Adventure on the Isle of Arran


bushcraft course | Scotland | Isle of Arran

Who’s it for?

Isle of Arran | Adventure | Bushcraft | Expedition

This 5 day trip to the beautiful Isle of Arran has been put together for anyone who would like a little adventure, experience some truly stunning scenery, meet some great people and to learn new bushcraft skills, or test out existing ones, in a variety of habitats.  This certainly includes us!

The Isle of Arran has been described as ‘Scotland in miniature’ and has rugged granite peaks in the north and rolling hills, glens and  large coniferous forests to the south; the coastline varies from sandy beaches to sheer cliffs.  This tremendous variety of habitats (and weather!) will allow you to really hone those bushcraft skills.

What will I do?

For this expedition to the Isle of Arran we will be working closely with Mark Bunyan, lead instructor at Arran Bushcraft & Survival.  Our base camp is in Stronach Wood, high above the village of Brodick, with views to mainland Scotland in one direction and to Goat Fell (the highest peak on the island) in the other.  We’ll be taking in a wide variety of habitats including coniferous, broadleaf, moorland, beach, burn and estuary.

During your time on Arran, you will:

  • Practice your bushcraft skills in a largely coniferous forest with different materials to hand:
    • Build a debris shelters and bedding from larch, spruce and western hemlock
    • Make strong cordage from larch roots
    • Learn different knife strokes and carving techniques to fashion simple camp accessories
    • Practice fire lighting using blow grass, honeysuckle, bracken and gorse as your tinder
    • Have a go at individual fire by friction using spruce and lime
    • group fire by friction using ‘harder’ wood such as hawthorn
    • Use a variety of mauls, axes and hatchets in a safe and efficient way
    • Make pine resin glue sticks
    • Identifing and locating water supplies, including digging gypsy wells
    • Make your own improvised water filter from materials you gather
    • Try out a variety of backcountry cooking techniques, including cooking venison in a pit oven and dutch oven
    • Learn about various herbal plants you can find in the wild and their medicinal and culinary uses
    • Make candles made from pine resin and limpet shells
    • Sharpen your knife so it can easily slice through a sheet of paper.
  • We’ll include a session on route planning and navigation including types of maps, scales, grid references, pacing, taking and walking to a bearing and hand railing
  • It would be a pity to travel to Arran and not see as much of it as possible, so we’ll spend a day exploring the island by foot and take in some of the stunning scenery of north Arran.  Bring a towel for a swim in the Blue Pools of Glen Rosa!
  • You’ll also get an exclusive tour of the Arran mountain rescue station
  • The island has a fantastic selection of wildlife so we’ll be making the most of the opportunity, honing our tracking skills, and hopefully see red deer, otters, red squirrels, ravens, golden eagles, ospreys, buzzards, hawks, not to mention dolphins, seals and porpoises along the coast
  • Spending a day foraging the magnificent coastline and forests of Arran, taking in the rocky north of the island as well as the sandy south

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You can see all of our course dates here.

Other information

Location: Isle of Arran, Scotland.  You can get to the Isle of Arran by Cal-Mac Ferries from the port of Ardrossan (a train connection is available from Glasgow Central Station); ferries run regularly and the crossing takes 55 minutes to Brodick.  It is cheaper to park your car in Ardrossan than it is to bring it on the ferry to Arran, but we can park up a couple of cars at the site.

Duration: 5 days

Start: 10am Monday (If you arrive the day before you could stay in a B&B in Brodick or Lamlash; there is a good campsite in Lamlash, called Middletons, and nearby pub called The Drift)

End: 3pm Friday (We can take you into Brodick or Lamlash)

Course size: Maximum of 10 students; we’ve increased the number of students as we will be joined by another qualified instructor

Catering: Fully catered, although we’ll all need to help out with the cooking and washing up.

You might also find these Frequently Asked Questions useful.

What our customer say

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 5 reviews
by Christopher Culmer on Jack Raven Bushcraft

Fantastic week.Food is to die for.We made a 2 man natural shelter which was fun.Fire lighting with natural tinders with I had not done before.My favourite part was the hikes and going to the mountain rescue base and having a ride in the Argocat!

by Richard Dabell on Jack Raven Bushcraft
Great week

Taking the trip this year was a big treat for me as I was there for my birthday, I had done 3 previous courses with Jack Raven so had no doubt it would be excellent. I really enjoyed my time away there and cannot wait to visit Arran again.

by Colin Elton on Jack Raven Bushcraft

Thank you for an awesome time on Arran. Would highly recommend anyone who enjoys bushcraft to visit Arran with the Jack Raven Bushcraft team.

by Stefano peria on Jack Raven Bushcraft
I didn't want to leave

I had an amazing time! Arran is so idyllic and there is so much to see. It was great to experience a different part of the country to practise bushcraft.  And to walk and explore the beautiful countryside and coastline spotting seals and the majestic stags.Our host and guide Mark was very friendly and knew the island like the back of his hand, his camp was very well set up and hidden away in the forest.It was one of the best holidays I ever had and I didn't want to leave.

by Joe Clitheroe on Jack Raven Bushcraft

What a fantastic trip! If you have never been to Scotland before, and your looking for an adventure that's a bit different, give this a go! The location and scenery on Arran are stunning, the food was outstanding and Mark Bunyan was an excellent host. He made us all feel very welcome and was extremely knowledgeable about the island. The local residents of Arran were also very helpful and give the island a real community feel.

The mainly coniferous forests make for a different kind of bushcraft experience and the natural scenery provides more variety and some stunning locations. The camp set up was more than adequate, with the opportunity to pitch your tent or hammock in quite secluded areas of the woodland. We were even lucky enough to have a solar shower. The food, as anyone who has been on a course with Jack Raven knows, was epic. The venison was amazing.

The whole week was a good mix of being in camp practicing new and existing bushcraft skills, but also getting out and exploring some of the beautiful scenery of Arran. There is also the opportunity to purchase souvenirs and local products from the Island.

A magical place to be and only wish I had more time to explore the island. A big thanks to Mark, Gary and Nicola.