A challenging section of the Arran Coastal Way keeping largely to the coast following quiet roads and rugged path before passing King's Cave to finally reach the sandy bay at Blackwaterfoot.
If you are walking this route in one day it can be quite challenging! Begin from the ferry terminal in Lochranza and follow the old postman's footpath through the birchwoods high above the road before descending to Catacol Bay. Now commence a long stretch on generally quiet coastal road to Pirnmill village. After Pirnmill it's a rugged trek along the coastline away from the road, which is rejoined at Imachar. Then another long stretch of road walking leads down to the coast, passing the spectacular King's Cave and dominating cliffs of Drumadoon Point to cross the sandy beach of Blackwaterfoot.
This is a long section of the Way, and you have some options depending on your itinerary version:
1) 6 Day & 5 Night itinerary: If you are on this itinerary you are walking the entire route from Lochranza to Blackwaterfoot, however if you decide to shorten the day's walk you can do so by catching the bus fom Imachar or Machrie as below.
2) 8 Day & 7 Night and 7 Day & 6 Night itineraries: If you are walking to Machrie and catching the bus to Blackwaterfoot and skipping the Machrie to Blackwaterfoot section of the Way today then stop at Machrie, ~22 km along the route, to wait at the bus stop for the next bus to Blackwaterfoot.
3) 9 Day & 8 Night itinerary: If you are walking to Imachar and catching the bus to Blackwaterfoot then heading back to Imachar the following morning to finish the route then stop at Imachar ~15 km along the route before returning here to finish the remaining 16 km of the route.
Pack a torch, or use the torch on your phone, to help you find paintings and carvings on the walls of King's Cave.
The roads around Arran are generally quiet but do remember to walk on the right-hand side of the road so you are facing into any oncoming traffic and take to the grass verge to give way to motorists if necessary.
Take care on the rugged section of path between Pirnmill and Imachar - pay close attention to the route here.
Points of interest
Supposedly used by Robert The Bruce in 1307 for shelter whilst en route from Ireland to the Scottish mainland. The cave is of great interest for it's ancient Iron Age rock carvings and animal images, Ogham inscriptions and Christian symbols. Step through the ornate ironwork railings and get your [phone] torch ready to explore the walls.
Machrie Moor Stone Circles
Not far from Machrie these granite boulders and sandstone pillars are well worth the 1 hour loop walk directly off the main road to visit the 6 stone circles and standing stones thought to date back to 2500 BC.
Food & Drink
There are a number of options on this route. The hotel and sandwich bar in Lochranza, a tea room and local shop in Pirnmill, and a tea room just before Machrie along with various restaurants and shops in Blackwaterfoot. Make sure to bring a packed lunch and plenty of water for the route.
A sturdy pair of walking trainers are adequate for this route if you don't wish to wear hiking boots. Along with your usual kit for a day walking in the elements make sure you pack an extra layer, a wind/waterproof jacket in case the weather closes in, suncream and midge repellant spray!