|Distance:||23 miles (37 km)|
|Meets:||unclassified, B880, Kilbrannan Sound Ferry|
|Route outline (key)|
The A841 used to make a complete circuit of the Isle of Arran, following the coast road all of the way. However, in the early 2000s this was curtailed so that the western and southern sides of the route are now unclassified. Although unclassified roads are not generally covered on Sabre at present, this page will describe the full circuit of the island, starting half way along the road at the main ferry terminal in Brodick.
Brodick - Lochranza
Most people visiting Arran will arrive on the Calmac Ardossan - Brodick Ferry. This provides a regular year-round ferry service to Arran from Ayrshire and arrives at Brodick Pier, at the southern end of the village. Brodick is, however, not the largest settlement on the island; that honour goes to Lamlash a few miles to the south.
From the entrance to the ferry port, the A841 heads north through Brodick, running along the shore with views across Brodick Bay to Brodick Castle beyond. There are a variety of shops on the landward side of the road, from the large Co-op supermarket to small gift shops targeted at the many tourists who visit Arran. In the summer months the Paddle Steamer Waverley makes regular visits. After half a mile or so, the road turns sharp right across the Cloy Bridge, and past the golf course to reach the junction with the B880, the only other classified road on Arran. Indeed, the B880 is the straight-ahead route, but still has to give way to the A841 which sweeps round a near hairpin bend to head east along the north coast of Brodick Bay.
The road rejoins the coast as it passes Brodick Castle, and stays close as it winds its way out of the bay and north along the shore under the slopes of the islands highest peak, Goat Fell, to the small village of Corrie. A little further on the slightly smaller village of Sannox is reached, and the road swings properly inland this time, climbing through Glen Sannox to reach the northern ferry port of Lochranza.
Lochranza is where the Kilbrannan Sound Ferry docks, crossing from Claonaig on the B8001 in the summer, and from Tarbert on the A8015 in the winter months. The village sits at the head of the bay which provides a natural harbour, and is dominated by Lochranza Castle on a spit of land near the head of the bay. Shortly after passing the ferry terminal at the western end of the village, the NSL signs appear, marking the end of the A841 as it stands today.
Lochranza - Largymore
The road along the western coast of Arran is no longer a classified route; however for over 70 years it was part of the A841, and so we shall continue to describe it! Starting at Lochranza, the road continues to hug the coast; indeed at one point a stretch of old road can be seen on the shore side of the modern route. The small village of Catacol is home to one of the island's most photographed buildings - the terrace of 12 cottages known as the 12 Apostles. Beyond Catacol comes mile after mile of coastal road, with views across the Kilbrannan Sound to Kintyre, often less than 4 miles away.
Beyond Pirnmill, the road reaches Whitefarland Point, where the road climbs and then drops steeply over Imachar Point. The road is now curving round the shore of Machrie Bay, where an unclassified road turns inland to meet the B880. After crossing the Machrie Water the former A841 also heads inland briefly, behind a low hill, and down to Blackwaterfoot on Drumadoon Bay. Here the B880 terminates after taking the much shorter route across Arran from Brodick.
The route changes character beyond Blackwaterfoot, as indeed does the landscape. The narrow shoreside shelf along which the road has wound for so many miles is gone, and instead the road has to climb over the cliffs, dropping down to cross the rivers and streams. This rollercoaster route sees a number of sharp bends and steep ascents, making it the hardest bit for cyclists making a tour of the island. Eventually, however, the small settlement of Dippen is reached and just beyond Largymore, the current southern terminus of the A841.
Largymore - Brodick
This is the shortest section of the coast road, and again shares characteristics of coastal road and mountain pass. Largymore is simply the southern end of Whiting Bay these days, a village little different to any on Arran, in that it hugs the shore; the smart Victorian Villas and more modern houses looking out across the water at the mainland beyond, until the mist rolls in anyway!
Beyond the village, the road briefly turns inland behind Kingscross Point before dropping down the hill into Lamlash, the island's largest settlement, curving around the back of Lamlash Bay, a large natural harbour protected by the bulk of Holy Island (owned by a Buddhist community) across its mouth. Again, there is an assortment of shops catering for locals and tourists, and a number of hotels as well as the island Hospital.
Halfway around the bay, the A841 turns sharply inland, taking the pass across to Brodick to avoid the cliffs of Corrygills Point or the steep slopes of Clauchland Hill. A little over 2 miles later, the road drops back down to the shore at the entrance to Brodick's ferry terminal, and so our journey around Arran has come full circle.
The original route of the A841 was from Corrie on Arran's east coast south through Brodick and Lamlash to Dippin, where it became the A843 at Dippen Farm, where the road to Kildonan branches off. Fairly soon it was realised that having three A-roads on this relatively small island, with little traffic, was unnecessary and so the A841 was extended along the length of the A843, and ultimately, by the late 1920s, formed a circuit of the entire island. However, in the 2000s, the route has been trimmed back once more, so that it now starts at the northern ferry port of Lochranza and heads east, then south through Brodick and Lamlash as it always has done, to now terminate at Largymore a couple of miles short of Dippin. At both ends, the A841 ends at the NSL sign but there is nothing to suggest the start or end of a classified road.