In this post I will share with you the best places for wild camping on the Isle of Arran.
You’ll find lots of pictures of the places, detailed descriptions of what to expect at each site and why they make a great place to wild camp. You can also check out all of these wild camping spots and where they are in my Free Guide Map of the Isle of Arran.
Our Trip To The Isle Of Arran
A few weeks ago Fiachra and I made a spontaneous trip to the Isle of Arran and our plan was to wild camp. We packed the car with all our camping gear and traveled from Edinburgh, taking the ferry over from Ardrossan to Brodick.
Before we left, we googled ‘wild camping on the Isle of Arran’ yet nothing came up. Anything we did find on any forums and such was vague and unhelpful. So we arrived on the island with no spots in mind of where we could go.
What Is Wild Camping?
One problem is that so many people call parking up by the side of the road with a caravan, motor-home or a van ‘wild camping’. To me, this isn’t wild camping.
Wild camping, in my opinion, is where you sleep outside or pitch a tent in the wilderness. A place with no formal facilities and certainly where you don’t have to pay. If there’s a place close by to park the car, even better.
So based on my definition of wild camping, here are recommendations of all the best places we came across which would make great wild camping spots on the Isle of Arran.
Where Did We Camp?
Unfortunately, we didn’t end up camping at any of these places ourselves.
You can find out more about why we didn’t end up wild camping on the Isle of Arran in another post I will publish shortly. It involves quite an intense story about being delirious with tiredness and a strange interrogation with the police! In that post you can also read what we did in the first day of our itinerary.
We camped at a site called Middletons Camping in Lamlash Bay. It was £30 for two people for two nights. It was a nice site with good facilities, but LOTS of midges.
Although we didn’t wild camp, we did cook dinner outside one evening at North Sannox. It was beautiful and I highly recommend some outdoor cooking even if you don’t wild camp.
How Did I Find Out About These Places?
This list of recommendations is all places we saw across the island which, if we were wild camping, we would have happily done so. They are all wild places in nature where you can pull up the car and pitch a tent. At some of them it may be possible to have a fire.
These wild camping spots are accessible along the main road which rings around Arran, the A841. This means they are also by the sea! Not only is this beautiful and gives you lots of opportunities for a wild swim, it is also great for another reason.
If you’re traveling to Arran in the summer (June-August), being by the sea is a huge advantage as there are less midges by the coast compared to inland. This is because of the lack of still, fresh water which they need to breed. The windy conditions also prevents them from being able to land. So this is definitely worth baring in mind, whether you plan to wild camp or not!
Wild Camping Responsibly
Remember if you are wild camping you can do your bit for nature and the local communities by adhering to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Here are the best places for wild camping on the Isle of Arran.
In my opinion, North Sannox is THE best wild camping spot we found on the Isle of Arran. This lovely little place has plenty of space to pitch the tent and park the car. It is situated on the north east side of the island.
Why This Is The Best Wild Camping Spot On The Isle Of Arran:
- The ground is relatively flat and covered with grass.
- A large car parking area close by to where you can pitch the tent.
- It is down a small track, set away from the main roads.
- It is a secluded, quiet and peaceful area.
- There is some sheltering from the trees.
- The space is large with plenty of pitching options.
- Being by the sea, there’s less chance of being harassed by the dreaded midges.
- The area has stunning views with the sights of Goat Fell and the sea.
- There’s running water from the burn.
- Spaces to have a fire.
- A few benches and some bins, which always come in handy!
- Walks and things to do close by, in case you want to leave your tent while you do some activities.
Although we didn’t camp here (we were already pitched in a campsite) we stopped here and cooked dinner one evening. It was a really peaceful spot and we would have definitely enjoyed camping overnight here if we hadn’t already left our tent elsewhere! In fact, I didn’t want to go back to the campsite – I wanted to stay here!
There were a few motor-homes and camper-vans parked up here. We didn’t see anyone with a tent but there were signs campers had been here recently and fire pits in the grass.
I definitely recommend trying this spot if you are looking for a place to wild camp on the Isle of Arran.
Close by to here is the wonderful walk of the North Glen Sannox Pools which I highly recommend!
Silver Sands Beach
With it’s golden shore, grassy banks and secluded nature, Silver Sands is easily the best beach on the Isle of Arran. It would make for a peaceful and romantic place to wild camp!
It is my second best recommendation for wild camping on the Isle of Arran.
There is parking just by the roadside near this beach. There is space enough for 2 or 3 cars. From there, steps will lead you down to the beach. You can walk along in either direction to explore the bay. If you camp here, you’ll have to carry things down to the beach to pitch. It might take a few trips (if you’re not carrying light!).
