Lochranza is a very pretty fishing village at the northernmost tip of Arran. Sheltering beneath the mountains of Glen Chalmadale, traditional white cottages wrap around the Loch of Ranza, and jutting into the water on a spit of land is Lochranza Castle, mostly built in the 16th century but said to be the spot at which Robert the Bruce landed on his return from Ireland in 1306, headed for his successful bid for the Scottish Crown. Lochranza is accessed from Brodick via North Sannox along the so-called Boguille - the island's steepest and most scenic hill road, with stunning views stretching across the North Arran mountains - mythical, soaring formations with names like the Devil's Punchbowl and the Castles - all the way to the Firth of Clyde. You drop into Lochranza between fields where sheep graze and across a traditional stone bridge, passing the internationally renowned Lochranza Distillery on your left and before long reaching the campsite on the right. It is a five-minute walk from the start of the village and because of its setting, it enjoys dark skies at night.
Before the Boguille was built in 1843, access to Lochranza was easier by sea. These days the loch still bustles with boats in the summer, and the short ferry connection to Claonaig, on the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll, is a busy one. It takes around 30 minutes to cross and it's advisable to arrive at the pier early in high season.