Things To See And Do
The Isle of Arran, known as 'Scotland in Miniature', is one of the most southerly Scottish islands. Like a condensed version of the rest of Scotland, it has mountains and lochs in the north, and rolling hills and meadows in the south, surrounded by a stunning coastline.
It has a distillery, castles, a brewery, museums, outdoor activities, high quality local crafts and locally produced food that's fast gaining an international reputation.
There are few places where you can make your own soap in the morning before an afternoons paragliding, or where you can explore the standing stones on Machrie Moor one day and enjoy a reiki session the next.
Arran's history dates so far back that it becomes tangled up in Celtic myths and legends of Scotland's past. From the strange standing stones on Machrie Moor to the chequered history of Brodick Castle to the very cave where Robert the Bruce was supposed to have encountered the spider.
The Isle of Cumbrae Along with Arran and Bute,the Isle of Cumbrae became part of Scotland in 1263. Alexander the Third defeated the Norse King Haco at the Battle of Largs. Centuries of feuding over these islands ended three years later at the Treaty of Perth. Later in 1539 the island was divided into a number of small baronies whose names survive to the present day. Kames was a small village. Brechoch (Breakough today) and Penmachrie were baronies whereas Balloch, Portrye and Figgitoch were holdings from the Crown. Balleykellet (Ballykillet farm today) was the largest.
The Cathedral of the Isles, built in 1851 is the smallest cathedral in Europe and is an early work of William Butterfield. The Cathedral's founder and benefactor was George Frederick Boyle, later the 6th Earl of Glasgow. The Cathedral is open daily and visitors are welcome to sample its Victorian Gothic style and the beauty of the wild flower detail.
|The island is extremely rich in bird species. The shore road provides easy viewing of shore and sea birds, with small terrestrial birds in the shrub vegetation of the raised beaches. In winter a seal colony resides in Millport Bay with summer sightings common, although less frequent. Plentiful numbers of smaller animals are in evidence including rabbits (some black), ferret/polecats, hedgehogs, voles, slow worms, lizards and newts. Wild flowers and ferns abound, but the island is particular haven for marsh and moor land species. At least 9 species of orchids can be found.
Cumbrae is a paradise for cyclists. The 10.25 mile circumference provides breathtaking scenery from quiet winding roads and the more hilly inner route provides the more adventurous with stunning panoramas over the firth. There are several shops in Millport where all types of cycle can be rented for all ages.
For the walker, Cumbrae offers many scenic routes, of varying difficulty.
For information on adventure activities in Ayrshire & Arran see the VisitScotland Active website.