What Is There To Do On Arran?
Arran is the quintessential Scottish island with a bit of everything you’d expect: mountains, lowlands, rocky bays, beaches, iconic wildlife, castles, stone circles, distilleries, golf courses and more.
The compact diversity of the island lends itself to a wide variety of possibilities. Walking options range from beach stroll to mountain adventure and Arran has many sites of archaeological and historical interest, an impressive range of wild-life as well as many indoor options for those rare inclement days!
Activities On Arran
Now that you have found your perfect Arran B&B, what do you want to do? And where to start? One thing for sure-no matter how long a stay you have planned it will be nowhere near enough! There are so many options: walking, cycling, bird watching, kayaking, golfing, fishing and much more!
Explore Arran on Foot: 5 Favourite Walks
Cruickshanks B&B (Nanette, Rob and Jess the Collie) have managed out every day for the greater part of the decade that we’ve lived on Arran. That represents a fair amount of first-hand experience to share, not to mention guidebooks and maps. Here’s a good place to start: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/arran/. However, we do have a number of favourites on our doorstep:
Explore Arran By Bicycle: 5 Favourite Routes
One of us is a very keen cyclist and we do have many who cyclists stay at our B&B: Arran has a lot of variety, off-road and on with some options listed here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/arranbikeclub/files/files. Bring your own and store it with us or hire from Arran Bike Hire who are based in Brodick, both conventional hybrid and E-bikes are on offer. Helmets are provided but you will need to bring your own lycra!
A lot of Rob’s cycling is on road however the island does have a good network of forestry tracks and so the recommendation is to use a bike that can combine both. The top five favourites which all start and finish at Cruickshanks are as follows:
Route 1: The Kildonan Loop
Only about 14kms but plenty of climbing with spectacular views out to ‘Ailsa Craig’ and beyond; clear view of the Antrim Coast on a good day. The route heads south climbing steadily until Auchenhew at which point there is a steep descent plunging back down to sea level. Cycle along the water front in Kildonan keeping an eye open for seals basking on the rocks along the front before climbing (again) back up to the main road returning to Whiting Bay and a last haul back up the steep hill to Cruickshanks.
Culture, Arts & History
Arran has clear and conspicuous evidence of habitation since at least neolithic times with many standing stones and burial mounds all over the island. These neolithic remains are consistent with similar sites to the north in Argyll (e.g. Kilmartin Glen) and to the west in Ireland suggesting the local population had direct contact by sea with other populations more than 4000 years ago.
There are other archaeological sites of more recent habitation including iron age forts, Viking encampments and villages abandoned during the ‘clearances.’ Most of this and more is skilfully explained and exhibited in the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum which opened in the 1970s. Located in Brodick it tells the story of the island’s culture and social history with a wealth of local artifacts and exhibits; a fascinating place.
The island is resident to many artists and specialist craftspeople who exhibit in a range of galleries and outlets.
A visit to Brodick Castle also shines a light on some of Arran’s past. A couple of years ago, the Castle was renovated and now has a new interactive visitor experience; the castle sits in magnificent grounds with a wide variety of trees and shrubs collected since Victorian times as well as a fabulous walled garden.
The distillation of spirit has been important throughout the highlands and islands and Arran is no exception. Arran has two distilleries: one in the Island’s north being the home of the Isle of Arran distillery while closer to our B&B in Whiting Bay is the recently opened Lagg Distillery based in the islands south end. Both welcome visitors, conduct tours, offer tasting sessions and have comfortable cafes.