- Stunning West of Scotland coastal scenery.
- Over 250 species of bird, including the majestic Golden Eagle.
- Climbing Goat Fell and the fantastic view from the summit cairn.
- Taking the ferry across the Firth of Clyde from Ardrossan to Brodick.
- The standing stones at Machrie.
- Lochranza Distillery with its whisky tour and afterwards a wee dram
The Arran Coastal Way is a fascinating coastal walking holiday around one of Scotland’s most famous islands and is often described as Scotland in miniature. It is a wonderful relaxed walk where you walk along beautiful coastal stretches, have the option to climb Goat Fell for a spectacular view or visit the Kings Cave.
After enjoying the one hour ferry journey to the Island you will book into your selected accommodation in Brodick. Then you will travel north - with an option to go over Goat Fell if the weather is good - and then onto Lochranza via Sannox. The views looking north up Loch Fyne towards the highlands are fantastic.
Next you walk south down the west side of the island to Kilmory via Blackwaterfoot, a wonderful stretch opposite the Mull of Kintyre. The southern end of Arran is less mountainous and the walking close to the shoreline is very rewarding. Finally you head north again via Whiting Bay and back 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.
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
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, 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
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 is situated in an elevated position with panoramic views over the village of Blackwaterfoot and the Shiskine Valley
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
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
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.
Daily door to door baggage transfer of one 15 kg bag per person is included in the price of your trip.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 www.travelinescotland.com 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 carefully selected B&B's, Guest Houses and Country Inn's.
- Breakfast each morning.
- Door to door baggage transfer.
- A detailed pre-departure information pack, guide book and map per party.
- Emergency 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.