347 pm Lochranza to Sannox

The walking is easier now, along a flat strip of land between hills and the sea.

27 north coast of Arran, Ruth hiking the coast of Scotland

Small streams cross the path at frequent intervals, but someone has created channels lined with rocks, and the streams are easy to step over.

28 stream crossing, Ruth Livingstone on Arran

I reach a couple of ruined buildings. Farm buildings? I check my map. It mentions pits (mines?) and old salt pans. And here I meet another group of walkers. A man (in the photo below) is leading the way.

29 ruins and walkers, Ruth Livingstone in Scotland

The other walkers are a bedraggled group of middle-aged people. They warn me the path ahead is tough. I ask them if they’ve walked from Sannox, but it seems they’re doing a circular walk from Lochranza. So they must have come over the hill to get here.

They don’t seem particularly fit or used to walking, and I wonder how they’ll cope with the rocky scramble ahead. I open my mouth to warn them it’s tough… but then decide I better not dishearten them at this stage.

Onwards. Along a rocky slope. Past groups of twisted and stunted trees…

30 rough terrain, Arran Coastal Way, Ruth hiking in Scotland

… until the ground flattens out again. Here is a deserted cottage – what a wild and beautiful place! I check my map. The building has a name. Laggan.

31 Logan Cottages, Ruth's coastal walk, Arran

The map suggests the circular route turns inland at this point. But I’m continuing straight on along the coast, towards Sannox.

32 Millstone Point ahead, Ruth walking the north shore of Arran

The rain clouds I saw earlier over Kintyre have finally caught up with me. Rain drops splatter my back, and I stow my camera away. Onwards.

I meet one solitary walker – a man with a dog. The rain is blowing straight into his face, which must be most unpleasant. And then, as quickly as it started, the rain stops and the air clears. I pull my camera out again.

There are very few landmarks along this stretch. Ahead is Millstone Point. The path has turned into a rough track.

33 track, Ruth hiking the north coast of Arran

A yellow marker buoy has washed up on the shore. Wonder what it was marking, and hope it wasn’t too important.

34 washed up Buoy, Ruth Livingstone on Arran

There is a line of telegraph poles running to my right. It seems odd to see them, in the middle of apparent wilderness. The section of shore ahead of me is marked on my map as ‘fallen rocks’ and the path is forced to make an inland detour for a short stretch.

35 fallen rocks, Ruth on the north east coast of Arran

Past the fallen rocks, and I come across a fence and a gate. Whether the fence is keeping something out, or keeping something in, isn’t clear. Anyway, it’s reassuring to see a familiar footpath sign.

36 deer fence and gate, Ruth hiking on the Isle of Arran

Now I reach a definite track. The telegraph poles continue to keep me company, marching in a line on my left. The slope to my right has been logged, leaving an ugly jumble of felled vegetation.

37 logging track, Ruth hiking the Arran coast path

I take a rest on a handy bench. It’s made of hefty planks, set rather high, as if for giant men. I sit with my legs swinging, feeling like a young child, while across the sea patches of sunlight fleetingly light up the landscape. Is that the Isle of Bute over there?

38 picnic benches, Ruth Livingstone on Arran

Onwards. Trees to my right now. ‘Navigation Beacon’ says the map… and there it is, a little further down the track – all white, shiny and high-tec. No old-fashioned lighthouses here.

39 beacons, Ruth hiking the coast of Arran

I reach a concrete jetty with warning signs. What is its purpose? Logging operations? Quarrying? No idea.

40 disused slipway, Ruth's coastal walk, Isle of Arran

The track makes for easy walking, and now I’m surrounded by trees. Lovely, and makes a change from the open landscape I walked through earlier.

41 forest track, North Sannox, Ruth's coastal walk around the Isle of Arran

The track leads to a car park, with a toilet block (closed) and a sign saying “Welcome to North Sannox.” I learn this is Forestry Commission land, and open to the public.

42 north Sannox car park, Ruth Livingstone on Arran, Scotland

There is nobody about. No cars in the car park. I walk down to the shore, but discover I can’t continue any further, as my route is blocked by a river – the North Sannox Burn. So I head along the road, and cross the river via the bridge.

