert The Bruce; the Scottish king during the early 1300’s that led Scotland against England in their fight to regain their place as an independent nation.
The walk from the parking lot is not bad at all.
Depending on how long you stay at the caves it should take you about 2 hours to walk there, see the caves, chill for a bit, and head back.
But once again, if the weather permits, the coast could be a great place to have a picnic.
GLENASHDALE FALLS(Whiting Bay):
While continuing counter clockwise from the King’s Caves for another hour you’ll find parking for trails that lead to Glenashdale Falls.
The walk through the woods is really nice and there’s a few steep areas, but nothing too difficult.
The falls have a built look-out point for selfies and the best view.
The falls are nice, but the walk to them I enjoyed more.
THE HOLY ISLE(Lamlash):
Driving back to Brodick on the A841 you’ll eventually be able to see The Holy Island to your East.
There are boat rides available there but I didn’t have enough time to check that place out.
The island is now owned by a Tibetian Buddism Community and has some good hiking and great nature and animal photography opportunities as there are goats, sheep, and ponies roaming freely all over the island.
If I ever go back to Isle Of Arran I will try to get a boat ride over to The Holy Isle because it certainly sounds very different from most things you’d expect from a Scottish island.
So there you have it, if you’re ever having a long vacation in Scotland and you want to explore something a little different besides the major cities with all their touristy kilt shops you can always take a 50 minute ferry to the Isle Of Arran and be left alone with nature, deer, and sheep. Lots and lots of sheep.
Have you ever explored Isle Of Arran or any other Scottish Islands?
Which are your favorite?
My name is Jeremiah and I'm an Arizona desert rat in search of the next adrenaline pumping adventure.
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