The 2021 Festival is now over. Many thanks to everyone who took part and enabled it to happen in these difficult times. Hope to see you all next year!

Black Cave Coastal Scramble

Wander westwards along the wildlife-rich Kildonan shore, then clamber across a boulder field to the atmospheric Black Cave, only accessible at low tide. The route overlooks the South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA), a local marine conservation success story. The leaders of this walk, Community of Arran Seabed Trust’s (COAST) Outreach and Communications Manager Jenny Stark and wildlife guide Lucy Wallace of Arran Wild Walks will give an overview of some of the fascinating local coastal wildlife, explain how and why the area received its protected status and discuss associated marine conservation challenges and opportunities.

 | Overview


Total Ascent

Walk Duration

Rough and muddy coastal path. Circa 350m long section of clambering over sometimes slippery boulders – sure-footedness and good balance required.

Technical Rating
Easy scrambling, elements of exposure, some rough terrain.

Endurance Rating
Long distance, some steep ascent and descent, moderate amount of stamina needed in bursts, suitable for reasonably fit walkers. Have had recent experience of walking for 5-7 hours? Have you recently walked up (and down) hills without physical too much distress? If your answer is "No", we'd guess you'd be happier doing a walk rated a level lower than the one you’ve just read! As noted previously, we're into FUN so we don't want you to miss out by overdoing it.


Monday 17 May 2021

Meeting Time

Meeting Place

Kildonan (exact location will be confirmed upon booking)

 | Photo Gallery

 | Walk description

This coastal walk follows the scenic Kildonan shoreline to Bennan Head, returning the same way. The early start required to be able to access the tidal Black Cave safely has the benefit of greatly increasing chances of spotting coastal wildlife.

The area is home to a colony of common seals, and with a bit of luck, otters can be glimpsed feeding or resting on the wall-like igneous rock formations reaching out into the sea.

The initially easy although often muddy walk along the shoreline soon turns more adventurous, as a large boulder field must be negotiated to reach the destination of the walk, the Black Cave. Sure-footedness, a good sense of balance and grippy walking boots are necessary for the hands-on scramble to and from the cave, especially in wet weather. The views out across to Ailsa Craig from the impressive cleft, washed into the cliff face of Bennan Head by millennia of crashing waves, are sure worth the toil.

Route Profile

 | Advised Kit List

Essential hill gear

  • NO jeans – anyone wearing jeans will not be allowed to start the walk, and no refund will be possible
  • Stout hill walking boots
  • Appropriate walking trousers, top layers and fleece – preferably no cotton layers
  • Waterproof (not showerproof) trousers
  • Waterproof (not showerproof) jacket
  • Spare layers
  • Woollen or fleece hat
  • Gloves
  • Packed lunch and drink - please consider the use of re-useable water bottles and food wrapping.
  • Any personal medicines

Other recommended kit

  • Sun cream and insect repellent
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Spare socks
  • Blister plasters

The 2021 Festival is now over. Many thanks to everyone who took part and enabled it to happen in these difficult times. Hope to see you all next year!