Thursday, 15 March 2018

Day Trip to the Scottish Island of Arran

The original plan when I booked my trip to the UK last year, was to spend some time on a few of the northern Scottish Islands (I had my eye specifically on the Isle of Mull). Once I'd bought my flight however, plans started to fall apart. I found myself with a chunk of time abroad, but without my travel partners. After a bit of a sulk and then shaking my head at my first-world problems, I regrouped and planned out a new itinerary. 

The new plan involved more day excursions and short-term trips; Ireland, a day in London, and a weekend in the Lake District. The Scottish Isle of Arran was one of these lovely day trips. I managed to rope in a travel partner for this day trip and we purchased our Rail and Sail tickets from Glasgow Central to the banks of Brodick. I actually got to touch my toes on a Scottish island after all!

I didn't really know what to expect from Arran, there wasn't anything in particular that we were going for, expect for the mere fact that it was there. But in actuality there's plenty of ways to spend time on Arran; beaches, historical sites, a castle, and even views from the top of Goatfell. The are hiking, walking and even biking trails all over the island ranging in difficulty through diverse landscapes; in a day you can experience forests, mountains, waterfalls, beaches, bogs, and coastlines.

As we sailed across the Firth of Clyde on our 55 minute fairy ride, we set up our game plan for the day. We discovered that conveniently, the local buses are timed with the arrival of the ferries. This was just want we needed, however if you want to bring your own car or hire one there (book ahead of time), both are an option. Or if you have the cash you can even get a taxi to take you to your island destination, which might be good if you are spending the night on the island.  

Our day trip required a little bit of forethought but really we were winging it. Brodick, the village where the ferries land,  is the main settlement on the island, but we decided on Whiting Bay as our destination for a wander. 

We caught the 323 South Arran run bus and enjoyed the coastal road views. Once off the bus, we briefly took in the seascape before turning to our intended path. We had read about Glenashdale Falls and thought that this was as good as any spot to spend an afternoon hiking to. 

The wooded trail was relatively easy to do in our running shoes, but honestly, the assent had us panting and sweating on this cool spring day. We climbing the trail along the Glenashdale Burn taking moments to enjoy the peace and woodland beauty around us (and catch our breaths). 

There were only a few others on the trail with us this day, which was perfect. No one around to judge how out of shape we were. 

After about an hour's walk we had made it to Glenashdale Falls and it actually made me gasp! From a built lookout point, you can admire the roaring double falls. I had to do a panorama to get the whole thing in the picture. 

The Isle of Arran has a prehistory dating to the Neolithic period in which two gallery graves have survived. The Giants' Grave located above Whiting Bay is one of them. Near the falls in Glenashdale Woods are the remains of an Iron Age fort. I'm very glad these incredibly cool historical sites had their informative text panels to tell me what these oddly piled rocks were. 

view from the Iron Age Fort in Glenashdale Woods

All in, the trail up and down with a break for a packed lunch took a few hours. We didn't have long to wait for the next bus to take us back to Brodick and the ferry. Had we had a bit more time, I would have liked to have stopped at an eatery or cafe in Whiting Bay to enjoy a tipple or snack, but we decided to find food closer to the docks just in case (we didn't want our day trip turning into an overnighter). 

And so ended our day on Arran. Not really knowing what to expect from this place on the outset, we actually really loved our time spent. 

Just like my day trip to Isle of Arran, in the end, my UK trip was exactly what I needed and without even knowing it. My intention was just to tick new places off my travel bucket list, instead I took the opportunity to focus on friendships and spending some slow travel time in familiar settings. By the time I was boarding my flight home, I felt recharged, relaxed and sane.

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1 comment:

  1. I have only ever seen London and know I am missing out on other UK excursions. Sigh....Soon I hope.


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