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Arran Circular (clockwise) Cycle Route

Scotland > Arran > Brodick
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Cycle Route Details
Route NameArran Circular (clockwise)
Distance : miles (km)54.87  (88.30)
Posted ByJordan
Calories Burned kcal
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Cycle Route Location
Start LocationBrodick
End LocationBrodick
Cycle Steps
Fairly taxing route around Arran but great for a day out. Best to park your car in Ardrossan and catch the Ferry over to Brodick.
Travelling clockwise involves plenty of steep climbs but an easy last 10 miles of downhill and flat. Keep in mind the last Ferry to Ardrossan in summer leaves at 7pm.
Your comments?
posted by:michael mowbrayRating : difficult :
At 60 years old I found it quite hard going but it is a great day out. Done it twice this year , my time for complete circuit is six and a half hours, like to hear from anyone
how long it takes to compare my time.

posted by:GrahamRating : difficult :
Cycled Arran circular on day 1 of a 4 day islands cycle and it took a friend and I about 6 hours to complete.

Going clockwise from Brodick, the first 20 miles or so is pretty tough with some steep climbs, then it flattens out for almost 20 miles up to Lochranza which is a fantastic cycling route.

Just after Lochranza there's another real climb and it comes when you've probably had enough, but stick with it as it's followed by the remainder of the route through scenic villages and downhill or flat sections.

It's a route that will test you at times, but once complete gives a great sense of achievement.

I'd recommend it to any touring cyclist or person who enjoys a tough challenge.

posted by:SolwebRating : difficult :
I just completed the route last week and agree it's pretty hard going.
Came off the ferry and went clockwise as the first 20 miles or so are fairly hilly but it's best to get that out of the way first as the next 20 to Lochranza are excellent and pretty flat, so you'll make good timing on this section.

After Lochranza there is a very steep hill that seems to go on for ages, but then the last 10 miles back to Brodick are all flat and you cycle through some charming villages.

Overall, very testing but very rewarding and highly recommended.

posted by:Sc0TTyRating : difficult :
First 0-2 miles = flat/easy. Then comes the biggin. You have to go up a huge mountain, when you see it, you literally want to go back.

There's three different tiers to it so don't go up and think its done! However, after this, you go back down which is AMAZING.

The next 15-20 miles is pretty much flat and downhill... going through the edges. Beautiful scenery. The last 25-30 miles are quite intense.

Never think the hills are over. You go over 1, theres another one waiting for you round the corner... if not right next to it. The last 30 miles are quite challenging and you need to be in the state for it.

Don't expect to conquer it if you arent used to cycling.

Although, you feel really good after doing it. The weather helps for sure

posted by:Douglas BeattieRating : difficult :
Cycled around Arran today, really good fun, worth the hard work!!

I got the train from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour. (Took my bike on train) Then Hoped over on the Ferry with my bike. Bikes are free to go on and it cost me £9.50 5 day open return.

Went clockwise from Brodick towards Lamlash and Whiting Bay. This first 20 miles is very much up and down, a bit of a switchback style. It is quite hilly this first bit all the way to Blackwaterfoot, where i made my first good stop (1/2hr) for some lunch.

Then on going on from Blackwater Foot to Lochranza is almost all flat, relatively easy and a really nice part of the route!! (on the west side). Eventually came into Lochranza after Pirnmill, which is smaller than I thought.

Then came a hard bit....a longish climb up hill out of Lochranza that goes on for a bit. (maybe 3 or 4 miles just up hill!!). Keep plugging away, take a break or two, use really low gears!! Then eventually its all down hill to Sannox and back to Brodick!!

It would be nicer to take several days to do the route and explore Arran a bit more. I hear there is some good MTB routes inland just pass Lamlash!! Nice to do more at lesuire or maybe even take the Ferry ove to Clonaig.

It took me about 5 and half hours to do with a good half hour break for lunch and a few couple of minute stops here and there for some photos

posted by:AdamRating : difficult :
Great day out. Having done the North circular (43 odd miles) by turning right off the ferry and coming back over the link road on a previous occasion, this time I did the full circular turning left which I'd recommend especially if there is some south in the wind which will be behind you on the more exposed western side of the island.

