By Paul Bryers, 2014
Situated about 1 hours drive from Central Glasgow followed by 1 hours sail from Ardrossan, the Isle of Arran offers great opportunities for scenic drives, cycling, walking, hiking and generally lazing around – depending on your needs and disposition.
We went there for 5 days in August and had a great time. There is a wide choice of accommodations and eateries – the former go from very basic to lavish, while the latter go from Do Not Eat There to excellent.
The Cal-Mac Car Ferry trip from Ardrossan on the Mainland to Brodick on Arran is only about 50 minutes, but it can be quite rough and breezy, so make sure you have your mac with you. Some people like to stand on deck and get blown around…
We opted not to stay in Brodick itself, which is the main town, but rather stay in Lamlash Bay, which is just a few miles round the headland. Our accommodations were in the Lamlash Bay Hotel, which were adequate. The beauty of Lamlash Bay is the view of the Holy Isle, which rests just off shore. It’s also a good place to view rainbows. In addition, you can take an hour long Zodiac ride around the Isle to see sea birds, dolphins and seals, as well as have sightings of rare animals on the Holy Isle, such as Wild Eriskay ponies, Soay sheep and Saanen goats.
Visit Brodick Tourist Office, beside the Cal-Mac Car Ferry Terminal, to get a full description of Island activities. There are some great walks/hikes, including a guided walk up Goat Fell, which is the highest point on the Island (873.5 meters; 2,866 feet). A visit to Brodick Castle, for a briefing on Island history, and Arran Aromatics, to stock up on smellies like soap, body wash, creams, etc., are a must.
There are plenty of places to do lunch and dinner on the Island, but we prefer to make our own lunch on the beach or in nearby field filled with smelly sheep, and then splurge at night time. I was the lunchtime chef, making good use of a small stove, bread rolls and tins of baked beans or ravioli, with a little help from my mother. Families are also good for giving directions.
We had dinner in number of good places, but our favorites were GlenIsle Restaurant in Lamlash Bay, and the Brambles Grill and Douglas Hotel Bistro, both in Brodick. Check out my reviews of eateries on TripAdvisor – http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/542PaulB