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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Views of Arran


Nigel and I have often discussed which way is best for tours round the island. If you travel clockwise, that is, you turn left out of the ferry terminal towards Lamlash and the South End, an advantage is that you will be driving/ cycling* on the left all the way round and you will have an uninterrupted sea view. Given that otters and seals can often be spotted from the island’s perimeter road this is a good decision. The best stretches to glimpse marine creatures are from Dougarie to Lochranza on the west coast (I’ve seen basking sharks several times along here) and Sannox to Brodick on the east coast. Remember not to stop too suddenly when you see a seal- there may be someone behind you!

Both ways it’s 55 miles round Arran and best to allow a good few hours to do it. Travelling anti-clockwise is going widdershins but you have to encircle the island nine times before the fairies whisk you away. I recommend journeying widdershins up the east coast from Whiting Bay on a clear day to see Arran’s can-I-believe-what-I’m-seeing mountainscapes at their glorious best. Wonderful clockwise panoramas are the sweep of Machrie Bay with Beinn Bharrain behind and, close to home, the view into Lochranza as you travel from Catacol with the loch, the castle and the soaring Sleeping Warrior mountain range.

Whichever way you travel, remember that the east coast enjoys the rising sun and the west coast the setting sun, but also that, on a shady east coast in the evening, you can admire a golden Ayrshire coast, and from the west coast in the morning you can pick out every detail on Kintyre. The midsummer setting sun shines directly onto the Campsite.

The String and the Ross are the two cross-the-island roads. The String is a good road; the Ross more of a track. On both roads, for views, head west to east, Atlantic to Firth of Clyde, for lovely views of Holy Island and Ayrshire.

For more stunning views, it’s worth detouring to Kildonan to look out to Pladda and Ailsa Craig. Pause at Glen Sannox to gaze into this most dramatic of mountain glens and drive/ cycle pretty slowly between Pirnmill and Catacol because you’ll find you’re having a roller-coaster ride and it’s best to take your eyes OFF the scenery.

* The island bus service tours round the island in both directions.

No view for Sherie and the Old Man of Tarsuinn

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