My time in the saddle was 4hr 15 mins with about 20 minute breaks at Blackwaterfoot (17 odd miles in) and Lochranza (40 odd miles in). Thoroughly recommend this ride. Caught the 0945 ferry from Ardrossan and was back at Brodick for the 1640 return. I hid an old pair of trainers behind the tourist info to avoid wearing my road shoes on the ferry and carrying them.

posted by:geraldineRating : difficult :
I cycled round Arran clockwise last Saturday by myself. I really enjoyed it but found it extremely challenging-I nearly gave up at the hills round Lochranza . It took me 8 hours but I wasnt rushing round and the wind was really strong and against me most of the way.

posted by:Alan NicholsonRating : difficult :
My father and I do this route annually, I usually do a few solo trips as well. Its a great day and agree with other comments its challenging. We manage to complete it in around 5hrs.

Majority of hills are to the south so hit them first. We normally stop for lunch at Lochranza hotel to recharge before hitting the big hill in the North.

Top tips - Watch your descent into Lagg, its easy to pick up good speed before a sudden and steep drop immediately followed by a tight turn.

If there is a strong wind your always better to cycle clockwise - the most exposed section is the west coast and you don’t want to be caught with the wind in your face here.

Keep your eyes on the road. Arran has wonderful scenery and very little traffic but in some sections the state of the road is awful. If your on a road bike there are pot holes all over the place.

Most reasonable cyclists will be able to exceed 40mph on the decent off the hill from Lochranza but the road surface changes at the bottom, from smooth tarmac to an old asphalt that is loose and worn. Requires 100% concentration to navigate at speed !!


posted by:Neil TRating : difficult :
Done this for a charity event in June as part of the Anual Bike 'n' Hike which involves the 55 mile cycle around the Island then climb Goat Fell right after..

The Cycle is great but put a bit of training in first as is is quite challenging on the legs. I managed the Cycle in 3hrs 22mins which I was more than chuffed with beating last years time by 38mins..

Goat Fell took 2hrs 35mins and after doing both I was ready for a Pint ;-)

I try and do the cycle a couple of times a year now..

posted by:Alex HamiltonRating : difficult :
whats best way to do this route.? clockwisw or anti clock- wise?

doing end feb for vanessa riddle appeal

posted by:lexjahRating : difficult :
Done this on sunday 26/2/12- Clockwise from harbour at brodick... Im not a very experienced, only took it up again last year, and at 37, aint the fittest either but my time was 6hrs, and the weather was on my side.
First 20 miles pretty flat, with a few hills, after Blackwaterfoot, a pleasant flat run for about 18 miles, then yes after Lochranza, a steep and sore hill that will test you. Worse if you go anti clockwise as the run down the otherside was the highlight for me.. lol.
last 10-12 miles, yes flat with a run through some nice villages.

posted by:John WharrieRating : difficult :
Done this route on 31/3/12 with my mate, the road around to Blackwaterfoot has many testing hills, after this you have a couple of climbs then a long stretch at sea level with one climb before you reach Lochranza, then comes the big one 650 feet climb over the next 2 and a half miles, after this you get a long run down towards Sannox, which was really good as the road surface has been renewed and you can get a really good speed without worrying about potholes, after Sannox you get an easy run mainly at sea level back to Brodick. Our time on the road was 4 1/2 hours which we were really happy with as this was our first time doing this course.

posted by:Charles MacQueenRating : difficult :
Took part in a cycle organised by wifes work. Unfortunately did not complete the route due to time constraints (last ferry off island) and more likely due to having a mountain bike. However I did manage to get to Pirnmill which is more than halfway.
I thoroughly enjoyed the route and it was challenging in places but I intend to return and complete later on this year.

