My birthday on the Isle of Arran

I’m crazy about cottages like this one – my ideal home

(If you wish to see Arran on a sunny day then check out my old blogpost:

Many call the Isle of Arran “Scotland in miniature” because you can see a synthesis of this beautiful country. It takes 55 minutes to reach it with the ferry, from Ardrossan harbour. The return tickets of the ferry to Brodick are very cheap, 8 pounds per person. I love Arran because it reminds me of the Scottish Highlands and because of its majestic scenery. By the way, I just found out that Brodick castle appears on the 20 pounds Scottish note! After 24 years of coming to Scotland… Shame on me!

The last time I went to Arran it was Easter and it was sunny and hot. We had a lovely day: we visited the gardens of Brodick Castle, we had lunch at its cafe and then we (almost) reached the top of the Goat Fell. Unfortunately this time the weather decided not to give me its birthday present (the sun!) and it was cloudy and a bit rainy, but it could have been worse!

Thistle – Scotland’s national flower

Once in Brodick unfortunately we didn’t find a bus to go up to Lochranza (we wanted to go to the distillery and our youth hostel was in Lochranza, too), the next one was in an hour and a half! So we called a taxi van: we found the number at the petrol station. We didn’t pay a lot, 30 pounds from Brodick Harbour to Lochranza, half an hour driving (but it was four of us, so we divided the amount). I asked the taxi to leave us at Lochranza distillery and then after our visit we walked to the youth hostel (a 10-minute walk, if you’re interested in the hostel I’ll leave you the link here: We decided to sleep at the youth hostel (we booked just the night before!) because on the internet we didn’t find a lot of choice for the accommodations and of course Arran is full of amazing hotels, like the Auchrannie, but we didn’t want to spend much and we wanted to do a real backpacker experience. Ahah!

Unfortunately we arrived too late at the distillery and the last guided tour had already started, but we managed to sit in the café and do a tasting of four whiskies.

After the whisky tasting, we walked towards the youth hostel, we checked in and then went for a walk. The hostel was very nice, we booked a room with two bunk beds and an ensuite bathroom with a shower (ok, ok, I cheated! It wasn’t a authentic backpacker experience, but come on! It was my birthday after all).

The entrance to the youth hostel, we paid 25 pounds pp for one night (with an ensuite)
The view from our bedroom

During the walk we have seen deers, wild rabbits and sheep… I was so excited! I love animals so much. We explored the surroundings of the hostel and then walked to Lochranza castle, which was quiet and surrounded by sheep. The last ferry leaves Arran at 7.20 pm so only people who were sleeping on the island were left… Uh uh, insiders.

Can you spot it?
The youth hostel seen from the outside.
Lochranza Castle
Mama & her wee baby

After our walk we went back to the hostel to have a shower, I had a video call with my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins who wanted to wish me a happy birthday and then we headed towards dinner, at the Lochranza hotel (a 5-minute walk from the youth hostel).

During this walk I had the best birthday present I could ever desire… We have seen three huge, beautiful deers in the field beside the main road. They were so, so close. Where I come from, Lake Como in Italy, we occasionally see deers but not this big and not this close. It was such a moving and emotional experience for me, especially on my birthday. I always get emotional with wild animals and animals in general and wonder how could you do them any harm. What brings you to lift a rifle, point it towards such a majestic, innocent, pure animal and pull the trigger to kill him? I’ll never understand.

I recommend the Lochranza Hotel if you’re going to Arran, because we ate well and the owner was very nice. We had a nice evening, drank a few pints and then while walking back to the hostel we met deers, wild rabbits and sheep, again. Two beautiful deers were walking on the beach and in the sea… Where else can you observe such a beautiful scene in the world? So poetic.

We went to bed quite early and the next morning we had continental breakfast at the hostel (and we had to wash the dishes…..Ahah! I’m so not used to this when I stay out for a night).

Then we made friends with a beautiful red cat at the cemetery beside Lochranza’s church, while waiting for the bus to Brodick Castle.

I will write another post about our second day: we visited Brodick castle, walked towards Goat Fell (without reaching the top), we have seen Highland cows and then had a pint at the pub.

I hope you enjoyed my post, what do you think? Would you like to visit the Isle of Arran?

Camilla x

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