This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG-20220917-WA0009-940x896.jpg

If you’re planning to come to the West of Scotland in warmer weather, it is worth making time for a visit to the Isle of Arran, an island just off the coast of Ayrshire. The most direct route to the island is by ferry (which departs from Ardrossan), taking just under an hour. Arran offers gorgeous sights and things to do. In my view, two of the best activities to do on Arran is hiking or visiting one (or both) of the island’s distilleries. Some say it’s a great island to bike around, but a word of caution. The roads are narrow and winding and perhaps better suited to the more proficient and experience cyclist. Another word of caution. It is advisable to plan ahead and sort out your transport ahead of time. There are buses that get you around, but taxis can be fickle. If you have a designated driver, the ferry does allow cars on board. Ferry Schedule to Arran

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG-20220917-WA0003-768x1024.jpg

So far as hiking goes, the best challenge is Goatfell, the highest point on the island. However, there are many other walks of various lengths that will appeal to a wide range of abilities. There are also a few heritage sites as well, most well know is probably Machrie Moor: a neolithic site with standing stones and rich archaeological treasures. In Scottish myth, Fingal the giant used to keep his loyal dog, Bran, at this site. Quite an interesting tale don’t ya think? So you would think from my descriptions and knowledge, that I’m a bit of an expert on hiking Arran. But in actuality, I haven’t hiked it…yet. But I have done my research : )

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_20220918_060403_212-820x1024.webp

The two distilleries on Arran are Lochranza and Lagg. Lagg is relatively new and focuses on peaty whisky, their inaugural release being quite impressive, especially for you peat lovers out there. Lochranza is well established. Founded in 1994 by Harold Currie, who had quite a presence in the whisky world (fun fact, one of his sons, Paul Currie is the founder of The Lakes Distillery in England), Lochranza focuses more on the delicate, yet flavourful, profile drams. Whiskies from Lochranza offer an unmissable character: you know when you’re drinking one, and what you get is quality! Lagg is dedicated to quality craftsmanship as well, unsurprising as both are owned by the same company. It’s a new and strategic venture, having one distillery focus on one style and the other a completely different set of flavours, but it means both can succeed. If you do find yourself in the West of Scotland and wanting a great day trip, you simply must consider Arran.

For more information on each distillery, visit: www.arranwhisky.com and

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Sara-Crop-534x695.jpeg

Sara Johnstone is a whisky enthusiast and historian living in Scotland. She was born and raised in Florida, but after numerous stops in the Americas and Europe she is now happily settled in Western Scotland with her family. She holds 3 degrees with the highest being in History, so she is well versed in the history of scotch whisky and the various brands. Sara also has a passion for cigars from her time living in Tampa, where a rich cigar culture exists. Her column here on boozepress.com will cover all aspects of Scottish life, with an emphasis on whisky and cigars

Follow Sara @the_whisky_wench on Instagram