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.
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.
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.
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.