Out to sea you will see the intriguing, uninhabited Pladda Island with its lighthouse. A short walk along the beach are the ruins of Kildonan Castle. It is just visible from the walled garden of a private residence. Across the road from the castle is a tiny art gallery and shop which is quite sweet. Pop in and have a look at all the locally made arts and crafts.
There is actually a campsite visible just down the coast from the beach – this is Seal Shore Campsite. So if you really don’t want to wild camp, there is an option to stay in a campsite by this beautiful coastline. It costs £9 per night per person in a tent, plus (weirdly) a ‘non-refundable’ deposit of £20 per tent. You do save a lot of money by wild camping!
Pitch the tent on the sand or there’s a small flat, grassy area by the swing set towards the bottom of the steps.
Enjoy the sea views from your bed and a wild swim in the morning! 🙂
South of Dougarie
Camp by these stunning beaches on the east coast of Arran, just south of Dougarie and north of Machrie bay.
Park the car off road in the small areas beside the beach. There are suitable areas to pitch the tent on the sand or grass areas, and set yourself a little back from the roadside.
Although these spots are quite close to the road, I don’t think you would have any trouble camping here. Just take a look at the Google Map street view images. You’ll see others who had the same idea to camp here, so it is not unusual! Make sure you have earplugs so you won’t get woken up by any vehicles driving past in the night.
These spots are also quite open and exposed, but they are not too close to any houses along the road so you won’t be disturbing the local residents.
Just down the road are the start of the walks to the Machrie Moor Standing Stones and the King’s Caves, both of which are well worth a visit. You may also get an excellent view of the Doon Fort at Drumadoon Point with its impressive cliffs.
North of Thundergay
Further along the west coast heading north is the area of Thundergay.
By the roadside is a small track where you can park off road and pitch the tent.
The area is currently under controversy as the location where the Isle of Arran Distillery was granted a licence to dump liquid waste into the sea. Plans were drawn up in 2017 to build a big tunnel (marine outfall) to dispose of the waste. You can read an updated report on this from 2018 on the Voice for Arran.
From Thundergay you can walk to a beautiful loch up in the hills called Coire Fhionn Lochan. See lots of pictures of this walk on Love Exploring Scotland.
On our drive to Lochranza along the west coast we came across this lovely wild camping spot in Catacol Bay. We saw a couple of tents here so a few people had the idea to camp here too.
There’s a lot of space to pitch, with lots of flat grassy areas. You’ll be camping close by the sea, along with the Glen Catacol river.
A couple of houses are nearby, but if you follow the SOAC you will be fine.
There is a small area to pull up the car beside the road. I also saw a couple of small tracks where you can pull your car in closer to where you want to camp.
From Catacol Bay you can begin a walk to Loch Tanna, a wild, beautiful and remote loch and Arran’s biggest.
The Sailor’s Grave
Just outside of Lochranza, on the north west of the island, is a place marked the Sailor’s Grave. You can read more about this history of this place on Waymarking. If you don’t mind camping next to a grave site, this is an excellent spot!
To get to the Sailor’s Grave, a small section of road separates from the main road. This makes it a nice camping spot because it is more secluded by the section of grass/bush that separates it from the A841. It’s possible to park the car and camp here along the grassy banks.
I noticed this this was a popular spot for camper-vans and motor-homes.
South of Corrie
Just outside the charming village of Corrie, I spotted a couple of nice wild camping spots.
Corrie is just north of Brodick, which is where you might arrive to Arran from the mainland. This spot is the closest to Brodick in my recommendations list. If you’re looking for somewhere to wild camp as soon as you get off the ferry, this is a good place!
Corrie is such a cute little village which is well worth a visit during your stay on Arran. Look out for the little workshop of local sculptor Marvin Elliott. You might see him making large wooden carvings of seals. There’s a pretty waterfall hidden behind the Corrie and Sannox Village Hall. If you’re hungry, Mara Fish Bar and Deli looks an absolute delight and gets very good reviews!
Although these camping spots are close to the main road, there is space to park the car off road. Pitch the tent with a little distance on the small patches of grass right by the sea. You can wake up to that refreshing sea air! There is also a spot with a picnic table and bins, which can always be useful!
Free Guide Map Of The The Isle of Arran: The Best Wild Camping Spots
I have created this Free Guide Map of the Isle of Arran using Google Maps. All the best wild camping spots in this post are marked on the map. Just look for the purple fire icon so you can easily find them. Happy camping! 🙂
Have you wild camped on Arran? If there is somewhere you recommend, please share it in the comments!