Camping in Arran – Scotland in Miniature
Are you looking for somewhere new to visit and go camping? Maybe you’ve been before like I have and would like to revisit. Where am I talking about? Arran! The little island off the west coast of Scotland that is called “Scotland in Miniature”
The reason I have come to write this post as we are planning our first camping trip of the year. Looking for somewhere a little closer to home for our first trip I thought of Arran. I have been to Arran camping before but this was quite a few years ago now. But, my wife has never even been to Arran let alone camped there.
So I got a little excited as I loved going to Arran whilst growing up, even if it was just for a day trip as I live close enough to be able to do this.
Arran is one of the most southerly isles in Scotland and sits between Ayrshire and Kintyre. The isle measures approx. 19 miles long by 10 miles wide. Arran also boasts the Arran Coastal Way walk. This walk is one of Scotland’s great trails and takes you on a 65 mile route around Arran’s coastline.
Arran has a very diverse land and sea scape from the 9 or so sandy beaches to Goat Fell, the tallest of Arrans mountain ranges. Goat Fell is a Corbett and stands at 874 m with good paths to allow you to walk to the summit.
Arran has a rich history and goes back to the stone ages. There are places of historical interest and you can always visit Arran’s Heritage Museum.
If you enjoy some outdoor action Arran is a must! Arran is an activity packed isle, it has 7 golf courses. If golf is not your thing you can also try horse riding, open air ice-skating, water sports, fishing, abseiling, mountain biking, archery, boat trips and for the more adventurous paragliding.
If you like walking you will not be disappointed there either. Arran’s diverse landscape has many walkways with forestry paths and trails that allows you to soak up Arrans natural beauty. You can even backpack your way around Arran using Arran Coastal Trail setting down each night at a different campsite.
But, if you just want to go and completely chill out you can do that too among some stunning scenery.
To get to Arran you need to take a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Ardrossan in North Ayrshire across to Brodick. The sailing is about 55 minutes but you can take this time to enjoy on-board facilities such as bar, café and gift shop or just sit back and enjoy the crossing which is glorious on a warm sunny day.
You can, in the summer months cross from Kintyre to Lochranza on the north of the island. This is a shorter journey of only 30 minutes but the ferry has limited on-board facilities. This maybe ideal if you are traveling down from central or northern Scotland.
If you are driving from England or Wales the ferry terminal can be reached in about 3 hours once you enter Scotland.
Campsites in Arran
Lochranza campsite is open from the end of March till end of October.
The campsite being situated one of Scotland’s national Scenic Area’s and being a site of importance for nature reservation means it is located in a beautiful spot on the north of the island.
The site is nestled at the bottom of hills with streams running through it. This is a quiet site who’s ethos is to sustain a welcoming environment without harming the environment. The owners are active campers themselves so have taken their knowledge and experiences to provide a wonderful site.
Onsite has toilet and shower blocks with hairdryers, washing up area, cooking area, laundry and information area in main reception and chemical toilet disposal.
Seal Shore Campsite is a family run campsite that is open from 1st March till 31st October.
The campsite is situated in Kildonan on the south of the island. A beautiful location next to the sea with its own private beach. No wonder it was awarded the 2017-18 Small Campsite of the Year. This site is in an ideal location for wildlife enthusiasts with regular sightings of seals, gannets, porpoise, otters, dolphins, basking sharks and on land you have red deer, red squirrels and often have the chance of seeing a golden eagle fly by. (Always have your camera at the ready)
This is a small site so it is always best to book in advance. On site you have 2 toilet and shower blocks, Wi-Fi, shop, undercover BBQ area, picnic area, use of fridges and freezers, day room with TV, 10 EH pitches, chemical toilet disposal and a laundry room.
Middleton Caravan and Camping Site
Middleton is a family run caravan and campsite that is open from March till end of October.
