On the Map Arran may be small however this little island or as its known “Scotland in miniature” really is a treat you will never forget. There are memories to be made here you will not ever want to forget, the island, the beauty, the locals, the scenery, wildlife, history, beaches and everything else along the way make it a fantastic motorhome holiday. There are some camp sites available on Arran however we do like to wildcamp, of which there are many places to choose from.
Perth to Ayr, we decided to head closer to the Ferry port, as we had booked an early morning ferry. Stoping at Ayr at their Pier and what a beautiful first night away. The beach was beautiful as the sun set and although there were a number of other motorhomes it was a surprisingly quiet place to stop over. We would recommend going to the end of the pier road and turning so you are facing out for the morning as by morning it was very busy and with a larger motorhome it could have been problematic getting turned around. There is a lovely walk up to near the lighthouse or simply a stroll along the beach. It really made for a wonderful first night away from the general hustle and bustle of our normal daily lives.
Ardrossan to Brodick Ferry this is a lovely crossing of just over an hour. We arrived in plenty time and took a walk down to the lighthouse and around the ferry terminal. The Ferry itself was very well organised and the crossing was smooth. Theres a lovely little café on board with excellent food on offer. Arriving in Brodick it was a lively little town and just a short drive away is the local Leisure Centre.
Auchrannie Leisure Centre is a fabulous place to visit on the first day. There are large carparks suitable for motorhomes and they actually now offer overnight parking here at a cost of around £25 a night for electric and hard standing. There is a whole days worth of activites packed in here. From the playbarn and the outdoor park, activities on offer including segways, swimming and a spa. There is something here on offer for everyone. There are plenty of local cycle routes here to but they do involve the main road so not suitable for young children.
The shopping on Arran is somewhat limited in comparison to the mainland. They have several COOP shops which are well stocked, however if you shop around you can pick up lots of lovely local produce which is just perfect for a motorhome and a BBQ In the evenings.
There is a lovely spot to park up at North Sannox which was just a short drive from the beach for an evening stroll. When we say a slight drive I mean 15 minutes as the island really isnt very big and we enjoyed driving up and down several times over our week there.
Brodick Castle and Country Park is not something we expected on Arran. The Castle and gorunds are outstanding. The carpark is large and easy to park up in. There is a café selling local ice creams and lunch, snacks ect. A short walk from here is the castle itself which is steeped in history and they have a DoDo trail for the younger children to keep them entertained on the way round. There are helpful guides located around the castle offering some further insight itno the castle life as it once was along with all the information printed.
Outside there is so much to see and do from the walled gardens to the grounds themselves. They are immaculate and very well maintained. The childrens playpark is something that we were surprised and incredibly impressed by. This is a day out where adults can enjoy the history, gardens and grounds and the children can burn of energy in the fabulous woodland playpark. With a wooden maze which emcompasses slides, poles, clibing ladders, glass walkways, wooden bridges and a fortress type building in the woods it is a wonderful park. There is a smaller park for toddlers and they really have catered for everyone. We spent a whole day here and you could easily go back for more.
We choose to park up at Middletons Campsite this evening which was a lovely family run park. They could not have been more helpful and had all the usual amenties such as waste disposal , immaculate showers and a laundry service.
We decided to go local on day 4, this started with the Arran cheese and we were not disappointed. We sampled around 6 of their cheeses and we highly reccomed the garlic and the chilli along with their beetroot chutney and homemade oatcakes. We then headed along to the Arran Heritage museum which was a wonderful morning out. They have lots to keep children entertained including a tractor and a boat to play in. The little houses and rooms give a lovely insight into the past lives on Arran and the changes over the years. Any budding geologists will love this centre. We had tried to see where they made Arran Ice Cream however these trips were not running so we headed over to Bellevue farm.
This was a wonderful afternoon where we were all entertained with seeing all of the animals, feeding them, seeing the farm machinery, collecting eggs and at the end they have a huge barn with petting animals, games and vechicles and activities for the children. They sell home grown produce here from their freezer if you wish to have some fresh meat for the BBQ, they even produce their own Goat Meat at Bellevue. The farmers wife who completed the tours was just fabulous with the group and really got you involved in their day to day life on a working farm and the difficulties that arise from being on an Island.
Tonight we choose to park up right up the beach by a golf course at Blackwaterfoot. Here you could park up and we took a walk over to the rock pools. This beach was beautiful with lots of people cold water swimming, we were able to sit out on the beach untill the sun set.
We walked for miles on Day 5, choosing to explore the countryside. Heading across to Kings Caves. This is a very scenic walk however it is not suitable for very small children or anyone with mobility problems as it is very hilly, stony and steep in places.The start of the walk from the car park is a relatively wide well maintained path however as you reach the shore it is very narrow and uneven winding down the hill onto the shore and to the caves. The caves themselves you can enter , they are very vast and quite an impressive feat by the shore. There were lots of mini cairns that walkers have built and it appears most people choose to do this when they reach the caves. Returning the loop back to the carpark the hill is extremely steep and unforgiving however the views are phenomenal at the top. We did go well prepared with spray for ticks and id highly recommend it as the grass can be very long here. Further up this side of the island are the Machrie Standing Stones.
The stones themselves are a short walk from the road and they are quite impressive given the romoteness of their location and the difficulties that the builders must have had at the time errecting them. After this walk there is a lovely tearoom where they make the most delicious traybakes. We didn’t visit the Old Byres Visitors Centre as we had ran out of time however this is a place on our bucket list for next time.
There is a lovelywild camp spot at Kings Caves where we choose to park up for the night. There was space for several motorhomes but enough space to feel isolated at the same time. There are bins here which is great to help keep the place clean and tidy.
Lochranza to Claonoig Ferry took us back to the mainland. This was actually quite sad as Arran realy was the most wonderful island to holiday on. We headed over to Craobh Haven which has watersports. We choose to paddleboard and do some kayaking here which was a great experience. They have very good equipment and the staff are very helpful. They have a café here which sells fresh seafood and local crafts. After the watersports we made our way over to Oban where we stopped over at the Oban Caravan and Camping Park. Here we had electirc hook up and there was a waste disposal which is always a welcome before the last day.
We got up early to explore Oban and took a hike up to McCaigs tower. This tower is visable from the village and is quite a structure. As history tells it the gentleman who built the tower did so to keep the stonemasons in a job over the winter. He sadly died before he completed his plans which included a gallery and a museum. His family contested the money he had left for this and were successful. It is quite a climb up to the tower but the views over the sea are remarkable. We then choose to have a walk down and hop on a little 1 hour boat trip ran by a local family to see the seals. There was a fresh sea shack just off the boat cooking fresh seafood caught that day, the best way to eat seafood and cooked to perfection. We then headed down slightly towards home on the A 85 and found a lovely wild camp spot at Strone Hill Forestry Car Park and Picnic area. There were several walks here and lovely benches to sit at on a nice evening. Although there were several motorhomes here it was very quite.
Sadly the day to head home. However we took home with us a full week of family fun and adventure. We also have added a few more places to our bucket lists for our next family trip and learnt a few tips along the way. Take smidge with you are the midges on Arran are quite spectacular. We did also take some candles and a smoke candle with us which did help keep them at bay. Ensure you take anything that you utterly cannot live without as supplies can be limited on the island, embrace island life and it is certainly a slower pace than we are used to but we throughoutly enjoyed it.
Remeber to leave only footprints wherever you go!
In Scotland we are lucky to have such an abundance of outdoor pursuits on our door step, set amongst some of the most beautiful landscape and all within easy driving reach when combined with a motorhome you can enjoy a holiday while experience some adrenaline based activities.