Join us for a nine-day pilot circumnavigation of Scotland’s Isle of Arran, a rugged, remote and historic island with such topographic diversity that it’s called “Scotland in miniature.” This 65-mile trip pieces together trails, coastal boulder walking, highland-like grassy peaks, and shuttles to connect lodging at small inns and hotels. Features of this new trip include ferries to and from the mainland, a hike up Goat Fell, a visit to Brodick Castle, and visiting the Arran Distillery.
Connecting our string of small hotels gives us the chance to savor local cuisine and culture while mixing with other, mostly European travelers. Lodging at small hotels allows us to considerably lighten our packs for our daily hikes (average move is ~8+ miles) along the rocky coast, through small villages, across steep valleys, and open highlands of this area.
The trip starts and ends in Ardrossan on Scotland’s west coast. Consider staying extra days on either end of the trip to explore the sights of Scotland.
This adventure is a "pilot trip," meaning that it's the first time a NOLS group has hiked this challenging route. Practically, this means an extra dose of flexibility, good cheer and Expedition Behavior will be helpful as we connect new trails and experience the lodging options.
The trip spends seven nights in the "field" at small hotels and seven days hiking (plus an optional walking attempt at the summit of Goat Fell) as well as a hotel night on either end in Ardrossan. Unlike a standard NOLS expedition, we won't carry cook gear, or heavy rations—even pads and sleeping bags are not needed—but we'll do "real" walking up and down varied terrain and along country roads with our light packs. Be aware: although not steep, hiking distances are long, so be prepared for a physical challenge.
This trip will reacquaint you with NOLS skills in a convivial, relaxing and visually stunning location. Instruction is geared to your interests, with optional Scottish "word(s) of the day," time for journal-writing, experiencing traditional music, photography, a distillery tour and more. Of course, non-alumni adult friends and family members are also invited— this is a great way to introduce NOLS to your sidekicks.
*Enjoy light packs, challenging hikes, and inn living.