This campsite is situated just outside Lamlash which is just south of Brodick. This is a popular site for families and those with pets but I would not suggest it as a long stay site. The site has limited facilities only stating to have public toilets, free car parking and a children’s play area.
I myself have never been to this site so am unable to comment much about it. As with all sites on Arran it is set in a beautiful location but again, I would only really recommend this for an overnight as I feel it is more suited to campers or those with caravans.
Glen Rosa Campsite
Glen Rosa Campsite set in a stunning location and is open all year round.
The campsite is situated in Brodick, the port where most people will arrive in Arran. Glen Rosa is a very basic site. It is more or less a field in which you can pitch up for the night but in my opinion not somewhere that you would go to spend a few days.
Due to the location of this site many people use it who just want a camping experience or teenagers wanting a weekend away with their mates. Due to this the site is often left littered with surplus items and rubbish.
I would only recommend this site if you were backpacking and just needed to get your head down for the night.
Things to do Whilst in Arran
Arran is a hub for the activity seeker. From walking to cycling there is something for everyone.
Adventure -If you would like to try your hand at archery, sea kayaking, mountain biking or even just hire a mountain bike check out Arran Adventure at http://www.auchrannie.co.uk. They also offer gorge walking from April to October if you would like to try something a bit different.
What about going on a safari? WWW.MOGABOUT.COM offer Safari’s in their 16 seater, 4 wheel drive Mercedes Benz Unimog. Safaris can be forestry bound, for photography opportunities or out on a private charter with friends, stag & hen parties etc.
Walking – Arran has some amazing walks and it full of rich history that can be taken in by walking and visiting some of these historical sites. You have many walks throughout towns and villages and through unspoiled forestry areas. For those looking for more of a challenge, you could scramble up Goat Fell or take on the 65-mile Arran Coastal Way. With so much to see and do there are walks to suit all ages and abilities on Arran.
Cycling – if you fancy a cycle during your visit there is bike hire in Brodick and from Arran Adventure. If you are an experienced cyclist and want a challenge you may want to cycle around the island. Remember due to the diversity of the landscape there are some steep hills that may not be suitable for everyone.
Golf – as stated before Arran has 7 golf Courses so is a real golfer’s paradise. You can if you wish experience playing on all the courses if you buy a gold pass. Check out what’s all on offer at www.golfonarran.com
Water Sports – if you’d like to spend some time at sea you could always have a go at sea kayaking or go out on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) and there is also sailing on offer. As Arran is a small island many of their towns are near the sea so it can be a haven for water sport enthusiasts whether you try something new or have your own gear you will always find somewhere to get wet here.
Indoor Activities – of course we don’t always get glorious sunshine when we go camping. So for those days there is also plenty of indoor activities that can be enjoyed. These include swimming, badminton, tennis, team sports that you are welcome to join and a soft play area for the little ones.
What if you want to take things a little slower? There are still some wonderful places you can visit. Why not check out
The Isle of Arran Heritage Museum – is situated in Rosaburn in Brodick. Open March till October this museum is rich in heritage and is suitable for all ages. While the adults may want to look around and learn about Arran’s history there are lots of hands-on learning for the youngsters. You can also buy gifts from the shop or have a small bite to eat at the café. If the weather is good why not take advantage of the gardens and sit outdoors with your lunch.
Isle of Arran Distillers – a wee dram at the distillery while you learn about the process of whiskey making. This is a must for whiskey lovers. You can have a guided tour with an expert while you learn more about the process. There is also a café serving local fresh food if you work up an appetite during the tour.
Arran Aromatics – more one for the ladies to indulge in but, if you would like to treat that special lady in your life I’m sure she’d love a gift from here. Learn about the history of this place and how much they have grown over the years. They now sell their products worldwide and once you’ve tried them you’ll understand why.
So if you decide to visit Arran, no matter what type of camping experience you are looking for I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. As you can see there is something for everyone.
Remember to check out my Camping Safety post before you go. Either as a refresher or to make sure you have everything covered.