posted by:jim reidRating : difficult :
done this on 15/9/12 took train to Ardrossan ( 08.45) and ferry to Brodick. arrived 10.40........started in clockwise direction at 11.00am . first 20 miles up and down hills , first time ever doing this mileage and with mountain bike ....don"t be put off with some of comments doing it with mountain bike but a lot lot tougher.....first break at Blackwaterfoot....15 minutes and next stop at Lochranza ....15 minutes were I discovered how to us my gears properly ( had been cycling in low gears from start). ....left lochranza at 15.30 and next 2 miles uphill.....hard going.....but once over the top it was downhill all the way,,,great road surface and picked up speeds of about 30/40 mph ,,,,,,last 7 miles back to Brodick... bad road surface but made it back to get the 16.40 ferry by seconds yes seconds ....last person on boat.....all in all great days cycling and if used gears properly from start would have done it approx 30 minutes quicker. will go back and try it again next year with road bike......age 55.....good fitness level.......tough in stages and not a lot of traffic on road..which was good. ......

posted by:gerald davidsonRating : difficult :
went clockwise from blackwaterfoot Oct 2012 returning to same. 5hrs 34min cycle time, around 6hrs to do trip. a lovely ride in good weather. Steepish and long out of lochranza but the run down the other side one of those unforgettable moments. 57 year old with a cheapish trek road bike, if I can do it so can you! a beautiful island and a great way to see it.

posted by:Geoff SRating : difficult :
I'm a weekend cycler who cycles purely to keep fit, so this was a step up for me. We went clockwise from Brodick and after 24 miles of challenging hill climbs (and two punctures) we arrived at Blackwaterfoot for a break at the Kinloch Hotel. Then 18 miles of great FLAT shoreline cycling got us to Lochranza for lunch. The last 14 miles consisted of a pretty challenging 3-4 mile hill climb right after Lochranza followed by a fantastic downhill section and onto a flat shoreline cycle back to Brodick. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic 6h 15m ride despite some quite difficult hills. Weather great.

posted by:Geoff SRating : difficult :
I'm a weekend cycler who cycles purely to keep fit, so this was a step up for me. We went clockwise from Brodick and after 24 miles of challenging hill climbs (and two punctures) we arrived at Blackwaterfoot for a break at the Kinloch Hotel. Then 18 miles of great FLAT shoreline cycling got us to Lochranza for lunch. The last 14 miles consisted of a pretty challenging 3-4 mile hill climb right after Lochranza followed by a fantastic downhill section and onto a flat shoreline cycle back to Brodick. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenic 6h 15m ride despite some quite difficult hills. Weather great.

posted by:TomRating : difficult :
Cycled from just south of glasgow to ardrossan then ferry over.

Would usually recommend going clockwise as the south end of the island is by far the toughest part (the big hill at lochranza is a breeze in comparison being just one slog up then a free wheel down).

We intended to cycle to kildonan and camp overnight but changed to lochranza at last minute as the wind was unusually due to blow from the north next day.

In the morning the wind didnt dissapoint and blew us down the west coast before we hit the very challenging south coast, despite the hills though i love this stretch as it ismin my opinion the most scenic part ofmthe route. Particularly the two or three miles south of blackwaterfoot are fairly unique in character from what i have seen of scotland, as the road clings to the hillside high above the coast.

Going in this direction you also get a very dramatic change of scenery as you round the corner above whiting bay and suddenly the high mountains in the distance dominate the view.

Had a nice powernap on the grass at whiting bay then pushed on to the ferry, the last hill from lamlash being quite tricky but giving a lovely long free wheel to brodick which seemed much longer than the climb did!

Then it was just a matter of 25 miles home on the other side.

We probably averaged around ten mph on hybrids and carrying all our camping stuff so nothing like as quick as the road bikers but not too bad all the same.

posted by:MatthewRating : difficult :
I did the run today. Having read all the reviews I totally agree with most of them. Enjoyable run but dont do it if you haven't trained for it. I am new to cycling but a couple of months of 30 miles cycles was enough.I did it clockwise and there are some steep short hills before lochranza that are pretty challenging. The hill after lochranza is brutal but the descent down the other side was brilliant. I was up to 45mph and my mate was even faster. Did it in 4hr 5 mins on my hybrid but wasn't pushing it most of the way. A good cyclist would easily do it in under 3 hrs.

posted by:lynnRating : difficult :
Unforgettable, so worth the hard work. You are rewarded immeasurably by beauty. The sea and island views are the equal of any, the little burns you cross are sonorous and sweet, wildflowers and birds line much of the road, views toward inner mountains are breathtaking.

