My birthday on the Isle of Arran

I live for cottages like this – my ideal home

(If you wish to see Arran on a sunny day then check out my old blogpost: https://camyinwonderworld.blog/2019/04/23/easter-in-arran-brodick-castle-goat-fell/)

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 tickets of the ferry to Brodick are very cheap, 8pounds 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, my boyfriend and I went with my friend Cate, who came to visit us from Switzerland. 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 a hour and a half! So we called a taxi van: we found the number at the petrol station. We didn’t pay a lot, 30pounds from Brodick Harbour to Lochranza, half an hour driving (but it was the 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 (15 minutes, if you’re interested in the hostel I’ll leave you the link beside https://www.hostellingscotland.org.uk/hostels/lochranza/). 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 too 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 cafè and do a tasting of four whiskies (I don’t like whisky, but can you go to a Scottish distillery and not try one? No.)

After our whisky tasting we walked towards the youth hostel, we checked in and then went for a walk (only three of us because one of my friends wasn’t feeling well). The hostel was very nice and clean, we booked a bedroom with two bunk beds and an ensuite bathroom with a shower (ok, ok, I cheated! It wasn’t a 100% backpacker experience, but come on! It was my birthday).

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 7.20pm so only people who were sleeping on the island were left… Uh uh, insiders.

Can you spot her?
The youth hostel seen from beside: we were on a walk, our friend who stayed in the room because she wasn’t feeling well said she had seen us walking by! Yes, our room had a lovely view
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 who wanted to wish me happy birthday and then we headed towards dinner, at the Lochranza hotel (10 minutes walking 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 near. Where I come from, Lake Como in Italy, we occasionally see deers but not this big and not this near, not at all. 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 can you do them any bad. What brings you to lift a rifle, point it towards such a majestic animal and kill him?

I really 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 day 2: 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?

xx

Cam

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