Checklist: Arran Island, Scotland

Travel Galleries Checklist
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Checklist: Arran Island, Scotland

It’s not often you get to circumambulate anything, much less an entire land mass. But a few hours from Glasgow, a 65-mile trail encircling the Isle of Arran allows visitors to walk all the way around what is often called “Scotland in miniature,” tromping up misty green mountains, down cliff-lined beaches, past heathery moors and sheep-dotted meadows, and through every other typically Scottish landscape imaginable. And in the summertime, the island’s crisp breezes and abundant bodies of cool water are the stuff of a sweaty American’s fever dream.

The Arran Coastal Way, originally conceived in 2003 and likely to enter the pantheon of Scotland’s Great Trails later this year, can be hiked in the space of a week by hardy backpackers. Contingency planning is easy here: if the weather goes sour—and it inevitably will at least once during your stay—tents can be traded for cozy beds in any of the 12 villages the trail intercepts, and a bus system connects many parts of the island (search the SPT website for the latest schedules).

Getting to Arran is a snap: from Glasgow’s airport, a combination of bus, train, and ferry brings visitors to Arran’s main port of Brodick in around three hours. (Allow an additional hour if you’re flying into Edinburgh). Best of all, with the British pound at record lows, there’s no better time to visit the region than right now.

Keren Landman is a freelance journalist and global health specialist based in Atlanta, Georgia.