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Big Strides Forward!
Back in the 1990s, two local men, Hugh McKerrell and Dick Sim, had a dream. It was of a walk around the entire coastline of Arran, linking the villages and taking in the stunning scenery and brilliant wildlife to be seen along the way.
Both Hugh and Dick have sadly died, but their legacy lives on in the form of the Arran Coastal Way. What started as a little-used route undertaken by an intrepid few has become a well-known feature of the island with its own website and a full colour walkers' guide. It is now followed by folk from all over the world and contributes significantly to the island economy.
Several years ago Arran Access Trust took on responsibility for the route and, in order to plan future work and seek the necessary funding, undertook a review of the Way. A condition survey of the path, signage and way marking was carried out in 2012 and a number of problem stretches and short comings identified. Last year the focus was on gathering the views of users of the route and providers of accommodation and services along the Way.
It was clear from the responses that the route is an important asset for the island, highly valued by walkers and by businesses offering food and accommodation along the way (some reported that up to 50% of their customers are walkers following the Way). With this in mind the Trust formulated plans in consultation with landowners to bid for funds to improve the experience for users and maximize the benefit to the Island.
We are now delighted to reveal that funding has been promised, with a major award from Coastal Communities Fund and further valuable contributions from North Ayrshire Council, Visit Arran (Arran Trust) and Forestry Commission Scotland. This will enable the appointment of a project coordinator and 3-strong footpath team (including places for trainees) to undertake work over 2 years. Contractors will also be engaged in improving sections of the Way and signage and interpretation will be updated.
With sensitive management and improved promotion, the Access Trust believe the Arran Coastal Way can fulfill its true potential as Scotland's finest circular coastal trail and is eagerly looking forward to the start of the project in May.
Updated March 2014
Kildonan Stores having closed, you can now purchase provisions at Kildonan Hotel.
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Duchess Anne's Salt Pan on the north shore of Arran
The south shore of Arran from Bennan Head to Lagg