The west coast of Arran is far less developed than the east, and the largest settlement on it is the small village of Blackwaterfoot, overlooking Drumadoon Bay.
Arran's west coast is characterised by long pebble beaches of predominantly very light grey rock, and by wonderful and intriguing views across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Kintyre peninsula. The most striking features in the view are the island of Sanda, off Kintyre's southern tip, and the island of Davaar, guarding the entrance to Campbeltown Loch. Further north on this, the less inhabited side of Kintyre, is the fishing village of Carradale.
Blackwaterfoot is formed by a collection of buildings focused on Blackwaterfoot Harbour, which in turn is where the Clauchan Water drops over natural rock weirs and flows under a stone bridge into the sea. Actually, you need to look quite hard to find the harbour itself. Arran has a tendency to go in for tiny harbours, just big enough for two or three very small boats: and this is a typical example, barely visible even from the village's main car park that neighbours it.
Besides the small selection of shops and other tourist facilities, Blackwaterfoot is also home to one of the larger hotels on Arran, in the form of the Kinloch Hotel, overlooking the sea next to the harbour and enjoying the views over to Kintyre.
North of Blackwaterfoot the main road north leaves the coast for a few miles. In doing so it bypasses Drumadoon Point, home to the remains of an Iron Age fort. Further north on the coast is a feature known as the King's Cave. According to some accounts, this is the place where Robert the Bruce encountered the spider whose efforts convinced him to try again: and thereby changed the course of Scottish history. According to others the incident happened elsewhere: or it might have simply been an invention of Sir Walter Scott in the early 1800s.
Drumadoon Point is home to the unique 12-hole Shiskine Golf Club. This was founded in 1896 as a 9-hole course. Work to expand it to 18 holes had only just been completed when the First World War intervened, and 6 of the holes fell into disuse. The course at Shiskine is regarded by many as being amongst the best 100 courses in the UK.
The main road round the island regains the coast north of Blackwaterfoot at Tormore. Close by is Machrie Moor, accessed by a farm track. The moorland here is home to a remarkable collection of stone circles, hut circles and standing stones, largely dating back to the neolithic and bronze ages. If you had visited Machrie Moor four thousand years ago you would have found yourself in one of the most important prehistoric centres anywhere in the UK.
As the land climbs to the north of the Machrie Water, another stone circle can be found close to the main road at Auchagallon, offering especially good views over the Kilbrannan Sound. If views are your thing then a final prehistoric site in the area is worth a look. Kilpatrick Dun represents the slight remains of a stone construction on high ground to the south of Blackwaterfoot, and the climb to it gives superb views over the village.
Blackwaterfoot lies at the the western end of the "String Road" built across the centre of Arran in 1817 by Thomas Telford, the other end emerging just to the north of Brodick on Arran's east coast. A little way inland from Blackwaterfoot is Arran's only non-coastal village, Shiskine. Of particular interest here is St Molios Church.