For Nige’s birthday this year we decided on a long weekend to one of the beautiful islands off the West coast of Scotland, Arran.
From Edinburgh, you can drive to the port in Ardrossan in less than 2 hours, jump on the ferry and an hour later arrive in Brodick on Arran. On a good day I think it would even be worth the day trip, but we arrived on Saturday lunchtime and spent a couple of days exploring all the island has to offer.
When booking our trip I found this little gem and quickly got in touch with Gregor to see if they had availability. We were in luck and we reserved the Saturday night at this incredible B&B, usually a minimum 2 night stay, but they were fully booked on the Sunday. Book ahead if you’re keen!
On arrival to Ferghan Mhor we were welcomed by our lovely hosts Gregor and Ruth and shown to our bedroom, stocked with all the teas you could possibly imagine and a fridge with soy milk and homemade cake! The view from the room looks out onto the little rocky bay of Sannox and we were even given a pair of binoculars for bird and seal spotting. We sat down with our hot tea and cake and planned the afternoon activity, a hike up Goatfell from nearby village, Corrie.
A little sunburnt but glowing, we were back from our hike and getting ready for the evening. I’d booked Crofters in Brodick for dinner, on recommendation from our B&B hosts, as there was also live music on, so we hopped in the car and drove back to where the ferry had dropped us earlier. Nige and I both enjoyed the veggie/vegan burger and chips as well as sampling some of the island’s own gin, while listening to a Glasgow music duo play some toe-tapping cover songs. A perfect first day.
We woke to more blue skies and excited for a homemade breakfast, teased by incredible photos of cooked breakfasts and pancake stacks on the B&B Instagram page! We’d put our order in the night before so we knew what was in store and as we made our way downstairs to the conservatory come breakfast room were greeted by delicious smells coming from the kitchen. I enjoyed the full vegan breakfast, complete with scrambled tofu, tomatoes, kale, potato scone and homemade haggis, while Nige devoured at least ten of the fluffiest homemade pancakes with fresh berries and syrup! What a treat and the best way to start our Sunday!
Sunday wanderings on Arran
Our plan for the day was to make our way around the island in an anti-clockwise direction towards Lamlash, where we were staying that night, hopping out at different spots if there was a nice beach or something to see –
Lochranza, for a walk around the castle ruins
A beach near Imachar, for some seal spotting, pebble-skimming and rock pool pottering
The Old Byre showroom and Cafe Thyme near Machrie Bay, for a cuppa and some shopping
Machrie Moor standing stones, a little underwhelming considering the reviews but a nice picnic spot with views to Goatfell
King’s Caves, a 5km forest trail loop with dramatic coastline views and exploring Robert the Bruce’s spider caves
After a day of exploring we drove to Lamlash, via Brodick, and checked in to our second B&B, Alice’s Wonderland – a vegetarian/vegan bed and breakfast in Alice’s home. Alice is a lovely lady who cares about the environment and tries to reduce plastic waste, providing guests with plastic-free toiletries and serving up a plant-based cooked breakfast in the morning.
We walked through the town of Lamlash, that looks out onto Holy Isle, for our evening meal, and popped into the Pierhead Tavern or PHT bar. Lucky for us they had a vegan roast on the menu, so Nige sampled that while I tried the soup with a side of vegetarian haggis bonbons, delish!
After breakfast at Alice’s, we said our goodbyes and headed south to complete the full circle of the island and get to where we’d stopped our tour on Sunday. It was Nige’s birthday, so we stopped for coffee and cake (brought from home) in Whiting Bay, where we found an incredible little cafe/bakery/grocery/everything you’d ever need shop, The Bay Kitchen and Stores.
After birthday cake on the beach, we drove to Kildonan on the Southern most point, and walked along the Silver Sands, looking up to the (barely there) castle. Completing our circuit, we drove back to Brodick, where with our National Trust membership we explored Brodick Castle and Gardens, well worth the trip for a few hours walking around the beautifully maintained gardens and nosing around the old castle interior, full of history.
I think we squeezed as much out of Arran in our few days as we could, enjoying the good weather, walking, exploring and being treated to some great food! If you’re visiting the island I would highly recommend seeing if Ferghan Mhor has space for you, vegan or not you’ll be treated by the most accommodating hosts to the best food! If the weather is as kind as we enjoyed, make your way to the summit of Goatfell for spectacular views and spend time just pottering over the pebble beaches, watching out for lazy seals basking on the hot rocks. Just promise me you’ll visit to this beautiful island. Thank you Arran.