New Year, new outdoor adventures around Ayrshire & Arran
2022 has arrived – and the New Year is the perfect time to start planning your new adventures! The Còig’s five routes, connected by the waters of the Firth of Clyde, offer something for adrenaline sports lovers and gentle thrill seekers alike.
From paddle power to pedal power, underwater expeditions to mountain peaks, Ayrshire and Arran is the place for your 2022 outdoor adventures!
Aim high on Goatfell
The dramatic granite ridges of Goatfell are the highest point on the Isle of Arran, at 874 metres (2,866 feet) and make for a great New Year challenge. Set out from Brodick Castle or the village of Corrie for this popular climb and drink in the beauty of the Arran landscape; you’ll pass through birch woodland and out on to the open, heather-scented moors before weaving your way between granite boulders as you approach the summit.
You’ll be rewarded with utterly breath-taking views. The panorama of the Firth of Clyde and the west coast spread out below you, all the way to Northern Ireland on a clear day. Be sure to keep an eye on the skies above you, too – you might just glimpse buzzards or even a golden eagle circling overhead.
Take on an eco-adventure
The Shire’s southern coastline lies within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere – a designation recognising the region’s world-class environment for people and nature. Join certified activity providers Adventure Carrick to explore for an afternoon, a day or a multi-day adventure.
There’s no shortage of activities to be found, whether you want to get the adrenaline pumping or ease yourself gently through the stunning landscapes. Explore the lochs, rivers or along the shoreline under paddle power, by stand up paddle board, kayak or canoe, take on the wilder landscapes with hill walking, rock climbing, abseiling or coasteering or take to two wheels for epic mountain bike trails.
Set sail on the Firth of Clyde
The waters of the Firth of Clyde are at the heart of The Còig, and no adventure here is complete without stepping aboard to explore this world-class sailing destination. Whether it’s a fast-paced, salt-spray-on-your-face RIB trip, sailing lessons on the sheltered sea passages around Bute and Cumbrae or a crewed week-long voyage under sail, your nautical adventure awaits.
The shores of The Shiel and The Shire offer plenty choice, from traditional fishing ports, and bustling harbours to modern marinas. Largs Yacht Haven is home to Flamingo Yacht Charters, offering skippered and bareboat hires and Sea Clyde will delight with private charters and tours showcasing stunning scenery, abundant sealife and fascinating history. Along the coast, Clyde Marina is home to Geronimo Sailing, offering one of the most luxurious yacht charters on the West Coast. Troon Yacht Haven and Inverkip Marina also offer boat hire opportunities.
Find your inner action-hero
Gorge walking is a unique way to explore the spectacular rugged coastlines around the Firth of Clyde and its islands. While there may be a little bit more to the activity than the name suggests, gorge walking in The Còig is an adventure suitable for anyone in search of an adrenaline rush.
Join Arran Adventure’s friendly, highly-skilled instructors for your unforgettable gorge walking experience. Don your wetsuit and begin your journey upriver – remember to take a look at the stunning views as you climb and swim your way along. Then scramble over boulders, slide down natural stone chutes, plunge into pools and leap through waterfalls from rocky ledges as you follow your guides on an extraordinary return journey.
A ‘Bute’ of a beach adventure
Make your own outdoor adventures and discover the unique wild places on the Isle of Bute. There are plenty of way-marked cycling and walking routes, allowing you to unearth the island’s rich Neolithic history as you explore the hills, woodland, wild heather-scented moors and rugged coastline.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches but be sure to make time to explore some of Bute’s best. Join the locals at Ettrick Bay, where a mile of wide sandy beach gently gives way to clear waters – perfect for a paddle. At secluded Stravanan Bay you can sink your toes into the golden sands and marvel at the vista before you, offering magnificent views out to the mountains of Arran.
Along the coast, Scalpsie Bay has distinctive coppery sands just waiting for your barefoot prints. Make your way up to Seal View to look out for the 200-strong colony of common and grey seals, hauled out on to their rocky rests, then head to the viewpoint above the road for dramatic panoramic views of Arran and the Holy Isle.
A two-island paddle
For a Cumbrae adventure at your own pace, rent out a kayak from On Your Bike in Millport and explore the picturesque Victorian promenade from the water, before paddling out into Newtown Bay. A gentle afternoon’s adventure will take you out and round The Eileans, the two small islands in the bay. Keep an eye out for the local sea and birdlife – you might spot common and grey seals, diving gannets and terns, and even porpoises or dolphins.
Adventure in style
If you’d love to take on an outdoor adventure in The Còig, but prefer your activities with a touch of luxury, look no further. Primal Adventures, in the heart of The Shiel, are experts in creating bespoke luxury adventure tours.
Enjoy an unforgettable outdoor wilderness experience, from a sub-sea snorkelling expedition to an exhilarating speedboat tour on the Firth of Clyde. A chartered helicopter flight reveals a breath-taking bird’s-eye view of the west coast and its contrasting land and seascapes. For a thrilling tour along The Còig’s five routes, join Primal for a 4×4 expedition and discover some of Scotland’s best-kept-secret places, along with stunning beaches, captivating wildlife and the warm, welcoming local culture.
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 Arran.