ISLE OF ARRAN
You can’t miss Goat Fell as you approach on the ferry – it’s the island’s biggest mountain, and one of the most popular walks, with spectacular views from the top. It’s a bit cliched to suggest it, but Arran is a bit of a mini Scotland: mountains, forests, beaches, and glens all adorn this most popular of Islands.
The Isle of Arran skyline from the Firth of Clyde
Arran dates back as far as the Stone Age, perhaps as far as 7000BC. Evidence of this can still be seen around the island. Machrie Moor has six stone circles and some of the stones are over 5 meters high!
The stone circle on Machrie Moor
As part of the kingdom of Dalriada, through the Bronze and Iron Ages, Arran had Gaelic speaking inhabitants and was ruled by Ireland. In the 6th century, Christianity arrived with the founding of a monastery by St Brendan at Kilpatrick.
As the years passed, Arran fell into the hands of Viking invaders, the Celts, the English, and the Stewart and MacDonald Clans. Like so much of Scotland, there is a rich heritage of feuds, battles and complex politics to be found on Arran. Arran was also the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, most of whom used Brodick Castle for sporting and hunting purposes until the National Trust for Scotland acquired it in 1958.
Brodick Castle, home of the Hamilton’s
The wildlife on the isle is abundant. Seal colonies, otters, eagles, basking sharks, porpoises, and over 100 species of birds. You can cycle round the island in a day, but sadly we won’t have to time to complete this unless you’re a particularly prolific athlete in this field. We will have time to achieve the same circumnavigation through the slightly less impressive endeavour of a car however!.
In truth time is not really our friend so much of the outdoor activity will be denied to us, but we should be able to secure you a flavour. If food and drink is your thing though, then it’s worth trying to seek out the local cheese, and beer. Arran does of course have a world renowned whisky heritage too, but there’s no shortage of other places on this trip equally swimming in it.