Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays

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Arran Coastal Way


  • Immerse yourself in island life on Arran - 'Scotland in miniature'
  • Spot basking seals and perhaps glimpse a majestic golden eagle
  • Enjoy panoramic views on the high route option from the summit of Goat Fell, Arran's highest mountain
  • Discover the historic cave paintings in King's Cave
  • Stop off at Lochranza Distillery - why not take a tour and have a wee dram?

The Arran Coastal Way encircles one of Scotland’s most famous islands often described as Scotland in miniature. A wonderfully varied walk where you can walk along beautiful beaches,choose to come inland briefly to climb Goat Fell for spectacular views to the mainland, and visit the King's Cave.

A scenic 1 hour ferry crossing from Ardrossan on the mainland brings you to Brodick, the hub of the island, and where you will overnight before beginning the Way. Leave the hustle and bustle of Brodick behind and journey north, perhaps electing to take the high route over Goat Fell (874 m) if the weather is good, pass through the charming village of Sannox, and onto Lochranza where the castle ruins and Arran's only distillery await. The views looking north up Loch Fyne towards the highlands are fantastic.

From Lochranza, the northern tip of the island, the Way curves south hugging the west coast of the island to reach Blackwaterfoot and Lagg - a wonderful stretch of the Way with views across to the lush Kintyre peninsula. The southern tip of Arran is gently rolling and walking close to the shoreline is rewarding, but can be challenging if you choose to take the low route options which cross the tidal boulder fields between Lagg and Whiting Bay. Finally, swing north via Whiting Bay and return to Brodick for your last night. An unforgettable experience on one of Scotland’s best islands.

This is a general stage by stage guide. For all the available day by day itineraries, please see the options on the right.

Stage 1: Brodick to Sannox (low or high route options) - 13-16 km

On the first stage of the Arran Coastal Way there are two options; a low/coastal route and a high route which takes in Goat Fell - the island's highest peak (874 m). The low route option follows the coastal road north out of town, while the inland route heads up the slopes of Goatfell. If you are feeling energetic, we recommend the inland route as the views from the summit of Goatfell are superb in clear weather. Just remember not to underestimate the climb - you are beginning almost from sea level! From the summit it's a gentle descent largely through trees to reach the village of Corrie where the routes rejoin, and you'll follow the quiet coast road for the final few kilometres into Sannox village.

Stage 2: Sannox to Lochranza - 16 km 

This is one of the loveliest sections of the walk, although the final section round the Cock of Arran does involve some scrambling over boulders which can be tricky after a long day. Lochranza is a beautiful sleepy village and you will often see deer coming into the village in the evening.

Stage 3: Lochranza to Machrie - 22 km

Follow a stretch of quiet coastal road for the majority of this section, but don’t worry the roads are very quiet and the scenery is spectacular. Look out for the lighthouse in Pirnmill (closed Mondays) serving great food and coffee. If you are finishing the day in Machrie catch a local bus to Blackwaterfoot.

Stage 4: Machrie to Blackwaterfoot - 9 km

This section of the walk is laden with history spanning a rather long period of time. Firstly you can take a short detour for ~3.5 km from Machrie up to see the standing tones on Machrie Moor, a very worthwhile diversion. When back on the route the next era of history is a little more modern with the spectacular Kings Cave where Robert the Bruce is reported to have stayed on his journey to Ireland. You are then thrown back in time with Triassic dinosaur footprints and 60 million-year-old cliffs before coming to 2000 year old Doon Fort and then walking down into Blackwaterfoot for your night's rest.   

Stage 5: Blackwaterfoot to Lagg - 11 km

Today's walk has some of the most difficult terrain on the whole trip and should be walked with care.  Leaving Lagg with great views over Drumadoon Bay the path becomes slightly more challenging with boulder hopping and some overgrown sections path. Halfway through the day the volcanic plug of Ailsa Craig comes into view and is your companion until you reach the comfort and hospitality of your Lagg accommodation. 

