Why You Should Visit Isle of Arran

Table of Contents

My Scottish Adventures

Portland, Oregan taught me to love being out during the cold and windy days, and Edinburgh taught me to laugh at the rain.

Once you learn how to love wet days, nothing can stop you! I go back to Scotland whenever I can.

Do you have a place that you like to visit over and over? I have returned to Edinburgh many times and, I experience the city differently every time I go. I always plan a few one-day-trip to surrounding towns, and I make at least one 3-5 day trip to a different part of Scotland. I can hardly wait for this pandemic to get resolved so that I can continue my Scottish adventures.

The Isle of Aran

Ubiquitous Chip

 

This charming island is on the west coast of Scotland and you can get there via a ferry from Glasgow. My sister and I met in Edinburgh, and we did this mini-adventure together. We spent the night in Glasgow and walked a little around the city; but our real plan was to arrive at the Ubiquitous Chip on time for dinner.  

The ferry boat to the Isle of Arran was an adventure in itself. I didn’t expect to see so many people with their dogs and was amused to see how friendly they were with each other. It’s a short ride, and most of us were inside due to the weather, and we were all looking out the large windows and the beautiful view.

Isle of Arran map and viewPhotos by Marguerite

 

The Isle of Arran is known as “Little Scotland” because it has all the geographical elements and weather conditions that the whole of Scotland has. The public transportation is good, but you need to plan for it because of their schedule. The island is small, and if you are a fast traveler, two days are plenty to get the jest of it. I have made a note that I want to go for a week, and if I’m courageous enough, I may rent a car on my next trip. It’s a beautiful place, and the people were friendly and helpful.

Hotel Douglas Isle of ArranPhoto by Marguerite Our childhood dorky poses

My sister, Eleanor, and I stayed at the Hotel Douglas in Brodick near the ferry terminal. There are a few charming Airbnb’s, b&b’s, and hotels to stay on the island, and you need to book ahead. Our hotel was perfect it’s near the bus station, a few shops and right by the water. Our rooms were spacious, they kept the heaters on all night, and the food was good. It was very central.

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

guide and isle of arranPhotos by Marguerite

 

Eleanor and I were anxious to see the megalithic stones. We thought it would be easy to hop on a bus and go, but we went off season and the schedule was complicated so, we decided to hire a taxi. Our taxi ended being the island guide, a fun, entertaining man wearing a beautiful kilt and a fantastic beard.

We were lucky to have a beautiful and sunny day, and the path to the stones was muddy because it had rained for days. Sheep were grazing in pastures, and the scene was idyllic and so peaceful.

stones isle of arran

Machriemoor view isle of arran

Machrie Moor Isle of arran

Machrie Moore Isle of Arran sisters

 

 

 

 

The first group of stones that we saw are called the Machrie Moor 1. They are on a mound and are about 3/4 feet tall and, in a circular format. We walked around them and then inside the circle and then to each stone. My sister and I sat on the soft grass and stayed there for a while, enjoying all that greatness. A few tourists came by, but most of them just wanted to take a few photos and leave, so we had Machrie Moor 1 to ourselves for some time.

Machrie moore view

Machrie Moor Standing Stones Isle of Arran

Machrie Moore

Eleanor at Isle of Arran

info isle of arran

isle of arran stones

Machrie Moor and Eleanor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After soaking in that magical energy and warm sun, we walked on to Machrie Moor 2. These gorgeous, majestic, beautiful stones were at least ten feet tall. There were a few shorter ones nearby. The standing stones were sparkling and looked so beautiful in that countryside surrounded by hills. A few more tourists came and went, and we could see some more sheep far away. We both felt so good and so lucky to be in this spot and stayed there for a long time. It was hard to leave.

The Lochranza Caste

Below: Photos by Eleanor Beaty, illustration by Marguerite

Lochranzacastleisleofarran

lochranzaisleofarran

Isle of Arran Lochranza

Locharan

 

 

 

 

I am a huge Tintin fan. Well, I used to be and so, I was delighted when our guide took us to Lochranza Castle, the castle on Tintin’s book: The Black Island by Hergé.

We stopped at the famous Sandwich Station where we bought sandwiches and ate them outside of the castle. The Sandwich Station serves a great selection of sourdough bread sandwiches made with bread from the Backwater Bakehouse. The bread had a perfect crunch on the outside, and the inside was lovely and soft. It was such a pleasure to take a break in these beautiful surroundings and to always remember that I had lunch at Tintin’s castle.

We spent the afternoon with our guide, who took us to different parts of the island while telling us some great stories and historical events. We stopped to enjoy gorgeous views from the top of a few hills that I am not sure we would have known how to get there if we were on our own.

Blackwater isle of arran

 

Photo by Marguerite Our dorky childhood poses

We had two special goals for this trip. One was to visit the Machrie Moor Standing Stones, and the other was to go to the Blackwater Bakehouse. You may know about my passion for sourdough bread and that I am continually searching for good bread. The Blackwater Bakehouse is a well-known bakery and loved by fellow sourdough aficionados.

When my sister and I arrived there, it was closed for the day. We were very disappointed but were happy to have tasted their fantastic bread at the Sandwich Station.

Brodick Castle

Broderick Castle isle of arran

 

We woke up early to a gorgeous blue sky and decided to walk to Brodick Castle. It’s a short and beautiful walk by the water.

Broderick Beach isle of arranPhoto by Marguerite

We stopped for the “must-have” photos by the sea, passed by one of the many golf courses on the island, crossed a charming bridge, and went up the hill to the castle. Part of the castle was closed to visitors for some reason, so we spent more time in the gardens, and we loved the view of the lovely bay.

There are many more things to see on this island. The concierge at our hotel suggested we return in the summer. She told us that a short trip to the Holy Isle was a must along with the caves and that there were more restaurants opened during the season.

Please note that this was a pre-pandemic trip. 

Marguerite

More posts:

My Sourdough Adventures by Marguerite

Links for you

The fabulous restaurant: Ubiquitous Chip

Hotel Douglas

More about the Lochranza Castle

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

The Sandwich Station

Blackwater Bakehouse on Facebook

Brodick Castle

The Adventures of Tintin The Black Island by Hergé

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

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