Paths & Trails
Arran has an extensive network of paths and trails with a wide range to suit all abilities and level of fitness. There are high level mountain walks for the more experienced with some challenging full day adventures including the 'Three Beinns Horseshoe' (826m), a classic Scottish hill walk via Beinn Nuis, Beinn Tarsuinn and Beinn a ’Chliabhain and The Caisteal Abhail (859m), well worth the climb for spectacular views of the whole island. If you are less confident but keen to explore, then contact Lucy Wallace at Arran Wild Walks or Otters Tail to book onto a guided walk with experienced mountain guides. Alternatively, join the Arran Mountain Festival in May for a weekend of guided mountain walks, outdoor activities and social gatherings.
There are also miles of forestry trails leading to waterfalls and spectacular viewpoints, such as Glenashdale Falls and Eas Mor. The Arran Coastal Way, provides a continuous 100k route of the island. You can also discover ancient sites, including the Standing Stones at Machrie Moor, King's Caves near Machrie and the Giant's Graves in Whiting Bay.
The Arran Coastal Way group have greatly improved the route between King's Cross and Lamlash with impressively long sections of boardwalk. Not all land-owners have shared the vision so there are gaps in the walkway and you have to pick your way along the rocky shore. It can be muddy and slippery in these places so you need to take care and wear walking boots with good ankle support (not your best trainers!). It takes around 1.5 hours with approx. 50% boardwalk / 50% shore. Check the tides before you set out as a very high tide will make it more difficult and you might need to scramble through the woodland. You will see lots of wildlife on the way including herons, oystercatchers and numerous other seabirds and perhaps a seal or otter.
Brodick Castle & Country Park offers a programme of guided walks in the summer months and there are a number of woodland trails, including The Duchess Bathing Pools, The Balmoral Drive and Dan's Walk, a sculpture trail created by a renowned local artist, Tim Pomeroy.
Eas Mor is an ambitious project that was set up as a charitable foundation to develop an amenity forest area for recreational purposes; and to convert the pine forest into a deciduous woodland to improve biodiversity that will provide habitats for wildlife. In keeping with their ecological principles, a hydro dam has been created and this will produce electricity to help generate sustainable funds for the charity. The site is approx. 40 acres and it has been developed mostly by volunteers who have gained experience in woodland and path-making skills. Their incredible hard work is for the benefit of the whole community.
Woodland paths meander deep into the forest and you will discover an eco-library and the beautiful Eas Mor waterfall. There are also picnic benches at regular intervals. There are plans underway for a visitor centre that will host workshops and classes in conservation, health and well-being. You will find it just off the coastal road between Kildonan and Kilmory. The project is split by the road, so you can explore one side and cross over to the other.
Other recommended forestry walks include Glenashdale Falls and Giant's Graves in Whiting Bay (with linked paths towards Kildonan or the other direction to Lamlash and Brodick), Dyemill (with an extension to Urie Loch), Clauchland's Hill Trail in and around Lamlash, Brodick Castle Trails and King's Caves near Blackwaterfoot. Some forest paths close occasionally for essential tree felling or maintenance, so please check this before you set off.
Try some easy trekking within beautiful mountain scenery or an exhilarating beach ride along Sannox or Blackwaterfoot beach. Contact the stables to make advance reservations (both are very popular in July/August, so book ahead).
Sannox Trekking Centre, North Sannox (just outside Sannox on the road to Lochranza)
Cairnhouse Stables, Blackwaterfoot (over the 'String' road, the stables are located on right just before you enter the village centre)
Cycling is very popular on this hilly island with the only flat stretch of road between Brodick and Corrie. But the views are worth the pedal power and a slower pace will let you catch sight of wildlife along the way. There are also miles of natural offroad trails but some are hard to find, so check out Arran Bike Club for routes and advice. A popular route for families is Brodick Castle, so you can pedal around the castle grounds or take the slightly more strenuous forestry track starting just beyond the castle gates and circuit around the Balmoral Drive.
Arran Bike Club also welcomes visitors on their weekly rides. They are approx. 10 km in length, mainly offroad at a relaxed and fun pace, perfect for anyone with a mountain bike in good working order, a helmet and a little enthusiasm. Gerard from the Arran Bike Club will lead the rides, no-one will get left behind and help and advice will always be on hand. Contact Arran Bike Club to check the meeting points.
Bike hire is available from Arran Bike Hire. Giant trail, hybrid and e-bikes available. Bike hire is also available at the Auchrannie Spa Resort in Brodick.
There are 7 golf courses on Arran with friendly club facilities and an automated driving range in Shiskine.
Whiting Bay Golf Club
Lamlash Golf Club
Brodick Golf Club
Corrie & Sannox Golf (no website)
Lochranza Golf Club
Machrie Golf Club
Shiskine Golf & Tennis Club