Arran, Islay & Jura
Guided Island Hopping
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Hills & moorland
Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
The Inner Hebridean isles of Arran, Islay and Jura provide a wonderful contrast with each other. Arran’s pink granite peaks and lush woodland are a perfect foil for the wilderness of Jura’s west coast, while Islay’s rugged cliffs and extensive sandy beaches are different again. Famous for their distilleries, these islands provide a wonderful range of contrasting walks and amazing wildlife. Several walks are accessed by chartered boat, adding an extra dimension to the holiday.
Our accommodation is at comfortable partner hotels and guesthouses, on or near the route. Each has been selected for their character, quality and their warm welcome and friendly service.
Auchrannie Hotel, Arran - 3ntsLocated in the village of Brodick on the Isle of Arran, the Auchrannie Hotel offers the free use of the leisure facilities, including indoor pools, sauna, steam room and solarium. All rooms have a fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary mineral water, TV, hairdryer, use of an iron and ironing board. Wifi is available.
Port Askaig Hotel, Islay - 3nts
Port Askaig Hotel is a picturesque, family run Highland Inn on the shores of the Sound of Islay, overlooking the pier at which daily car ferries berth on arrival from the Scottish mainland. Bedrooms have tea and coffee making facilities. Hairdryer and iron available on request. TV is in the bar and residents lounge (not in bedrooms) and WiFi is in the reception area and limited elsewhere; as is mobile phone reception.
Jura Hotel - 3nts
In a sheltered setting in the village of Craighouse, The Jura Hotel has breathtaking views across the water and is metres from the world-famous Jura Distillery. This family-run hotel reflects the island with its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. There are two lounges for guests' use; one with TV (there are no TVs in the bedrooms), free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer and iron and ironing board are available.
On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.
Day 1: Arrival day, to Arran
We travel by train from Glasgow to Ardrossan and then by ferry to Brodick. The hotel minibus will transfer you to the nearby Auchrannie Hotel.
Day 2: Goatfell, Arran
We take taxis as far as Corrieburn Bridge, just south of Corrie village, and walk west following Corrie Burn up into the high corrie above which rises the Goatfell range. We continue ascending to North Goatfell. A lovely ridge walk follows round the Pinnacles to the top of Goatfell (2866 feet). On a clear day, our efforts are rewarded by magnificent views of the Arran Mountains, and the Scottish mainland hills. We take the main track down to Cladach and walk along the beach back to our hotel. 6½ miles (10km) and 2,800 feet (840m) of ascent.
Day 3: Holy Island and hills surrounding Lamlash
Our walks today provide quite a contrast. We visit Holy Island, a Buddhist retreat, with its fantastic views back to the main island. We’ll walk to the summit of Mullach Mor at just over 300 metres and return along the coast. If time allows, the second walk of the day takes in the Giant’s Graves (which are actually Neolithic burial cairns - fragments of pottery and arrowheads have been found here) and the fabulous Glenashdale waterfalls, now best seen from the purpose-built, dramatic viewing platform. The descent passes an Iron Age Fort, so there’s plenty of historical interest to go alongside the views and the delightful woodlands. The order of the walks will depend on ferry and tide times. Holy Island distance: 3¾ miles (6km) with 1,050 feet (320m) of ascent. Giant’s Graves distance: 3¼ miles (5.5km) with 850 feet (255m) of ascent
Day 4: To Islay
Today we travel across to Islay, but not before enjoying a final morning walk from Brodick up the Glen Rosa Valley surrounded by impressive mountains and a chance of seeing a golden eagle before ending at the Saw Mill with the option for refreshments and to visit the local brewery. 5 miles (8km) with 620 feet (190m) of ascent. We meet the minibus which drops us to our ferry and we cross to Claonaig on the Kintyre Peninsula. A short road journey leads to the opposite coast and the ferry terminal at Kennacraig, from where we leave for Port Askaig on Islay. Once here, you can settle into your hotel and enjoy a look around the tiny harbour.
Day 5: The Mull of Oa, Islay
Today’s walk takes in some of the spectacular coastline of the RSPB Mull of Oa Nature Reserve on the southern end of the island. What you can see here (in addition to the fantastic scenery) depends on the time of year. The bird life is worthy of special mention, with a huge variety of nesting seabirds often visible along with possible sightings of choughs and maybe a golden eagle. There are wild goat herds on the cliffs. 7 miles (11.5km) with 1,750 feet (535m) of ascent.
Day 6: Rhuvaal, Islay
Weather and sea conditions permitting, we’ll be using a charter boat to take us out to the slipway at Rhuvaal Lighthouse from where we’ll walk on deer tracks and descend to the beach of Bagh an Da Dhoruis before walking above and below coastal cliffs to the sands of Gruinart Bay. Not many people have the opportunity to walk this wonderful section of coastline without it becoming a much bigger undertaking – the use of the charter boat makes it possible. 13 miles (21km) with 1,640 feet (500m) of ascent.
