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Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Nottingham
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Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

We are planning a (tent) camping trip to Arran next year and it would be really good to hear from others about the best time to visit from a weather / midge point of view. We are thinking of May as we have had good weather on Scotland at this time of the year on previous visits but as we are camping we are a bit concerned about midges, are they bad at that time of year? Would September be a better time to visit? I know it’s only a relatively small island but are there any advantages to being in the south of the island rather than the north or vice versa? We are currently looking at two campsites – one on Seal Shore on the coast at Kildonan in the South, the other at Lochranza in the north. Sorry for all the questions, we have had some very good advice in the past by using tripadvisor so thought we would start here! Thanks in advance.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

I tend to go in May to avoid the midges. Apart from one or two days - it's worked. September should be much the same, although the midges will can be as predictable as the weather.

I know those sites, but haven't camped at them, so can't comment on midge prevalence there.

The one at Kildonan has a nearby pub with food, and with good views. But then, Lochranza is an attractive village too. It has a ferry over to the Mull of Kintyre if that's of interest (30 minutes).

Not sure if that's what you mean by "advantages"?

Nottingham
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2. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Thanks peterscot for your swift reply, really helpful. We were wondering whether the north or the south might be better from a midge / weather point of view but I guess with it being a small island this might make little difference? Also would Lochranza or Kilnonan be the best from the point of view of easiest car travel round the island? Many thanks again.

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Roads - there are 3 roads: the coastal route - makes no difference where you are, it's 55 miles around, whichever way you go.

2 roads cross the island - one across the middle, and a small one to the south.

So, travelling around the island has a few more options in the south. But I don't think its significant.

As for midge locations - if people knew where there were midge-free zones, they would be worth a fortune. You might not see any, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Wind usually deters them, so I would avoid sheltered spots. There's a camp site near Brodick - Glen Rosa - which is a damp, sheltered glen, where I wouldn't stay again....

Nottingham
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4. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Many thanks again for your help and advice, we are planning to go in May I think and Lochranza is looking like the best option for us for camping. It seems like an age away but we are already looking forward to it !

Tauranga, New...
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5. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

As campers you might want to consider that both Kildonan and Lochranza villages have very limited food shopping but K is closer to a larger village (Whiting bay) . You could stock up in Brodick Co-op when you arrive (it's right beside the main ferry port).

Kildonan probably has a livelier pub/bar for evenings

and is more accessible to Lamlash and Brodick, the main hubs for evening entertainment (live music, events etc) and choice of places to eat out.

For get-away from all that types Lochranza is a very quiet and scenic village, good base if you are self sufficient and equipped for hill walking.

I would agree to avoid the Glen Rosa campsite as the glen is damp and therefore a midge magnet.

Edinburgh...
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6. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Glen Rosa is a pretty rough and ready campsite: it's really a field in a farm, facilities not great, and it's not far to the Brodick pubs, so should there be any people more interested in that than the outdoors it could be noisy.

South of Lochranza is Corrie - a nice pub/hotel which often has folk music.

There's also a campsite at Lamlash if you pine for city life :-)

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

It depends if you have a car (?), and where you are staying, but some people stock up at the supermarket beside the ferry terminal at Ardrossan.

I'm not saying you should do this, as many island businesses depend on visitors spending on the island. Just saying its an option some people use.

Edinburgh...
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8. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

In Lochranza you are sheltered by hills to the West and are at the bottom of a valley. In Kildonan you're not surrounded by mountains but you are exposed directly to whatever weather rolls in from the SW. So in weather terms I'd vote marginally for Lochranza. But that might be a dimpled chad.

East coast you might imaging as being more sheltered. True of Whiting Bay or Lamlash; but I can remember camping in Glen Sannox and a storm hovered over Cir Mhor, dumping large amounts of water into the Sannox burn and others - and we got flash flooded. [no campsite there - it was wild camping]. The Rosa Burn has a reputation for flooding the lower part of the Glen Rosa campsite in heavy weather. Once in a while you understand, not regularly. I have long memory.

The cases I'm referring to were a late winter storm in March, and a big Summer thunderstorm in August May and June are (on average) drier parts of the year, and you're unlikely to have problems. But given this year's weird weather I'm simply pointing out that mountain weather is unpredictable.

Nottingham
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9. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Many, many thanks everybody for your helpful advice. On balance I think Lochranza still sounds the best for us - we are looking for a peaceful break and it looks like a beautiful spot.

Let's hope the weather will be kind in May as it has been for us before in Scotland (but we'll be taking our waterproofs and plenty of layers!).

We will have a car and we usually like to stock up well on the basics, but we generally try to have lunch out and buy food locally as we find things when travelling around during the day. My guess is that I will be posting more questions closer to the time about all sorts of things, it's so helpful to hear others' ideas and views.

Many thanks again :)

Edited: 31 August 2012, 07:32
Glasgow, United...
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10. Re: Isle of Arran - weather and midge advice

Hi, If you are travelling from Ardrossan to Brodick by car and returning that way, then you will have to prebook your car onto the ferry as they can be very busy at that time of the year. www.calmac.co uk

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