A small island off the west coast of Scotland with picturesque views from the mountains, an amazing coastline and much more. This is Arran.
Up on arrival in Brodick, we were pleasantly surprised to find how quiet this place is. It was lovely. so we parked up and planned our days itenary according to the weather forecast.
As it was cloudy and foggy we decided our first location would be Glenashdale Falls. Only a short drive south of Brodick, the bumpy, potholed road followed Arran's spectacular coastline to our destination.
We arrived at the beginning of the trail to the waterfalls, here we found there was more than one route to get us there, so we decided on the longest one to make the most of it. Hiking through foggy woodlands and following muddy paths with ocean views, we made it to the falls. They were spectacular, much better than we had seen in photos, but then again everything does.
After some time wandering and exploring this amazing location, we decided to head back through the woods and get back to the car to go to our next destination.
Driving along the south coast of Arran came with its challenges. The roads were narrow at times and again, were destroyed by potholes... lots of potholes, I mean thousands of potholes! The roads were terrible, if I'm honest, and driving through thick fog made them even harder to see and avoid. So if you care about your cars suspension, maybe take these roads a little more carefully.
A while later we arrived in a little town called Blackwaterfoot. This was a lovely place and the beach was fantastic, but we weren't here just for the beach. Along the coast further north from Blackwaterfoot was the next location on our list, Kings Caves. There is an actual car park for the caves further up the road from Blackwaterfoot, but we wanted to walk along the Arran Coastal Way to make it more interesting. This walk was lovely although conditions were pretty wild, it was very windy and quite chilly, but the fresh sea air was amazing. who doesn't love a good coastal walk!
After an hour of walking and taking in this beautiful area, we made it to Kings Caves. We couldn't believe the size of them, they were pretty big. We weren't the only people there, it seems this is a hotspot for many walkers doing the Arran Coastal Way, but that didn't matter because they were big enough for everyone to enjoy.
Here we had a bite to eat and sat down to enjoy the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks. it was an amazing place, one I'd certainly return to when I'm next here.
Next, we made our way back to the car and left Blackwaterfoot. From here we headed north towards Lochranza along the coast to scout for lay-bys to park up in for the night. Now, if you like coastal roads with incredible views, this west coast stretch on Arran is for you. It's that good I can barely explain it, you just have to go and drive it!
We arrive in Lochranza and surprise surprise, it's sunny! A complete change in weather from south to north, we couldn't believe it. We parked up at Lochranza Castle to have a peak inside and a sit down to enjoy the views. Lochranza you are stunning!
We spent about an hour in Lochranza, but it was time to head back down the coast to a lay-by we spotted earlier to park up and sleep for the night. We opted for one close to the sea and backed up to it, so that we could wake up in the morning and enjoy the views.
For our first day on the road, we visited all of our planned locations. So far so good, but we were tired and needed to get out heads down, we were very excited to see what the next day would have in store for us.
Waking up after a well earned kip we journeyed back to Brodick. From here we enjoyed hiking up the mighty Goat Fell (874m) which is the highest mountain on the island. The weather was looking great - forecasted sunny and partly cloudy all day. Our plan to leave this hike until day 2 had paid off! We were very excited about this climb!
It was quite a long route from sea level but we had all day to do it, there was no rush. A gentle pace was set allowing us to really take in our surroundings. The trail was well maintained and easy to walk along, this made it really easy to navigate. There wasn't really any need for a map, but we had one with us... just in case. I never go on a hike without one, even if I know where I'm going.
As we were making our way up the trail, the views surrounding began to open up, they were beautiful already and we weren't anywhere near the top. We couldn't wait to get up there.
We had been hiking for about an hour now, a few breaks here and there, it was a lot tougher than we expected. On our final push to the summit the views were awesome. They may even be some of the best views from a mountain I have seen. Looking over the Firth of Clyde towards mainland Scotland, I had no words, none at all, so we took a brief moment to rest and take it in,
After our final push, we made it to the summit of Goat Fell. It was extremely windy up there and the conditions had changed. We were in the clouds with zero visibility. Could our chances of seeing the views from the summit be over? We decided to sit down, have some lunch and wait it out.
The cairn was being painted as we were up there, hence the masking tape on it and the wet paint sign on the floor. The man painting it ran up Goat Fell with a paint tin and brush in his rucksack and had been doing it for a few days. Now that's commitment!
Whilst waiting for the clouds to break, they continued to tease us with a glimpse every now and then, we were patiently waiting or waiting impatiently, who knows, we just really wanted to see these views.
THEN IT HAPPENED
The clouds broke and the views were revealed, it was absolutely incredible, again, hard to explain these views in words, so, here are the photos.
The views opened for a good five minutes or so and then they were gone. We were unsure whether to wait longer to see more but it didn't look like it was going to happen. So, we decided to head down. As we were descending we realised just how popular this mountain is. There were queues of people making their way up, from toddlers to the older generation, all heading up for the view. I felt bad for them all because the clouds were getting thicker and thicker, they engulfed the mountain and we didn't see it again.
Arriving back in Brodick, the sun was out but we were quite tired. So, we stopped at the Wineport restaurant for some dinner and a drink. A great vibe and lovely food, I really do recommend this place. The perfect way to end a great day.
But it wasn't over just yet, we needed to find a spot to park up to spend our final night. So, we set off to find one, luckily we spotted a little place to park up just a few hundred yards down the road from the Wineport. We knew this was the perfect place to stay. The views were lovely and it was only a five minute drive to the ferry terminal. So, we set up camp.
We stripped off and had a dip in the sea for a quick wash. It was FREEZING but very fresh, it was the cleanest we had felt for a few days. Then we put the stove on to enjoy a cup of tea and watch the sunset. We were even able to enjoy the resident seals swimming and jumping all around us. This was the perfect end to the day and the trip.
We had to get the ferry early in the morning...
This was our first car camping weekend away and it was one of the best weekend I've had. It just goes to show that you really don't have to spend a lot of money or sleep in hotels and B&B's to have a great time. All you need is a car big enough to sleep in, some fuel money and food then your good to go! It is that simple! I can't recommend Car Camping enough, you just have to try it! it's an amazing experience!