Day trip only.

Got 835am train from Glasgow central, which links straight to ferry. If you love ferry trips, well, it is a beautiful one. On the island before 11. Turned left to go southwards, based on recommendations above from others. Definitely wondered within the first 5 miles if I had been a overly ambitious (watching rather self-pityingly as the dozen or so cyclists from the ferry zoomed off in front of me - all who had the fancy cyling gear, the spandex and racing bikes - and quickly disappeared from sight. Me rattling along with an old bike, too many sweaters on, kickstand suddenly deciding to loosen and hitting the spokes, gently clanging along, first gear packing up after a few miles, a rucksack and a plastic bag with a change of clothes tied to the back of the pannier rack. I spent a fair amount of those early miles laughing at myself and feeling thrilled by the challenge and beauty of the island. I bought the bike a week ago off Gumtree, fixed it up at the fantastic place called the Bike Station in Glasgow (at a 'fix your own' session). At 8am on the day I stopped into a cycle shop in Glasgow to buy some reflective gear to cover my rucksack. I would recommend this, as, although in general drivers slowed down and were careful, the road is very twisty and you would likely feel safer (perhaps especially if you are new to cycling, as I am). It was certainly quieter on the roads about 10 miles either side of Brodick, but even then there were times I stood for 10 minutes without seeing another person.

Being very new to cycling (have done only running before, about 15-20 miles a week, and some yoga) I was unsure I would be able to do this route, and would certainly say it was at the edge of my ability. Possibly a little too much. Worth it, but a few weeks of cycling first would have been useful I'm sure. On a beautiful but fairly old and heavy 5 speed (only 3 worked!) vintage road bike...took just over 7 hours including a puncture - which was my first ever, conveniently nicked outside the home of a man named Keith who helped me - twice! because I missed the hole the first time. I also didn't have the right size wrench, a rather rookie mistake that was funny but could have been rather more awkward had I not timed the puncture in order to meet a kindly soul.

Had time to stop for a dozen photos, a quick packed lunch not far from Whiting Bay (peanut butter, oatcakes and dark chocolate...which I would recommend), enjoyed listening to the deer rut and the last summer calls and swoops of swallows, took it fairly slow on all the downhills (there are many lovely long ones and plenty of pothills on the west coast in particular, so would suggest keeping your eyes fast on the road). Stopped in lochranza for an expresso and ice cream...this of course helped on the long long climb out of lochranza :-) It is the last big one, and does go on for a couple miles at least, but the view back down towards the sea and across to the hills are amazing. There is a lovely waterfall on the way up, and once you see it you've not too much more to go.

Made it back to brodick about 6. Time enough to have a bowl of soup in the local hotel and visit a shop for postcards. Last ferry 720. Quiet.

I would suggest if you're not sure you can do it, but want to try, have a planB. Find a couple cheap b&BS that you know have rooms, check out if the hostel has space the day you're there. Or you can just trust it will work out whatever happens! I would love to go back and take more time to get off the bike and walk. Some of walks were wonderfully tempting, but I was too worried about missing the ferry or getting punctures. Staying a night or two would allow some time to really feel the island a little more closely.

I've written this because reading other peoples' posts helped me feel more prepared and confident, so thanks to all above.

posted by:Aileen PoldingRating : difficult :
How do hills compare with crow road/ dukes pass?

posted by:Roy StephensRating : difficult :
Planned to do full circle, but was out in group way advanced on my standard, travelled anti clockwise, then took the "String" shortcut back to ferry. 40 miles or so if doing the string I would go the other way round as it is freshly tarmac''d on one side but rough as a badgers ass on the other. But what a day out even if it was blowing a bit.

posted by:Allyson ByersRating : difficult :
Lots of effort, fantastic rewards. This route does have many tough climbs but the views are amazing and the feeling of achievement really makes it. I''m not a serious cyclist but I first did it over 2 days on an old mountain bike aged 39 (me, not the bike) and nearly 10 years on, with my hybrid, I really love it. Don''t expect a longer version of Millport. It certainly isn''t for the faint hearted. And test your breaks before you go.