Stage 6: Lagg to Whiting Bay (low or high route options) - 16-20 km 

Again this section of the Arran Coastal Way is rather difficult going, as cross several boulder fields and in the summer months the path can become overgrown. If you wish to avoid another challenging day's walk you can take the slightly longer but easier-going high route option from Kilmory up through forestry paths and down into Whiting Bay. O the high route option you will get views of the Ailsa Craig. Whiting Bay is one of the larger settlements on the island with a good choice of pubs and restaurants for dinner.

Stage 7: Whiting Bay to Brodick (low or high route options) - 18-20 km 

There are many highlights on this last section of the walk. Firstly upon departing from Whiting Bay you can take a short detour to climb up and see the Giant's Graves, neolithic graves that pre-date the Egyptian Pyramids. Along this side trip you can rest for a while and view the glorious Glenashdale Falls. After this diversion, if you have chosen the low route return to the coast and hug the shoreline all the way into Brodick. Alternatively if you wish to avoid most of the boulder-hopping by the coast continue on the high ground through forest to reach Lamlash from where you'll join the low route into Brodick along the shore to finish the Way in Brodick.


We take great pride in carefully selecting the accommodations we use on the Arran Coastal Way to ensure you enjoy every minute of your stay. We work with B&B's, Guest Houses, country hotels and charming inns which are normally of 3 or 4 star standard with en-suite bathrooms. All accommodations offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season.  Below you will find a list of the accommodation we regularly use which will give you a good idea of the standard of accommodation we use. 

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is available to solo walkers, although a single supplement is payable.

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party and a single supplement is payable.


A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Most accommodations offer a continental and full cooked breakfast breakfast, which should keep you going for hours.

Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or in nearby pubs and restaurants.

Additional Nights

Many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk and these can be added at the time of booking for a supplement.




Belvedere House - Brodick

Belvedere House - Brodick

Enjoying a picture postcard view across Brodick Bay towards Goat Fell, the tallest mountain on the Isle of Arran. Accommodation is comfortable, yet informal.







Kincardine Lodge - Lochranza

Kincardine Lodge - Lochranza

Kincardine Lodge, built in 1908 by a sea captain, still retains many of its original features with two stunning fireplaces of the “Arts and Crafts” era and today has been transformed into a lovely guesthouse.







Lochranza Hotel- Lochranza

The Lochranza Hotel stands amidst this timeless village and has a spectacular panoramic view across the bay One of Arran's original hotels; The Hotel is tastefully decorated throughout.







Blackwaterfoot Lodge - Blackwaterfoot

Blackwaterfoot Lodge - Blackwaterfoot

The hotel is named after the village in which it is located, no more than 50 yards from the picturesque Blackwaterfoot harbour and a five minute stroll from the long and wide sandy beach bordering the unique 12 hole links of Shiskine golf course







The Greannan - Blackwaterfoot

The Greannan - Blackwaterfoot

The Greannan is situated in an elevated position with panoramic views over the village of Blackwaterfoot and the Shiskine Valley







Lagg Hotel - Lagg

Lagg Hotel - Lagg

Lagg Hotel has thirteen bedrooms, including two single and two family rooms, two dining rooms, a residents lounge, sun lounge and lounge bar. Log fires blaze throughout the public areas with the homely smell of burning logs to welcome guests in.







Invermay - Whiting Bay

Invermay - Whiting Bay

A stunning Art Deco shorefront guest house overlooking beautiful sandy beaches situated in the heart of Whiting Bay, Invermay offers extremely comfortable accommodation and wholesome breakfasts together with breathtaking views of Holy Isle and the Ayrshire coast.







Isle of Arran Brewery Guesthouse - Whiting Bay

Isle of Arran Brewery Guesthouse - Whiting Bay

The newly refurbished guesthouse sits in the heart of Whiting Bay and offers great comfort and service along with a plethora of the delightful ales brewed by them. Red Squirrel ale comes highly recommended by Macs Adventure.





This trip is available from April to October, to start on any day of the week.

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is available to solo walkers, although a single supplement is payable. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party and a single supplement is payable. 

