As a keen hill walker and wild camper, the more cultivated and busier south end of the Isle of Arran never appealed to me as much as the north end of the island, but for a change of scenery Sarah and I decided on a 10 mile linear walk from Whiting Bay to Brodick via some very lovely forestry tracks and part of the Arran Coastal Way.
As with every trip to Arran, we began at the ferry terminal in Ardrossan for the 0945 sailing to Brodick. We enjoyed this pleasant crossing and boarded the 323 bus from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot via the south of the island. Our walk began in the village of Whiting Bay, south of Lamlash on Arran’s eastern coast. We left the bus and followed the track towards Glenashdale Falls and into some very pleasant woodlands.
Soon after leaving the village, we approached a clearing in the path and caught a fantastic view of Glenashdale Falls. Stopping for a while to enjoy the view, we carried on to join a cycle path that crosses the island from Kilmory to Lamlash.
The cycle path provided easy walking and we made excellent progress towards Lamlash, stopping often to admire the views across the Firth of Clyde to Ayrshire. Despite a crystal clear day, which would have been perfect for exploring some of the larger hills on the island, we were glad to be following a relatively low level track as it was a shock to the system walking in such warm weather! We carried on and began the slow and fairly easy descent to Lamlash, where the forestry track meets the car park at Dyemill. We joined the A841 and followed this into the village of Lamlash where we enjoyed lunch overlooking the beautiful Holy Isle.
After a decent lunch stop, we were on our way once more through the village and on towards Brodick.
There are a number of facilities to make use of in Lamlash, including a small supermarket and several cafes and restaurants, but we had plenty of supplies with us so didn’t have to bother. We continued along the A841 and turned left with it to follow a path over the hill to Brodick. The path follows the road, but is a small distance away and is separated by a fence. This is definitely a good thing as the stretch of road from Brodick to Lamlash is arguably the busiest on the island.
The uphill section was not too strenuous and we soon found ourselves at the top of the hill at a small car park with a viewpoint to Arran’s northern hills. We stopped again to admire this fantastic panorama before setting off towards the Fairy Glen and Brodick.
We began our descent into the wonderfully named Fairy Glen where the path provided us with more easy walking. After intermittent wooded and open sections, we soon reached the top of the track that passes between two fields that would take us down into the centre of Brodick.
We reached the village of Brodick and walked along the lovely promenade towards the ferry terminal and stopped frequently to look back at the wonderful views across Brodick Bay towards Goatfell and Brodick castle. After a short detour to the chip shop next to the terminal building (it’s impossible to visit the island and not stop for chips it seems…!), we sat inside to avoid what was now almost unbearably warm weather and waited for the ferry back to Ardrossan. We were almost an hour early for the ferry and missed the smaller boat by around 10 minutes, so we boarded the 1640 boat back to Ardrossan to meet the car.
This was a very pleasant and easy linear walk and well worth doing to stretch the legs and enjoy some very picturesque views of parts of the island that I don’t explore very often. It has definitely given me some inspiration to spend some more time exploring the hidden gems that lie all over the south of the Isle of Arran.
A word to anyone visiting the Isle of Arran – please note that the public toilets around the island (of which there were several) have now been closed to due funding cuts by the local council. This terrible disappointment means visitors will now need to use the facilities in hotels and restaurants around the island rather than the public toilets that were in very convenient locations around Arran. Whilst perhaps good for local businesses as visitors are more likely to purchase something in order to use the bathroom facilities, it’s still a shame that such convenience has been removed to save what is most likely pocket change for the local council.