Spending a whole semester trapped in the marvelling environs of Glasgow often gets quite intense and can lead to dreams of being on the other side of the world. Sadly, as students, this is and will probably always be a dream for us. However, this lust for travel can be quelled on the stunning Isle of Arran.
Accessing the Isle of Arran is relatively simple and hassle-free, with open return tickets being budget-friendly, costing around £15 for the train from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour and then a quick ferry ride over to Brodick, the main town of the island. As well as being cheerfully cheap, the journey is remarkably short taking just 2 hours in total to get away from the metropolitan thump of Glasgow and escape to the tranquil, picturesque settings of Arran.
In regards to where to stay on Arran, Brodick, situated on the east of the Island, is probably the best choice. Sadly however, the cost of accommodation can be quite expensive for students, especially during the winter months when camping is not a viable option. B&B’s can be booked around the island from approximately £35 per person, which may seem a little pricey but rooms are cosy, quaint and very well maintained.
Youth Hostels are also another popular option, with the Lochranza Youth Hostel being a sound choice which was also voted one of the 10 greenest hostels in the UK. When the weather begins to improve, camping is a fantastic way to save money and also offers a unique opportunity to take in the wild landscapes of the island.
In terms of things to do, the Heritage Museum is a quick walk away from Brodick and offers an interesting look at the history of the island for a very reasonable price (£2). The Fisherman’s walk from Brodick town centre up to the Brodick Castle is a must - take in spectacular views of the Clyde along the beach and Brodick Golf Course. Whilst on the walk, the Goatfell will be looming over you; standing at 874 metres high, it is the island’s highest mountain and offers an easily accessible climb for both experienced and novice walkers. Along the route, there are many places to take some time-out and enjoy your lunch whilst overlooking the mesmerising vista of Arran and its surrounding areas.
Goatfell is best reached by walking up to the Castle and going from there. However, if hillwalking is not your idea of fun then the Castle and the splendid country park are perfect alternatives. Again, all of this can be enjoyed free of charge.
Another great way to see the island is by bike, and by cycling the various roads intersecting through the heart of the island you are able to experience its true beauty up close and personal. Although probably not possible to do all in one day, sections of the route such as Lamlash to Blackwaterfoot are well worth doing. Once you arrive at Blackwaterfoot, a picnic by the harbour with views of the Mull of Kintyre are not to be sniffed at.
If time is not on your side then a day trip to Arran is very much possible and doesn’t do your bank balance too much damage, whilst still giving you the opportunity to be out of the city and in the glorious Scottish countryside. The Isle of Arran is very much a gem along the Scottish west coast that has simply got to be visited.