Grade and Terrain

This walk is graded moderate, you will be following the coast along forest footpaths, hillside tracks, tarmac roads with grass verges, and beaches with boulders, sand and shingle. Some of the ascents and descents are steep and can be exposed so require a good head for heights and sure-footedness in places. Depending on how long you choose to spend walking the Arran Coastal Way, daily walks can be up to 31 km / 19 miles. Due to the difficult terrain (mountains and high ground descending to a rocky shoreline and the sea) it is necessary for some of the route to follow roads, particularly on the west coast from Lochranza down to Tormore. However, these roads are usually quiet and the views out over the coastline are spectacular. The stretch of road between Brodick and Lochranza is slightly busier with tourist traffic so please observe the instructions in your route notes. We also advise that you should have a good level of fitness to get the most from this wonderful trip. 


The Arran Coastal Way is well way-marked and easy to follow with the help of the supplied route notes and GPX tracks on the Macs Adventure smartphone app.  

Baggage Transfer

Daily door to door baggage transfer of one 15 kg bag per person is included in the price of your trip.  

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care. 

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots/shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer and a day pack.  

Getting to/from Brodick on the Isle of Arran

Arran is easily accessible from Glasgow, which is one of the reasons it is so popular. From Glasgow catch the train and then ferry to reach Arran within a few hours.  

By Air:

Glasgow is served by two international airports. Prestwick airport is the most convenient for Arran and is only a 30 minute taxi journey to the ferry terminal at Ardrossan (or you can take a train, changing at Kilwinning; total journey approx. 45 mins). Glasgow airport is 8 miles west of the city centre and train timetables are designed to connect to the ferry which departs from Adrossan to Broderick (train is 45 mins, ferry approx. 55 mins) or you can take a taxi which is approximately one hour from Glasgow to Ardrossan.

By Road:

Ardrossan is one hour south east of Glasgow and there is a large secure car park at the harbour, where you can leave your car during your time on Arran (fee payable).

By Rail:

There are regular services from Glasgow Central Station to Ardrossan which connect with the ferry to Arran.

Should you be arriving into Prestwick airport you can take the train from the airport and change at Kilwinning to get to Ardrossan. 

Further information will be detailed in your information pack, or you can visit for journey planning. 


The Ferry which runs between Ardrossan and Brodick is operated by Caledonian MacBrayne and you will find a ferry timetable on the Calmac website.


  • Accommodation in hand-picked B&B's, guest houses and country inns
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Door to door baggage transfer
  • A detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Access to mapping and GPS tracks on our Macs Adventure smartphone app
  • Emergency 24/7 telephone support from our office in the event of a problem


  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Equipment


  • Single room supplement(s)
  • Additional night(s)

Planning a long distance walking trip can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.

How fit do I need to be?

We offer a number of different itineraries so you can choose your preferred daily distance and hopefully you will find an itinerary that suits your level of fitness. If you currently don't enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to their walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.  

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as you know your plans The Isle of Arran is extremely popular especially over bank holidays and from May - August. 

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. 

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

Local buses run round the island regularly and you can use these to skip a stage if you wish.

Recommend walking the Coastal Way


This was our sixth walk in Scotland with Macs Adventure. Arran is a beautiful island populated by warm, welcoming people, talented chefs and attentive restaurants owners. However, the support for the trip was different in some respects from what we have come to expect from Macs. The first difference was the guidebook. On previous walks with Macs we were provided a flip book including detailed path directions and information about the area such as landmarks, wildlife and vegetation. Instead, this time we received a printout with very minimalist directions and full of typos and misspellings. Fortunately our previous experiences let us know that excellent flip books were available and our first night's innkeeper lent us one before we set out on the path. Our reservation was for accommodations with en suite bathrooms. In one inn where we stayed two nights this was not the case, though other rooms had their own bathrooms. On our departure day the innkeeper left the property before our bags were picked up and remaining guests locked the front door, making it impossible for the bag transfer company to find them. Many phone calls were required in order to retrieve our bags – which came quite late after dinner. That said, the luggage transfer company is to be commended for persevering into the evening until they could deliver. Arran's Coastal Way is relatively easy for walkers to navigate – just keep the ocean on your right. However, the trail itself is not well-marked. It was also somewhat more difficult than indicated in the Macs directions. Local weather conditions greatly impact the level of difficulty. We found that the island provides excellent bus service. When we asked one driver whether it was possible to hail the bus when not at a designated stop he told us it was. This is information that would be very helpful to provide in advance.




