The internet suggests there are up to 5,000 islands around Great Britain, although the exact number seems to be hard to be sure of and there are certainly plenty of these I have never heard of, let alone visited. Another source gave a figure of 82 islands that measure more than 5 sq km. This is still a higher number than I might have guessed at and one that made me ashamed of how few of our islands I have taken the trouble to get to. It was time to visit an island and an autumn trip to Arran, off the south-west coast of Scotland was planned.
Goodness knows why I have never been before as we found so much that delighted us on Arran. The craggy mountains around Goat Fell are perfect walking country; Glen Sannox is simply stunning; the stone circles at Machrie Moor are impressive and fascinating; the coastline near Blackwaterfoot and the walk through boulders to the basalt cliffs of The Doon is stunning and the sheltered bay at Lochranza is picture perfect. I loved pretty much everything about the island.
Thanks to the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) on Scottish ferries, getting to Arran is now more affordable and it was just over £45 return for our 5.4 metre long campervan. We needed to have a frugal holiday due to our expensive year but also like to support campsites and so we stayed on three of the islands campsites [see below] and did a few nights wild camping too. Wild camping is popular on Arran and some places can get busy at weekends as Arran is a perfect place to visit in a campervan.
We didn’t visit any tea shops, although I am told they are excellent, but we did support the Arran economy and bought excellent local cheese in the cheese shop, local beer at the brewery, good local oatcakes and delicious local bread in the Blackwaterfoot Bakery. These all went very well together and didn’t last long.
Arran was a great start to my plan to visit more of the islands around Great Britain. The big question is where to go to next?
Campsites we used on Arran
Lochranza Campsite – a beautifully situated site that is well kept. The site is grassy with some hard-standing pitches if it is wet and there are open views.
Seal Shore Camping – this site at Kildonan has lovely views out to sea and clean facilities. The site is sloping but while we were there they were building some more level pitches. The site is next door to a bar.
Middleton’s Caravan and Camping Park – This level grassy site at Lamlash is handy for the shops, places to eat and shoreline in Lamlash. The facilities are clean and it has good hot showers.