Coire Fhionn Lochan
Coire Fhionn Lochan

One of the easiest and most rewarding countryside walks on Arran takes you across open moorland to a beautiful inland lochan southeast of Catacol, in the northwestern corner of the island. Coire Fhionn Lochan is set in a bowl of hills and is blessed with a pristine white gravel beach.

The lochan is on a register of wild swimming locations, though we didn't meet anyone in the water when we visited!

The start of the path at Thundergay
The start of the path at Thundergay

The trail above Thundergay
The trail above Thundergay

The Walk

There is a small parking area near Thunderbay hamlet at NR879466, south of Catacol. There is just enough room for a couple of vehicles opposite the Thundergay access road. Please do not drive up the access road to the houses! If the parking area is full, there is another parking spot a few hundred yards further north by the Allt Mor bridge.

Follow the obvious signpost labelled 'Coire-Fhionn Lochan'. The trail curves past the last house at Thundergay, through a gate, and up a slope, then climb over a ladder stile in a deer fence. The trail runs beside a small burn called Uisge Soluis Mhoir, with several small waterfalls.

Climbing a rocky section of the trail
Climbing a rocky section of the trail

Climbing the deer fence stile
Climbing the deer fence stile

You cross the burn on stepping stones and the path turns right before reaching a ford. Past the ford, the trail gets more uneven, with large stones acting as steps. This section of the trail leads through heather moorland that can be thick with bracken.

The top of the stone steps is a section of large granite blocks. Be careful; these blocks can be slippery if the weather is wet.

Past these granite steps the going is easier. The trail leads along a corrie formed by the slopes of Meall Bhig and Meall Biorach. Carry on into the corrie and you come to Coire Fhionn Lochan. This is where the trail ends, though more intrepid hillwalkers will enjoy tackling a scramble up the surrounding peaks.

Waterfalls on Uisge Soluis Mhoir burn
Waterfalls on Uisge Soluis Mhoir burn

At the near end of the lochan is a curving white expanse of beach. This is a wonderful place to sit and relax, or enjoy a picnic.

From the parking area to the lochan is about 1.7m (2.6km) one way, or 3.25 miles (5.25km) return. The entire walk from the parking area to the lochan and back will take approximately 2 hours.

Coire is the Gaelic term for a corrie; a valley, usually formed by glacial erosion. Fhionn, or Fionn, comes from Gaelic meaning white, fair-haired, or blonde. It may also refer to Fionn mac Cumhail, a legendary hero of Irish myth, whose name is rendered into English as Finn MacCool.

The pebble beach at Coire Fhionn Lochan
The pebble beach at Coire Fhionn Lochan

About Coire Fhionn Lochan
Address: Thundergay, Catacol, Isle of Arran, Arran, Strathclyde, Scotland
Attraction Type: Countryside - Walk
Location: Parking area at NR879466 on the coastal road at Thundergay, south of Catacol.
Website: Coire Fhionn Lochan
Location map
OS: NR901459
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

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Nearest Holiday Cottages to Coire Fhionn Lochan:

Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Coire Fhionn Lochan. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.

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