posted by:TommyMRating : difficult :
Completed this today in 6 hours, stopping a couple of times for food and coffee. Did it anti clockwise, from Lochranza to Lochranza. Pretty hard going on the hills but you just know you''re in for a treat after the long climbs!

posted by:GeorgeRating : difficult :
This was my second visit to Arran having completed the North Loop on a glorious summer day. Decided to return and have a go at the Full Island.I hired a bike for the day and booked myself in the Shorehouse. Off i went in bright sunshine and little to no wind.Decided to go antilockwise and got to my first stop at Lochranza.Carried on to my next planned stop at Machrae Bay by this time the mist/fog had closed in and temp dropped. Decided to carry on to do the full island and not being a regular cyclist found the remainder very challenging. But i got to Brodick in the end in approx 6 Hrs including the stops.Glad i was staying over as the ferry was cancelled for the day due to fog.Would recommend this cycle route but do not underestimate.

posted by:rhysRating : difficult :
I completed the clockwise route. It was fantastic. I got the 7am ferry from Androssan. Set off on my cycle from Brodick around 8am. I would assess myself as a beginner to intermediate cyclist. More of a weekend cyclist at best. But enough occasional 15-20 mile bike rides under my belt to predict the basics/level of training of this route. I had visited the island previously on my bike, but only had enough time to do about 10 miles from Brodick to Corrie. But after enjoying that so much, I always wanted to come back to see more of Arran and do the whole circuit. So I did just that.

I did the whole circuit in about 6 hours. (But I did spend time getting snacks, taking pictures, fixing 2 tyre punchers and having a coffee here or there, so I was out for about 8 hours in total I would say......so make sure you get the first or 2nd morning ferry so you don''t miss the last ferry).

I intended to take it very easy due to this being my first (what I would call ) big ride. I think that''s important if you''re going to give this a good go and you''re new-ish to intensive cycling.
A good level of fitness is recommended.

As for the ride itself, with the wind that morning coming from the SW direction, I chose to go at the island circuit from a clockwise angle so that when I hit the west coast, the wind would help me along, and it did and it was fantastic. To do the clockwise, you have to prepare to hit some big climbs to start with in the south....and it will go up....and will go down...and so on.

When I finally made it to blackwater foot on the west coast, the blustery weather started to show signs of spitting rain....but when I set off, I made amazing time heading north up the west coast at a good pace. After completing the harder/slower ''slog'' of the south coast........to then racing up the west coast covering more ground....at this point I felt top of the world and well on course..........UNTIL....

...2 of my tyres popped downhill about 7/8 miles from Lochranza in the north........and at that moment....the heavens opened with heavy rain and wind.........which I found difficult to get my new inner tubes fitted efficiently, which took me some extra time to repair. After fixing tyres, that is the moment when fatigue started in my legs due to being still for 30 minutes or so fixing my tyres........and I found the pedalling of the last few miles to lochanza quite hard in this case...........but I had no choice to find my flow again or else - OR no ferry home! :)
( Make sure you take plenty of energy sources for this ride....e.g all the electrolyte drinks, raisins, whatever is your preferred method to keep hydrated and energised....you will burn off a lot on this course, so keeping yourself topped up is good to get you through ).

When I finally reached Lochranza in the north, it was still raining and windy, but I was never so glad to see the sign "Lochranza Loos". I then got a cookie and a coffee from the shop and had them in a bus shelter across the road to keep out of the rain and wind...

Following the coffee break.....I pressed on and made my way to the BIGGEST climb so far.....It is huge....so prepare....and it does come when you''re ready to go home.....but take your time and go at it at your own pace.......but at the top.....you are rewarded with a fantastic downhilll to the east coast and a flat-ish 10 miles or so to Brodick for the ferry.

Overall, I would describe this a hard going route but very rewarding in many ways. With every hard climb, there is a delightful cruise down hill to enjoy. (and there are some fantastic sections where it''s flat for many miles on both the east and west coast.

A fantastic, memorable day and I feel a great sense of achievement to complete a 56 mile circuit at my level. Arran is a fantastic island and very picturesque.

I made the 16:40 ferry back to Androssan. Beer and chips.


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