As a keen cyclist, I was very excited to do the Scottish Island Hopscotch Trip! Arran, Islay and Jura all offer a unique cycling experience with scenic routes, quiet roads, beautiful beaches and history to explore… not to mention, an abundance of Whisky Distilleries!
We started our trip by getting the ferry from Ardrossan across to the Isle of Arran. Once we had arrived and dropped our bags off, we explored Brodick and the surrounding area. We visited Brodick Castle, The Arran Cheese shop, Arran Aromatics and found a sunny spot for lunch. The following day we set off to Lochranza. We took the long route south (42 miles) around the coast, stopping in at the Lagg Distillery, Machrie Moor Standing Stones and Lochranza Castle.
After a lovely stay in Lochranza, we set off on our island hopscotch over to Islay. After a short ferry over to Claonaig, we got to stretch our legs with a cycle across the Mull of Kintyre to meet our second ferry. This took us to Port Askaig for our overnight. In the morning we got a short ferry over to Jura. Unfortunately, I got a puncture just as we got off the ferry so we missed our tour of the Jura Distillery. Instead, we had a look around when we eventually got there. Jura offers an extremely remote cycling experience, there is only one main road which was really peaceful and we saw next to no cars. We had planned to do the 47-mile cycle up to Lussagiven but due to bad weather conditions, we turned back just after Lagg, and headed back to the Jura Hotel to dry off and get some well-deserved lunch! At the end of our cycle, we hopped back on to the ferry over to Port Askaig. Typically, the sun came out just as we got on and we were able to see the magnificent view of Jura as we sailed away.
The rest of our trip was spent exploring the beautiful island of Islay. Cycling around Islay was the perfect way to see the island at our own pace. We visited Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve, Bruichladdich Distillery and cycled down to the scenic seaside town of Portnahaven. Islay is home to a number of world-famous whisky distilleries, three of which are located along a 4-mile stretch of beautiful coastline. This can be walked or cycled along, depending on how many whiskies you plan on tasting!
After exploring Islay it was time to hop on the ferries back to Arran. On the journey back we cycled around the northern part of the island, completing the full loop of Arran. Cycling was a brilliant way to explore these unique islands and take them in at our own pace. The ferries were easy to use with little queuing and stunning views as we sailed around. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and can’t wait to explore more of Scotland’s beautiful islands!