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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Cock of Arran Coastal Walk

Nigel and I took these photos as we walked this classic route on February 28th. We saw two porpoises in the sea near Laggan cottage, plenty of otter droppings and two large deer skeletons.

We prefer to walk this circular route anti-clockwise, avoiding a steep ascent after Laggan cottage.

The route begins on the Narachan track above the campsite. Before you reach the cottages of Narachan a signpost directs you along a clear gently-ascending track.

At the highest point of the track, a vista of the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Ayrshire coast opens up. Descend the track above the ruins of Cock Farm to Laggan Cottage. Before the 20th century more than a hundred people lived, fished and farmed in this area. Look out for evidence of small-scale coal mining and salt panning  industries along the shore.

From Laggan, head left or north-west along the coastal path which is rugged and boggy in places but sheltered when westerly winds are blowing. In about half a mile you reach a little harbour and it is here that the tracks of a giant millipede which existed around 300 million years ago be seen on the rocks.

Further on you reach Ossian’s Cave. It’s possible to wriggle inside and find old sailors’ carvings on the walls.


Red sandstone


Sheltering from a hail shower under the Cock of Arran.

Just before the white cottage and boatshed at Fairy Dell you come to An Scriodan-  a short section of easy scrambling. Faded yellow dots guide you along the best line. You can avoid the scramble altogether if you arrive at this point at low tide.

 At Fairy Dell you can either head uphill to join the North Newton track, or follow the coast, which is full of geological interest, back to Lochranza.

Length: 8 miles
Time:  4 hours
Verdict: Constantly-changing views, varied terrain, wildlife and marine life, history, rocks- this walk is never the same twice.

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