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Arran - some questions

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  1. ARobComp
    Member

    Hi guys,

    Heading to Arran with the SO this week and planning some cycling and walking and wild camping. Anyone any good experience of good places to wild camp (anything with a x on a map would be helpful!)

    ALso What are the loops like thinking of doing top half day 1 bottom half day 2 and all the way around day 3. Also want to do Goat fell and maybe do some other hiking around a bit.

    Any restaurant recommendations and anyone know whether there is a good place to get a shower at some point while we're there? We were thinking that there might be some sort of youth hostel we could pop into?

    Finally I was wondering about ferries. If we book specific ones do we have to take that one? It isn't that clear on the calmac website.

    Cheers guys!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. wee folding bike
    Member

    I've never bothered booking a ferry.

    Roughish camping in Glen Rosa, I think it used to be free but it's not now.

    http://www.arrancamping.co.uk/

    There was a hostel in Lochranza. I've never stayed in it.

    The west side is a bit sparse for places to eat. I don't remember anything between the Catacol and Machrie and even then Machrie is just a wee shop at the golf course.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. DaveC
    Member

    I've camped twice on Arran, once at the Lochranza campsite, which is good, and once at the Lamlash bay campsite. Both are ok for Scottish campsites. Not camped wild I'm afraid, but having cycled the island I can say its pretty much farm land in the south, and wild ish in the north. You will find wild camping, you are quite a way away from any civilasation, which has useful stuff like shops and showers. Lochranza has a Youth hostel, but few shops.

    As for ferries we just turn up and buy a ticket, I'm not sure if there are any deals for advance booking.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. Pocopiglet
    Member

    Wild camping; there are usually people with tents at various points on the west coast of the island (any flat spot between Machrie and Lochranza seems fair game). People seem to set up camp at North Sannox picnic area (there are toilets there and it's a flat amble /or mountain bike ride from there to Fallen Rocks or Laggan Cottage....not very bike friendly thereafter) and there are sometimes folk in the sort of layby just along from the bus stop at Sannox (heading towards Brodick)
    On the road to Brodick from Sannox there are frequently wee sort of layby places or pull ins (few metres off the road) which are often seen to contain camper vans or tents.

    Lovely walk is from Thundergay (between Pirnmill and Catacol) up the hill to Coire Fhionn Lochan. As you get higher you can see over Kintyre to Jura and beyond ....weather permitting. It's not a long walk but steep, and if you leave at about 0930 you seem to get up there and have the place to yourselves as the masses don't seem to set off until lunchtime.

    Walk from Lochranza over the hill to Laggan cottage also provides magnificent views if the weather is right.

    Youth Hostel in Lochranza has just been done up. Stags Pavilion at the campsite in Lochranza also has good reputation.

    Pirnmill has the Lighthouse Restaurant 10-4 then 5-9 every day BUT Monday.

    Catacol Bay Hotel also does food.

    Café Thyme at The Old Byre Showroom just south of Dougarie but before Machrie, is good but a bit off the road and accessed by single track with passing places. It's open 7 days 10-5 (Sun-Thutr) and 10-10 Fri + Sat)

    Machrie Bay tearoom at the Machrie Golf club does sit in or take away (open 7 days early to late)

    Sannox Bay hotel does great food (closed Mondays) and serves the largest fish and chips I've seen on the island.

    Bilslands in Brodick has a café and serves reasonably priced meals (9-5, I think)

    The Drift Inn in Lamlash used to be good ( haven't been recently) and is open 12-9 for pub food.

    The Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot does great meals and gives 20% discount on bar meals ordered between 5 and 6. Portions are generous and I've yet to witness anyone being able to finish the regular sized lasagne!

    The Kinloch also has a swimming pool (the changing rooms are a bit dated but the pool is nice and you could use the facilities to shower after?).

    Ferries are regular up until 28th Sept when revert to old timetable. One leaves Ardrossan as its counterpart leaves Brodick. If you go on the Caledonian Isles on a Saturday ( and maybe other times too) there is someone on the upper deck telling you about birds and whales and basking sharks etc to be seen. We have often been booked on one ferry but decided to go on an earlier one (usually because of rain!) and if you go along they'll usually manage to accommodate you. Should only be difficult on peak days (Sat and Sunday)

    If you PM me your address I can send you this weeks Arran Banner which has details of restaurants etc all over the island.

    If I can be of any help re walks or places then PM me. We have been going to Arran for many many years and our kids are the 4th generation of the family to holiday there.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. PS
    Member

    The cycling loops are good. We did the whole island loop a few years ago, starting at Brodick and heading north. Nice long climb and descent to Lochranza; a lovely coastal road down to the Machrie standing stones (a wee bit of a walk from the road, but a must-see) on the west side of the island; then the road round the south/east side is much more sharp climbs and descents with good views towards Aisla Craig before the towns/villages start to feel more like Glasgow-on-Sea (loads of holiday homes, I guess).

    Didn't do The String, but it looked like an interesting road.

