Isle of Arran Gold Qualifying Expedition – 2022


The date for our Open Gold Qualifying Expedition to the Isle of Arran is:

  • 1-5 August 2022

The 1st of August is a travel day. Participants will meet up at the Ardrossan Ferry terminal ready to catch the ferry to Arran as a group.

The expedition week ends in Ardrossan and participants should arrange to be picked up from there. Connecting trains go to Glasgow departing from Ardrossan Harbour train station.

This webpage provides an outline of the expedition, what’s involved and what’s included. More detailed information on the expedition will be set out in our ‘Participant’s Pack’.

To book on to the expedition click here or get in touch.

What’s Involved

We will be running two types of expeditions concurrently: a Trekking Expedition and an Exploration Expedition.

Trekking Expedition – The route starts in Thunderguy in northwest Arran and ends in Brodick. The route goes over mountainous terrain and along coastlines. The terrain is rough in places and involves over 400m height gain on two days. The route is adventurous and exciting and offers amazing views. The amount of distance walked each day ranges from 14 to 17km. Footpaths can be muddy and rocky so participants must come prepared with good walking boots. Camps will be at Lochranza, Sannox and Glen Rosa. With support from us you will be expected to plan a detailed route with your team.

Exploration Expedition – The walking each day will be between 10-12km on paths and tracks with about 250m or less height gain each day. There shall be a greater emphasis on exploring and your expedition project activity. Your exploration activity could include visits to: Brodick Castle, Holy Isle, the Standing Stones of Machrie Moor, King’s Cave, Lochranza and Glen Rosa.  Your expedition could involve different themes, like archaeology and history, geology, conservation, landuse and tourism. With support from us and your own research you’ll be expected to plan your exploration of Arran.

Getting to the Isle of Arran

The Isle of Arran is close to the Ayrshire coast and about an hour by train from Glasgow Central. The ferry departs from Ardrossan on the Scottish mainland and goes to Brodick, the main town on Arran. Ardrossan Harbour train station is a short walk from the ferry terminal building.

What to bring

Click here for the full kit list including a video offering advice on packing a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition rucksack. We will provide you with tents, stoves, gas cannisters, map cases and rucksack liners.

Participants should bring the following food:

  • Enough food for the 4 day qualifying expedition: that’s three breakfasts; four lunches and three evening meals.
  • An evening meal for the evening of 1 August and breakfast the following morning.


The total cost of the expedition week is £250 per participant. This includes:

  • Ferry and buses used during the expedition week
  • Tents
  • Stoves
  • Gas Cannisters

A bit about the Island

Arran is a beautiful island, mountainous in the north with hilly, rolling countryside in the south. It is about 30km long and 15km wide and has a population of 4,600. The geology of Arran is very interesting with granite in the north, forming the mountain chain of which Goatfell is the highest hill (873m), and sedimentary rocks in the south. Arran is famous for the geological discoveries made by James Hutton in 1789, including the ‘Hutton unconformity’, providing evidence that the earth was much older than people had previously thought. The island also has a rich history, fokelore and a lots of interesting wildlife and flora. The island offers lots of subject matter for expedition group’s aim and project work.

The weather on Arran can vary a great deal so participants should be prepared for hot sunny weather (where a sun hat and sun-cream are needed) and rainy windy weather (where waterproof clothing, hat and gloves are needed).