Day 7: To Jura
Weather and sea conditions permitting, a charter boat will take the group out to the west coast of Jura and drop us near Glenbatrick. Your luggage will then be taken by boat to the Jura Hotel. We can explore the coast hereabouts before walking back to the east coast via a track that leads beneath the famous Paps of Jura. This is a great area for seeing hen harriers and red deer, and you might see adders along with a range of coastal wildlife. 6¾ miles (11km) with 1,000 feet (310m) of ascent.
Day 8: Free day on Jura
This is built in as a free day to allow for a change in the schedule should it be required. You may wish to go on a local walk organised or relax around the harbour area and visit the distillery.
Day 9: Corryvreckan, Jura
The final day’s walking and another one on which we hope to use the chartered boat – this time to bring us back at the end of the walk, though tide, weather etc could make it a drop-off rather than a pick-up. The northern tip of Jura overlooks the Gulf of Corryvreckan – famous for its whirlpools. Our route follows “the Long Road”, passing Barnhill, where George Orwell wrote 1984, out to the Gulf and explores some of this amazing, remote coastline before our charter boat takes us back to Craighouse Bay near the hotel, passing the Corryvreckan whirlpools if conditions and tide permit. 8½ miles (14km) with 1,200 feet (373m) of ascent.
Day 10: Departure day
We take the charter boat across the Sound of Jura into Loch Sween, and Tayvallich, with its tiny, sheltered bay. From here we travel by coach back to Glasgow Central Station.
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader. Local mountain or sea conditions may cause changes to the published programme.
Please note some of the walks on this holiday are quite remote and the underfoot conditions can be rough in places. Weather, tide and local sea/mountain conditions may cause changes to the published programme.
All local walks transport is included in the holiday price, and may include boat charters, local buses and private coach hire. Your Island hopping leader will accompany you on each leg of the journey. Many of the most isolated, most stunning areas of these islands are only accessible by boat and on Islay and Jura we will be chartering a fully enclosed inshore passenger ferry (Rigid Inflatable Boat) run by www.islayseasafari.co.uk to take us to and from the start of some of the walking routes. If you have back or neck problems, or are pregnant, please consult your doctor before travelling in case you are advised that you should not be a passenger on this type of boat.
This holiday starts and finishes in Glasgow, and transport is provided throughout the holiday, leaving Glasgow by rail and returning at the end of the holiday by coach.
You’ll meet your leader at Glasgow Central Station, at 14:00 (time based on current train and ferry times). After a short train journey to Ardrossan you’ll then take the 1 hour ferry crossing to Brodick on the Isle of Arran.
From Arran, we use the Cal Mac ferries to sail across from Lochranza to the mainland, where a short drive leads to Kennacraig and the 2 hour CalMac ferry journey to Islay. Jura is then reached by a ten minute ferry journey.
On the departure day, we take the charter boat across to Tayvallich, from where a coach will take you back to Glasgow Central Station; we expect to arrive back at around 13:30. Your walk leader will accompany you on each leg of the journey.
By train to Glasgow:
There are trains to Glasgow from around the UK which take around 4½ hours from London or just over 3 hours from Manchester.
For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
By air to Glasgow:
From Glasgow International Airport take the regular airport bus to Glasgow Central station which is adjacent to the first hotel (journey time 30 mins) - see www.glasgowairport.com
All local walks transport is included in the price, and may include boat charters, local buses and private hire.
We use three different CalMac ferries on this holiday. Adrossan to Brodick, Lochranza to Claonaig and Kennacraig to Port Askaig.
The small Holy Isle Ferry will bring you across Lamlash Bay to Holy Isle. This short ferry trip takes about 10 minutes.
The Jura Passenger Ferry - is a high-speed RIB. The deep V hull offers maximum stability and comfort with seating for 12 passengers and 2 crew. The canopy guarantees you’ll stay warm and dry with the wrap around screen letting you sit back and enjoy the ever changing views.
In the interests of safety, anyone who suffers from back or neck problems or is pregnant, should consult their doctor before travelling, as you may be advised not to travel on this boat.
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
- 9 nights Full Board, en-suite accommodation
- The services of an experienced HF Holidays' walks leader
- All transport from, and back to Glasgow (see travel section) and all transport on walks days
- All chartered boat sailings and ferries and luggage transfers
Prices are per person
- Single room: £144 (complete holiday)
If at eight weeks prior to the start of the holiday a sharing partner is unavailable, a single room or room for single occupancy with associated supplement will be allocated to you instead.
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person