43 bridge over the river, Ruth on Arran

On the other side, a path heads down towards the shore, following the bank of the burn.

44 path down river bank, north Sannox

I stand at the mouth of the river and take a few photographs. Shame the light is poor and everything looks murky, because this is my last day on Arran, and I would really love to do the island justice. Ah well. Can’t change the weather.

45 mouth of river, North Sannox, Ruth hiking in Arran

The next section of path is surprisingly beautiful. To my right is a dramatic cliff…

46 blue cliffs, Ruth hiking to Sannox, Arran

… which soon peters out, with the landscape opening up to give me a great view of Sannox ahead, with the mountains behind.

47 footpath to Sannox, Ruth Livingstone

I check my map. I’m looking towards Goat Fell, but the feature in the centre of my view is a lower peak called Cioch na h-Oighe (wow, no idea how that is pronounced).  The depression in front – looking like a volcanic crater – is called ‘The Devil’s Punchbowl. Great name.

48 Devil's Punch Bowl, Ruth hiking to Sannox, Isle of Arran

Onwards. I’ve reached Sannox Bay, and here I drop down off the path to walk along the beach.

49 Sannox Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Isle of Arran, Scotland

I reach Sannox Burn, and turn inland, following the sandy shore of the river…

50 last river to cross, Sannox. Ruth Livingstone

… to discover some stepping-stones. Yes, there is a bridge only a few hundred feet away, upstream, but can’t resist using the stepping-stones!

51 stepping stones, Sannox, Ruth's coastal walk, Isle of Arran

Over the river, and back on the road, and I reach the bus shelter with the seats inside.  My car is parked in the little car park behind the bus stop.

52 car park and bus stop with chairs, Sannox, Ruth Livingstone

This is where I started my walk yesterday, and where I end my walk today. It’s been a taxing hike, and I feel physically very tired. I also feel a burden of sadness. Arran has been extraordinarily beautiful, and very kind to me, and I hate the thought of moving on.


Normally I walk the coast in strict sequence, and I struggled with the concept of breaking that rule. But I believe I was right to save the northern shore until today. First of all, the weather yesterday was terrible, and the north-easterly gales would have made this particular walk very treacherous. Secondly, today’s stretch has been the highlight of the Arran Coastal Way, and I’m glad I saved the best for last.

The Arran Coastal Way is officially 65 miles in length. As usual, I managed to walk substantially more than that – 76 miles – proving that the miles under your feet always turn out to be more than the miles measured on the map!

Miles walked today = 11 miles
Total around Arran = 76 miles
Total distance around British coast = 3,595 miles



About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 20 Ayrshire and Arran and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to 347 pm Lochranza to Sannox

  1. RAY PERRY says:

    Perhaps the concrete jetty is for the Red Princess that shows on Google Maps. The vessel that uses it might be http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:402395/mmsi:341189000/imo:8748828/vessel:RED_PRINCESS

    It is currently docked near Prestwick. Of course, I could be entirely wrong.


  2. tonyhunt2016 says:

    Don’t be too concerned about the yellow buoy. Yellow marks “have no navigational significance. They are used as race buoys, to define swimming or water-skiing zones, firing ranges, but not to mark a hazard to navigation”. Looks a bit sophisticated, with its light and solar panel, for a racing mark, mind.

  3. Libby says:

    Hee hee – looks like you parked in the bus shelter!!

  4. Anabel Marsh says:

    I’m glad you liked Arran so much. It’s beautiful and i’ve enjoyed reading about it through your eyes.

  5. Eunice says:

    I can’t resist saying this – your posts are like buses, you wait for ages then two come along at once! 🙂 It’s good to see you back on the road again even if you are only catching up from last autumn. It looks and sounds like that was quite a strenuous and difficult walk in places but the scenery made up for it – I love the view of the river near the stepping stones 🙂

  6. Karen White says:

    You have finished walking on Arran and I have finished your 2017 walks! One day I will catch you up and be reading your walks as you post them.I’ve very much enjoyed your Scotland walks to date. Btw did you know that there is also a Devil’s Punchbowl in West Sussex?

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