Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Wed, 2010-01-13
The Isle of arran is often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, as many aspects of Scotland’s landscape as a whole are encapsulated by the island. Cut in half by the rugged and hilly whereas the south is more gentle and rolling. Featuring towering granite peaks, peaceful sandy bays, coastal caves and forests, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, is an impressive stately home with impressive fine gardens and walking trails. Examples of the island’s varied geology can be seen in the local heritage museum, house in a charming blacksmith’s cottage which also features an archaeology exhibition. Brodick Castle is a National Trust for Scotland site.
Arran is a small island, 20 miles long and 56 miles round, located off the south-west coast of Scotland. Palm trees grow here in the mild climate thanks to the Gulf Stream and it has many picturesque villages.
The island is cut in half by the Highland Boundary Fault, a geological division which makes the north rugged and hilly, whereas the south is more gentle and lower lying. In fact it is often called ‘Scotland in miniature’ for its range and wealth of scenery. All this is within easy reach of Glasgow, making it an ideal holiday destination.
It has history (castles and ancient monuments), wildlife (birds, seals and deer) and leisure facilities (tennis, golf, yachting, pony trekking, bowling, cycling). Something for everyone.
Of the island’s 4500+ inhabitants, over 1000 live in the main port Brodick.
Annual events include the Arran Festival of Folk (7-13 June) and the Brodick Highland Games (7 August). There are also various hill races this year (Goatfell on 15 May, Glen Rosa on 19 June and Urie Loch on 18 July). The Cutty Sark Tall Ships race will be visiting during 30 July – 2 August. In addition to these, there are all sorts of other events taking place throughout the year. The local tourist office will have up-to-date details.
How to get to Arran
Two vehicle ferries run from the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Arran. Most people reach the island via Ardrossan which has a direct rail service from Glasgow.
These ferries are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne – Tel: 01475 650 100 / fax: 01475 635 235 or for vehicle reservations telephone 0990 650 000.
Vehicle ferry: Ardrossan-Brodick
A large ferry leaves Ardrossan which is nearly 40 miles by road from Glasgow (allow 1 and a half hours to drive) or one hour by train. The boat takes you to Arran’s main town Brodick. In the summer there are 5 or 6 daily sailings from Monday to Saturday and 4 sailings on Sundays. Fewer sailings operate over the winter (October – early April). Journey time: 55 minutes. The Caledonian MacBrayne brochure states that vehicle reservation is required but this might only be really necessary at peak times during the holidays.
Vehicle ferry: Claonaig-Lochranza
A small vehicle ferry leaves Claonaig, a tiny spot on the Kintyre Peninsula (110 miles from Glasgow) and in 30 minutes takes you over to Lochranza on the northern tip of Arran. From Easter until October there are about 10 crossings every day, so you just turn up and hope to get on the next one. A limited service operates over the winter. No vehicle reservations possible. You can get Early Bird Savers or Day Savers which work out slightly cheaper if you have a car and up to 4 passengers.
Check bus times with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) – Tel: 0141 332 7133 or Argyll and Bute Council – Tel: 01546 604 695
Isle of Arran Tourist Information Centres: Burns House 16 Burns Statue Square
Ayr KA7 1UT
General tourism enquiries: Tel: 0845 22 55 121
VisitScotland Visitor Information Centres: Ayr: 22 Sandgate Ayr Ayrshire
(Open all year)
Brodick: The Pier Brodick Isle of Arran
(Open all year)
Isle of Arran helpful tourism site: http://www.visitarran.net/
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