The Coig’s five routes offer one great adventure – and there’s no shortage of amazing sights to explore. From dramatic mountain peaks and sweeping sandy coves to ancient castles and quaint, quirky towns and villages, there’s something to delight, surprise or inspire around every corner.

Here’s our pick of just some of the amazing sights you’ll discover on your breath-taking journeys around The Shiel, The Shire, The Arran, The Bute and The Cumbrae. 

Where will your adventure begin?

Culzean Castle Sunset
NTS – Culzean Castle

Find your own fairy tale at Ailsa Craig

Route – 01: The Shire

It might be tiny, but the island of Ailsa Craig is an unmissable sight from the shores of The Shire. Rising steeply from the waves, the island towers more than a thousand feet above the sea. Known as the Granite Jewel of the Firth of Clyde, the island is a relic of Scotland’s volcanic past, formed from the plug, or neck, of an extinct volcano. In fact, its unique stone means it’s one of just two locations worldwide to provide granite for curling stones.

Ailsa Craig In The Mist

The island features in local legend, from tales of smugglers’ dens to fables of sea monsters and dragons, back in the mists of time. One thing though is for certain, seeing the unyielding silhouette of Ailsa Craig stand boldly as the setting sun sinks beneath the horizon is sight worthy of any fairy-tale.

Ailsa Craig and Culzean Castle
The view over fields towards Culzean Castle with Ailsa Craig visible on the horizon, South Ayrshire © Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland

Be captivated by colour at Kelburn

Route – 02: The Shiel

What happens when you mix a team of Brazilian graffiti artists and an ancient Scottish castle? The Castle Graffiti Project at Kelburn Castle, that’s what!

You can’t fail to be transfixed by the dramatic, vibrant bursts of colour and bold, fluid shapes embracing the castle’s southern walls and turrets – completely contrasting with the 13th century building, its precise lines and solid presence.

The spectacular sights at Kelburn don’t end here – when you finally tear your eyes away from the castle, be sure to explore Kelburn’s estate. You’ll find formal gardens, imaginative play areas and the waterfalls and grottos of The Glen – known for some of Scotland’s most beautiful woodlands and leading to breath-taking views over the islands of the Firth of Clyde.

Kelburn Castle and Estate View
© Kelburn Castle and Estate

Let Glen Rosa take your breath away

Route – 03: The Arran

Glen Rosa is a little piece of Scottish heaven, on the Isle of Arran. Rising above Brodick, the glen’s stunning tracks and trails lead you towards the dramatic granite ridges of mighty Goatfell. Wind through the woodland and out onto the wild, open moors, following the river. The route is gentle, but the spectacular views might just leave you breathless.

Man Standing At Goatfell Arran
Goatfell, Isle of Arran

The Blue Pool is just one of several fantastic plunge pools, perfect for a picnic stop… or a spot of wild swimming, if you’re feeling adventurous!

Marvel at Mount Stuart House

Route – 04: The Bute

Mount Stuart House is like no other stately home you’ve ever seen – to visit the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Bute is an experience in itself. Set outside the Isle of Bute’s main town of Rothesay, Mount Stuart’s expansive estate will wow before you even set eyes on the mansion. The 300 acres of gardens include a globally significant collection of native and exotic plant-life, all waiting to be explored.

Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute

The house is truly an architectural feast – the main building is a celebration of 19th century Gothic Revival flamboyance, in striking contrast to the older, more chaste, Georgian wings. The elaborate facades are just a taste of what awaits within…

Drawing Room, Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute

The lavish interior was inspired by astrology, art and mythology, all meticulously designed to spark a sense of wonder. Gaze at a map of the stars, crystal-studded, on the vaulted ceiling 80 feet above the Marble Hall. Watch as shafts of sunlight illuminate stained glass windows depicting the Zodiac and the seasons, before shining on pre-designed spots throughout the day. And, no visit is complete without a visit the Marble Chapel, with its elaborate spired tower and Cosmati flooring – a decorative style shared with the Sistine Chapel.

Rothesay, Isle of Bute © Peter Ribbeck

Looking for more adventures around The Coig?

The Còig’s five routes offer unforgettable experiences around the Clyde Coast and Islands – take a look and plan your next adventure along The Shire, The Shiel, The Arran, The Bute or The Cumbrae!

Be sure to download The Coig app to discover the best of Ayrshire and the Firth of Clyde on-the-go, and join the adventure with #TheCoig on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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