An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

Holy Isle - Lamlash Ferry, United Kingdom
Tibetan Retreat

Distance: 8.7 km
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 7 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Firth of Clyde
  • Size: 253 hectares
  • Terrain: Some steeper, rockier hill sections on Mullack Mòr
  • Access: Holy Isle ferry from Lamlash, Isle of Arran.
  • Height gain: 423 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 361
  • Starting point: Jetty on the Holy Isle
  • Accommodation/food:

    Tea, coffee and water offered on arrival; accommodation is also available on the island.

  • Island Summary:

    The circumnavigation of Holy Isle is truly about finding the middle path to island enlightenment. This island oozes the calmest of Buddhist vibes from the moment you land and make your way to the Centre of World Peace and Health for a warm welcome and orientation talk. The circumnavigation avoids the east coast to protect the pristine nature and restoration projects and instead climbs Mullack Mòr in the centre of the island where, looking though the prayer flags fluttering from the trig point at the summit, the breathtaking views across to Goat Fell are reminiscent of Tibet itself.

  • Look out for:
    • Rare Eriskay ponies Soay sheep and Saanan goats
    • Luxuriant and spiritual organic gardens
    • vibrant Buddhist rock paintings along the west coast
    • Mysterious cave where St. Molaise lived
    • The health giving Holy Well
  • Route description:

    A relatively steep up and over Mullack Mòr on peaty, rocky paths (where there are some steep crevases to avoid) followed by an easy return route along the west coast.

  • Getting there:

    Travel to Holy Isle via Ardrossan Harbour, on the South West coast of Scotland about ten miles north of Ayr. From the ferry terminal at Ardrossan Harbour take the ferry to Brodick on the Isle of Arran. The journey takes 55 minutes. Bus 323 from the ferry terminal at Brodick connects with the ferry and takes you round to Lamlash Pier (10 minutes) from where the Holy Isle Ferry makes the 10 min journey across Lamlash Bay to Holy Isle.

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