Arran island


The Arran island coastal walk is wonderful, with some caveats that are fine when defining your goals. On the strong side, we hiked in May - and throughout the hike we were mostly alone on the trail, except when the trail meets some shorter walks near a village. It is a brilliant experience to walk along miles of seashore with not soul around (except for the occasional seal and the many sheep). The hike for the most part is not demanding and allows to enjoy nature at its best. ,B&B along the way were wonderful, good meals (vegetarians here - and enjoyed good meals) and very friendly people. For those who are used to popular trails with dozens (or hundreds) of hikers, this is a very different experience. Mac's planning was perfect, and especially the useful app that makes navigating easy (trail not always clearly marked). The trail does overlap in some significant parts with a road. Still the views are great and the road is one lane, but it takes away the feeling of being nested in nature. Another caveat is that some days are long (first day 32k, including climbing and skipping between boulders; not easy, particularly for a first day). Another day very short (11k, luck for us it was a rainy day that ended in noontime near the fireplace in a wonderful Lagg Inn). Sticking to the trail can therefore have highs and lows. We improvised, used a bus to skip some road parts and added side trails to compensate (highly recommended - to climb the hill on Holy Island). Given the structure of the trail and the public transport, it is easy to be creative about tailoring the trail to one's needs, expectations and weather. This is not a trail for those who seek the most challenging, or the highest mountain, or thrills. It is a perfect option for an exceptionally quiet and serene walk, with parts that are demanding (mostly due to length), that make it into a perfect get-away.




This is an amazing trip


The app is fantastic, you basically couldn't get lost! March is a bit early for this walk, lots of shops closed, very muddy, wait till April and you will never want to come home. Fantastic bus service incase you need a break from walking. Almost everyone on the island was kind and helpful!

Middle age mom with young adult daughter

upstate New York


Fabulours trip on Arran Island


I want to go back and do more both on Arran Island and the West Highland Way. I would definitely look to MacsAdventures to help plan those trips. Independent hiking and incredible accommodations, perfectly what I wanted.


Ithaca, NY


Highlight of our UK trip


Extremely well organized. Wouldn't hesitate to use Macs again. Ran into Rob (great guy) who was walking along the trail for you. Nice to know you're keeping up with trail conditions, etc.




Definitely Recommend This Walk


We really enjoy the Mac's tours as they allow us to walk without being encumbered by a heavy pack, and to walk from one accommodation to the next on a continuous route. The materials provided in advance were a good guide and the path was not hard to find / follow. Some parts of the coastal path were quite challenging (and some of us not very fit!), particularly with the rainy weather that we had (e.g. scrambling over boulders). We cheated here and there by taking the bus or the alternate route. The stretch from Lochranza to Blackwaterfoot is quite a long walk for one rainy day and our host recommended taking the bus to Dougarie and starting there for the best part of the walk. The B&Bs were well chosen with friendly, helpful hosts, and generally our dining experiences on Arran were great.

Jane the Flatlander



I would recomend this trip


Nice adventure. Well oranised trip, bauutiful nature.




Worthwhile and challenging


Perfect if you want something to be well organised for you taking the stress out of planning and saving you time.




Well organized and easy for us!


Kayleigh organized this trip for us a short time before we arrived in Scotland . She did a Great Job! The accommodations were lovely and the breakfasts tasty and filling. The owner of the Lochranza b and b was most helpful and pleasant. The Lagg hotel was enchanting. The maps and bus schedules were very helpful . The luggage transfers went without a hitch.

Friday Girl

Northern B.C., Canada


Excellent week - well organised


Hotel bookings with sea views were excellent. Hospitality at all hotels and B&Bs was also excellent. Food good and packed lunches fine. The walk itself was varied from climbing Goatfell, clambering over boulder fields to beach walking and some road walking.




Arran Coastal Way

4.5 27


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