For an island so small there is a surprising amount of things to do in Arran. When I say small, I mean small compared to the mainland, it’s a lot bigger than many of its neighbouring islands but still has the relaxed and slow paced vibe going on that I love. With a population of only 5000 it’s a close knit community, locals are friendly and no one is in a hurry - ever. Every time I think of Arran it puts a smile on my face.
The Isle of Arran is my favourite island so far. It feels less remote than islands further up north although it isn’t any busier. I’m guessing it feels like that because of the Highland boundary line which passes through its centre. The south of the island is green and plush with forest and flowers and cute little settlements whereas the north is very much like the Highlands of Scotland, dramatic, wild and breathtakingly beautiful.
I’ve rounded up a list of things to do in Arran, from mountains and castles to forests and beaches. I encourage you though to use it as a rough guide and instead land on the island, take a deep breath and feel the stress melt away as you reset your body clock to “island time”. Go without a firm plan and see where the road takes you....
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How to catch the Oban to Mull ferry and everything you need to know when you get there
The beautiful Isle of Mull lies just off the west coast of Scotland and is the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides. It's easy to fall in love with this island, you only need to get on the Oban to Mull ferry and gaze at the jagged peaks of the mountains of Mull to fall head over heels. The friendly locals, the delicious food and the whole relaxed and peaceful vibe will have you returning as often as possible.
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In this article you will discover
-How to get to Oban
- All about the Oban ferry terminal
- How to catch the ferry to Mull
- Mull accommodation
- Mull restaurants and cafes
- Things to do on the Isle of Mull
The Isle of Skye is probably Scotland's most popular island and for good reason, it's a stunningly beautiful island with a long and fascinating history. The largest island in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, has a romantic and mystical reputation too with fairies and giants believed to be roaming the hills and glens. The famous Skye Boat Song, which tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's escape to Skye after the Battle of Culloden, help to invoke a longing in travelers from every corner of the world. It's an island at the very top of many Scottish bucket lists but what exactly do you do when you get there? Read on to discover my top things to do in Skye and find out why this stunningly beautiful island is so magical and why you should visit.
The Cuillin Mountain Range
The Black Cuillins consist of 11 munros (mountains over 3000 feet) and 16 other summits. Not for the faint hearted these mighty hills should only be attempted by the experienced or under the guidance of a qualified instructor. In the centre of the island, they are a spectacular sight being both dark and dramatically shaped with sharp peaks and steep drops. If mountain climbing is your thing this range will test you and give you a thrill like no other (I'm told, as I wouldn't dream of it!)
The Red Cuillins on the other hand are far gentler and therefore far more popular. Whereas The Black Cuillins is an alpine mountain range and not suitable for hill walking the Red Cuillins can be hiked if you know what your doing. I highly recommend hiring a local guide who will make sure you have a fantastic day and will keep you safe in the hills.
Day two of our trip to Arran, off the west coast of Scotland, began early the next morning, just before the soft amber haze of the rising sun. We were keen to get outside to the lake to watch the sunrise before breakfast. Complete silence greeted us, the long grass blades tipped with frost and the water still except for the swans, gracefully gliding along. That magical golden hour as the sun is rising over the horizon is a photographers dream and we spent a while taking photographs as the orangy light of dawn cast a glow over the surrounding fields and cottages.
With numb toes and icy fingers we headed indoor to the cosy dining room where we were served a delicious breakfast of hot traditional porridge, fruit and hot croissants, followed by a full Scottish breakfast which was more than enough but very tasty all the same and eliminated any need for lunch.
Even though there was a still a slight chill in the air the sun was out and we drove down the west coast of Arran. We stayed overnight at Lochside Arran, a B+B near Blackfootwater and it didn’t take much driving before the dramatic, rough landscape of the north transformed into rolling lush green fields reminiscent of the beautiful Scottish Borders. Quirky little villages with white stonewashed cottages, handmade signs letting visitors know they have eggs for sale, colourful fishing boats sitting idly in the gardens waiting for warmer weather.
I am beginning to enjoy the relaxed pace of island life. The more I visit the more I want to visit more! As cliche as it sounds something shifts in my mind when I get off the ferry. The stress lifts, the mind declutters and you feel peaceful and chilled out. At least I do. Every time. I’ve just returned from two days on the isle of Arran and could quite happily just drive right on back, what a wee beauty!
It was still dark as I drove to the train station to pick up Kay and we headed sleepily towards Glasgow hoping with our fingers crossed that we would miss the morning rush. We did indeed and were rewarded with a pretty fantastic sunrise as we arrived in Ardrossan to catch the ferry.