    Foodwise, we ate lunch at the Kinloch Hotel at Blackwaterfoot. Don't remember it being either good or bad, but we probably just had sandwiches and chips. Wasn't blown away by any other meals in Brodick, but think Creelers was okay.

    We went in September, stayed at a standard-issue, Scottish-big-house-turned-into-a-hotel(-or-is-it-a-B&B?) place near Brodick, and the midges were out in force in the evenings.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    The walk up the glen from Catacol Bay to the Sleeping Warrior and down to Lochranza is good. I remember wondering where the Sleeping Warrior was (expecting a standing stone). When the penny dropped it was quite a shock.

    The cycling is excellent with some very steep climbs.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. cb
    Member

    Goatfell by the tourist route (i.e. from Brodick to the south) is pretty straight-forward but misses out on the best that Arran has to offer.

    GF from Corrie to the east is supposed to be more interesting, alhtough I haven't been that way.

    A round of Glen Sannox is recommended. It's a reasonably scrambly route, don't reckon on doing much more than about 1mph along the ridges.

    Hills on the west side of Glen Rosa are also good. Some serious scrambling on A' Chir, but it can be bypassed to the west.

    Mullach Mor on Holy Island is a nice wee hill - catch the ferry from Lamlash.

    The minor road bisecting the south end of the island is called "The Ross". I cycled it a few years back east to west. Steep ascent, it goes higher than The String. The descent was wonderful of course.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. ARobComp
    Member

    Cheers for all the advice guys!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. Colin
    Member

    Also, huge range of bird life and lots for anyone with a passing interest in geology. The hostel at Lochranza is excellent as was the view out the window into a heron's nest with young being fed. There is a SYHA affiliated hostel in Brodick which we found out about after we'd stayed at the worst bunkhouse in the world in Lamlash. The String road is worth the effort - even with a laden tandem! Fine and reasonably priced food at Felicity's Cafe in Shishkine Golf Club at Blackwaterfoot.

    Also worth considering is visiting Campbelltown - we took in Islay and Gigha on the way there and the new ferry service takes you back to Ardrossan. Great new bunkhouse in Campbelltown too - recommended highly.

    Enjoy your trip.
    Cheers
    Colin

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. Bhachgen
    Member

    Haven't cycled on Arran at all I'm afraid, but I can confirm cb's suggestion that Goat Fell from Corrie is spectacular. You can get a bus from the ferry terminal in Brodick and jump off in Corrie. Then it's just up, up, up and up some more. After that you hit the ridge, turn left and keep on going up. Tough, tough climb, but well worth it. Then just follow the "tourist route" back down to Brodick.

    We camped at "Seal Shore" in Kildonan. Nice site especially as we managed to get a pitch right down by the shore, meaning we had our back to the rest of the site and so couldn't see any other tents or caravans out of our door. Just Pladda, Ailsa Craig, and the Galloway coast in the distance.

    Ate in "Coast" in Whiting Bay one night, which was lovely, but bear in mind it was about 4 or 5 years ago so standards and quality may have changed in the meantime.

    A few photos of the camp site and Goat Fell, and the views from both, if your appetite needs whetting: http://flic.kr/s/aHsiXSECmR

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. ARobComp
    Member

    Hi Everyone. I had a GREAT time there.

    Cycling was ACE. Diud a loop of the top half of the island with the GF teaching her to ride her road bike a little better (quite funny explaining to her that when I stop pedalling for her to catch up I'm not "having a little rest" as she thought and she needs to keep pedalling!)
    String from Brodick to the west side of the island was an ace climb with a slightly dissapointing decent due to wind and poor road surface.
    North side climb up from Lochranza over to Corrie was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The decent was one of those amazing ones you can just let it go on. Saw my g/f's face at the bottom and I think she's realised why cycling is so amazing...

    Climbed Goat Fell up and down tourist route in the end as the weather was shite and we didn't want to head up a route that might be a touch more complex. Was still a great work out and enjoyed it although it was HEAVY cloud at the top and very cold..

    Stayed at Seal Shore campsite too and ate at the hotel bistro (REALLY nice food) - campsiote was very quiet and a lovely place to spend an evening. I rode the south side of the island on Friday morning alone in full race mode (2hrs 20 mins for 61km)

    The southside of the island is AMAZING cycling. I think I must have been grinning like a loon cracking along at 45km/hr for the entire 20km of it from Kildonan to Blackwaterfoot. I did get a decent and hairpin a bit wrong and cornered on the wrong side of the road but thankfully nothing was coming!

    String the other way (west/east) was BRILLIANT. Climb up and over was amazing and I managed to maintain 25kmph+ on the entire hill which burned but was great fun to do. Then the decent! WOW. I was knocking on 90kmph at one point and the bike felt awesome.

    Anyway what an ace holiday. Thanks for the advice!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. Ed1
    Member

    There is too many midges on Arran cycled across today but had to cheat and get the train from Glasgow as took a wrong turn so may have missed the boat otherwise

    Posted 6 months ago #

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