***This information is from 2013, I will update it for 2014 when I get hold of the tide tables.***
thing is to know about the boat trip from Lamlash across Lamlash Bay to
Holy Island. (Unless you have your own kayak, in which case you can skip most of this
page.) It's a 10 minute trip and the boatmen run trips throughout the day,
but please keep in mind that the last trip
of the afternoon is at 16:45, unless it is low tide around then. Near low
tide, the schedule has to be re-arranged in some appropriate way. So it's
a good idea to phone the boatmen in advance, or at least to consult the tide
you arrive at Lamlash quay in time for the last trip you'll be fine, since if there are too
many people to fit in one go, they will keep on making trips until everyone is
One more detail about tides: apparently, some low tides are lower than others. When it's a fairly high low tide, the boat schedule is disrupted less than it is when it's a particularly low low tide. On 22nd August this year low tide is at 19:35 (summer time, 2013 tables for Brodick Bay), and as low tides go, it is going to be on the high side. So the boatmen are saying that 16:45 is looking fine on that day. But do phone them if you feel like it, and especially do so if you are arriving on another day. They are happy to be called, and their phone numbers are
Tom Sheldon 01770 600998
Jim Blakey 01770 700463 or 07970 771960
The next thing to add in to
the equation is the ferry service from Ardrossan (on the Scottish mainland)
to Brodick (the main port on Arran). The ferries are run by Caledonian MacBrayne,
and for latest information see their website
at www.calmac.co.uk. There are several
crossings every day, but the important point is that usually the last one which connects
with the last Lamlash crossing
leaves Ardrossan Harbour at 15:15 every day, for which foot passengers need to board by
15:05. At Brodick this crossing connects with the island bus service for
the 4 mile trip to Lamlash, arriving at Lamlash quay at 16:35.
If you can't get to Ardrossan in time for the 15:15 crossing, then the thing to do would be to take a later crossing (there is one every day at 18:00) and stay at a B&B on Arran. On the Holy Isle website at holyisle.org/index/getting-here there is a list of B&B recommendations. If anyone would like to add any more recommendations, please do! I can recommend the Lagg Inn (phone 01770 870255) at Kilmory, which is 16 miles further around the coast from Lamlash (going clockwise), easy on the island bus. If you would like to experience on Arran the tradition of the 18th century British coaching inn (adapted for the 21st century) then it is the place to go.
The next thing to consider is, how to get to Ardrossan Harbour. If you are arriving at Prestwick airport (thought to be the only place in the United Kingdom where Elvis Presley set foot) there is a service leaving Prestwick airport railway station at 14:12 (change at Kilwinning) reaching Ardrossan Harbour at 15:02 which connects with the 15:15 ferry. If your aeroplane is late, it is worth bearing in mind that Prestwick airport is only 17 miles from Ardrossan Harbour (or if you get as far as Kilwinning on the train, you are then only 5 miles from Ardrossan Harbour), so jumping in to a taxi is also a possibility.
Similar considerations (leaving out Elvis) apply for arriving at Glasgow airport (GLA) which has good connections to Ardrossan. Note that from the airport, instead of getting the Glasgow Flyer bus into the city, it can work out better to get a local bus to Paisley Gilmour Street railway station and catch the Ardrossan train there.
On Arran, if the day is lonely and the millennia are becoming intermixed, you might visit Machrie Moor where there are traces of human habitation stretching over more than five thousand years and where the faint sound of stone tool chipping on stone whistles still in the quiet of the moorland.