Standing at 2,866 feet, Goat Fell is the highest mountain on Arran. On our first visit to the island, we decided against trying to reach the summit. It would have been by far the furthest and highest Rowan had walked, so we didn’t want to over-do it and potentially put him off days out in the mountains. But for our latest visit, and with Birkhouse Moor under his belt, we decided he would probably be ok. We just needed a decent mountain forecast during the week – and we were in luck.
Long summer days mean it’s possible to really make the most of where you are visiting on holiday. After chilling on the beach by the Preaching Cave in Kilpatrick, we drove round the southern edge of the island to Sandbraes, just past Whiting Bay. Parking alongside some playing fields in front of the Whiting Bay and Kildonan Church (postcode KA27 8RE) just off the A841, we bundled out of the car for our second stroll of the day, this time, to Kingscross Point.
In 2018, our honeymoon took us to the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. We fell in love with the place. So much so, we were back again the following year, this time bringing along my Mum, Dad and sister, Karen. Whilst driving around during our prior visit, I kept noticing a path running alongside a river in the mountainous north of the island. It was so inviting, and it was now time to see where it led.
With its dramatic mountain scenery to the north, and rolling green fields in the south, Arran is said to be Scotland in miniature. The A841 circumnavigates the island in 55 miles and there is lots to look out for along the way, whether you have ten minutes or a couple of hours. Below are some of the many other things we enjoyed whilst out and about on our honeymoon.
Amongst the books we found in our hire cottage on Arran, was one called “Arran for Families”. It was a brilliant little book – fully illustrated with easy to read information about places to visit on the island. On a showery day, we decided to visit two of the destinations we found within its pages – the Giant’s Graves and Glenashdale Falls.
Most of my previous walking has been done in the Lake District. When I open the OS map to plan a walk, it is criss-crossed with green and black dashed lines indicating footpaths and right of ways. This was not the case when I opened a map of Arran. Contours and streams were there, and lots of other symbols, lines and colours that make maps so brilliant to look at – but not too many footpaths. I guess the Scottish Outdoor Access Code means that much of the landscape is one big right of way (within reason). But it came as a bit of a shock when I was trying to plan a day in the hills for us. After consulting my guide book, I decided that Coire Fhionn Lochan would be the walk for us.
One of the great things about Arran is just going for a drive and pulling in to different places to see what is there. I suppose that can be the same anywhere really. After a morning spent at Kildonnan looking for seals, we decided to drive round the island, pulling in wherever we fancied. It was getting late when we drove into a picnic area at North Sannox. It was a gorgeous spot. After messing around for a while at the spot where North Sannox Burn enters the sea, we decided we head back to the cottage for some tea. Before we left, I checked the information board and noticed that we could start a walk to Fallen Rocks from here.
After we’d visited Machrie Moor Stone Circle, there was still plenty of time left for more adventure, so we drove the short distance down the road to Torr Righ Beag, a coniferous forest by the sea. From here, we could walk down to the beach to explore the King’s Cave, but not before the customary check of the information board. Here, we found a circular walk which, for no particular reason, we chose to do clockwise. We made our way to a forest track on the left hand side of the car park.
Last year, Rick and I got married. It was a lovely weekend in the Lake District not dampened in the slightest by the inevitable (for the Lakes) rain. With Rowan now at school, we had to wait for the summer holidays for our honeymoon, but the end of August saw us heading north to visit Scotland in Miniature – the beautiful Isle of Arran.