Arran Coastal Way

  • Houses on the seafront, Lamlash
Distance (km) Ascent (metres) Number of days
107 390 6-8
Start: Brodick Finish: Brodick
Linked to other Scotland’s Great Trail(s):
Ayrshire Coastal Path Kintyre Way
Online map

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Arran Coastal Way (3rd ed)

J Megarry | Rucksack Readers - 2021


Route type and direction

A circuit, generally started in Brodick, where the ferry from the mainland docks. The recommended direction is anticlockwise, for better sea views when walking on the right side of the road.


The Arran Coastal Way offers a challenging and rewarding circuit around this beautiful island, famous as ‘Scotland in miniature’ because it displays much of Scotland’s landscapes, wildlife and culture. The route takes you around the coastal fringe of Arran’s mountainous north, and down its western flank to the sandy beaches, rocky shores and gentler landscapes of the south. The east coast offers forest and woodland walking and passes Iron Age hill forts and burial cairns. Attractive villages offer a wide choice of accommodation, the local food for which Arran is famous and a warm welcome from the Arranachs (locals).


  • spectacular and varied scenery
  • wildlife including otters, seals and seabirds, and possibly eagles, minke whale, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks
  • twelve lovely villages offering a range of accommodation
  • Brodick Castle, Lochranza Castle and Lochranza Distillery
  • opportunity for detours to take in Goat Fell (874 m/2867 ft) or boulder scrambling around Dippin Head
  • Hutton’s Unconformity, the first observed by the famous geologist (1787), leading him to realise that the earth was unimaginably older than the Biblical timescale allowed

Be aware

  • Bennan Head and part of the route between Kingscross and Lamlash are impassable at high tide: check before you set out.
  • the terrain is challenging in places with wet sections and boulder fields: take care on slippery rock, or use an alternative route

The challenge

Many sections of the Arran Coastal Way have been upgraded in recent years but the route still demands a reasonable level of fitness for full enjoyment. Although the walking is mainly low-level, there are some rugged sections where slow going is the norm. It is easy to underestimate this route. Whilst the Drumadoon and An Scriodan sections have been made easier by path improvements through the boulder fields, the scramble around Bennan Head and over the boulders can be difficult in wet weather. This equally applies to the alternative route waymarked around Dippin Head. The route can also be enjoyed in shorter sections, with plenty of side-trips and other attractions, as part of a holiday on the island.


Arran is blessed with plentiful accommodation options including hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast, bunk houses, a youth hostel and campsites. Details can be found here.

Wild camping is legally allowed in Scotland if practised responsibly under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Support services

Public transport

Calmac runs the ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick, which takes 55 minutes, so Arran is only 2 hours from the heart of Glasgow (45 minutes by train from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan plus 55 minutes by ferry). Calmac also operates a service from Kintyre to Lochranza (from Claonaig in summer and from Tarbert in winter) . Full ferry timetable details are available here. The island’s good bus service makes it possible to plan transport at the start and end of each day’s walking.

For details, visit Traveline Scotland, or, for the entire UK, Traveline. For travel from anywhere to anywhere, try Rome2Rio.

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