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Isle of Arran
OS grid reference NR950359
Gaelic name About this sound Eilean Arainn
Norse name Herrey[1]
Meaning of name Possibly Brythonic for "high place"
Area and summit
Area 43,201 hectares (167 sq mi)
Area rank 7[2]
Highest elevation Goat Fell 874 m (2,870 ft)
Population (2001) 5,058[3]
Population rank 6[3] out of 97
Main settlement Brodick
Island group Firth of Clyde
Local Authority North Ayrshire
Flag of Scotland.svg Lymphad3.svg
References [4]
If shown, area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively.

Arran or the Isle of Arran (Scots Gaelic: Eilean Arainn) is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, and with an area of 432 square kilometres (167 sq mi) is the seventh largest Scottish island. It is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire and the 2001 census had a resident population of 5,058. Although commonly associated with the Hebrides, with which it shares many cultural and physical similarities, these latter islands are located to the north and west beyond Kintyre. Arran is mountainous and has been described as a "geologist's paradise".[5]

There has been continuous habitation since the early Neolithic period, from which time on there are numerous prehistoric remains. From the 6th century on Goidelic-speaking peoples from Ireland colonised the island and it became a centre of religious activity. During the troubled Viking Age Arran became the property of the Norwegian crown before becoming formally absorbed by the kingdom of Scotland in the thirteenth century. The 19th century "clearances" led to significant reductions in population and the end of the Gaelic language and way of life.

The economy and population have recovered in recent years, the main industry being tourism. There is diversity of wildlife, including three species of tree endemic to the area.



Most of the islands of Scotland have been occupied by the speakers of at least four languages since the Iron Age, and many of the names of these islands have more than one possible meaning as a result. Arran is therefore not unusual in that the derivation of the name is far from clear. Mac an Tàilleir (2003) states that "it is said to be unrelated to the name Aran in Ireland" (which means "kidney shaped", cf Irish ára "kidney").[6] Unusually for a Scottish island, Haswell-Smith (2004) offers a Brythonic derivation and a meaning of "high place" which at least corresponds with the geography - Arran is significantly loftier than all the land that immediately surrounds it along the shores of the Firth of Clyde.[5]

Any other Brythonic place names that may have existed were later replaced as the Goidelic-speaking Gaels spread from Ireland via their adjacent kingdom of Dál Riata. During the Viking Age the island, along with the vast majority of the Scottish islands, became the property of the Norwegian crown, at which time it may have been known as "Herrey" or "Hersey". As a result of this Norse influence, many current place names on Arran are of Viking origin.[7]

Geography and geology

Looking from Brodick harbour to Goat Fell

The island lies in the Firth of Clyde between Ayr and Kintyre. The profile of the north Arran hills as seen from the Ayrshire coast is a well-known sight referred to as the "Sleeping Warrior" due to its resemblance to a resting human figure.[8][9] The highest of these hills is Goat Fell at 873.5 metres (2,866 ft).[10] There are three other Corbetts all in the north east; Caisteal Abhail, Cìr Mhòr and Beinn Tarsuinn. Bheinn Bharrain is the highest peak in the north west at 721 metres (2,370 ft).[11]

The largest valley on the island is Glen Iorsa to the west, whilst narrow Glen Sannox (Gaelic: Gleann Shannaig) and Glen Rosa (Gaelic: Gleann Ròsa) to the east surround Goat Fell. The terrain to the south is less mountainous, although a considerable portion of the interior lies above 350 metres (1,100 ft) and the summit of A' Chruach reaches 512 metres (1,680 ft).[12][13] There are two other Marilyns in the south, Tighvein and Beinn Bhreac.

The island is sometimes referred to as "Scotland in miniature", as it is divided into "Highland" and "Lowland" areas by the Highland Boundary Fault which runs northeast to southwest across Scotland.[14] The island is a popular destination for geologists, who come to see intrusive igneous landforms such as sills and dykes as well as sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks ranging in age from Precambrian to Mesozoic.

Satellite photo of Arran. The island to the east of Arran is Holy Isle and the tiny island just visible to the south of Arran is Pladda.

Most of the interior of the northern half of the island is taken up by a large granite batholith that was created by substantial volcanic activity around 60 million years ago in the Tertiary period. There is an older outer ring of coarse granites and an inner core of finer grained material. Sedimentary rocks dominate the southern half of the island, especially Old and New Red Sandstone. Some of these sandstones contain fulgurites - pitted marks that may have been created by Permian lightening strikes.[14] Sand dunes are preserved in Permian sandstones near Brodick, there are localised outcrops of Triassic rocks and even a rare example of Cretaceous chalk.[15][16] During the nineteenth century Barytes (a heavy soft white material sometimes used as a substitute for white lead in paint) was mined near Sannox. First discovered in 1840, nearly 5,000 tons were produced between 1853 and 1862. The mine was closed by the 11th Duke of Hamilton on the grounds that it 'spoiled the solemn grandeur of the scene' but was reopened after the First World War and operated until 1938 when the vein ran out [17].

Visiting in 1787, the geologist James Hutton found his first example of an unconformity to the north of Newton Point near Lochranza, which provided evidence for his Plutonist theories of uniformitarianism and about the age of the Earth. This spot is one of the most famous places in the study of geology.[18][19]

The Pleistocene glaciations almost entirely covered Scotland in ice and Arran's highest peaks may have been nunataks at this time.[14] After the last retreat of the ice at the close of the Pleistocene epoch sea levels were up to 70 metres (230 ft) lower than at present and it is likely that circa 14,000 BP the island was connected to mainland Scotland.[20] Sea level changes and the isostatic rise of land makes charting post-glacial coastlines a complex task, but it is evident that the island is ringed by post glacial raised beaches.[21] King's Cave on the south west coast is an example of an emergent landform on such a raised beach. This cave, which is over 30.5 metres (100 ft) long and up to 15.3 metres (50 ft) high, lies well above the present day sea level.[22][23][24] There are tall sea cliffs to the north east including large rock slides under the heights of Torr Reamhar and at Scriden (An Scriodan) at the far north end of the island.[13][25]



Lochranza village and castle

Arran has a number of villages that are mainly found around the shoreline. The "capital" is Brodick (Old Norse: "broad bay"), which is the site of the ferry terminal, several hotels and the majority of shops, although Lamlash is actually the largest village on the island. (In 2001 the former's population was 621 and Lamlash's was 1,010.)[26] Brodick Castle is a seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. Other villages include Lochranza in the north, Corrie in the north east, Blackwaterfoot in the south west, Kildonan in the south and Whiting Bay in the south east.

Surrounding islands

Arran has three smaller satellite islands: Holy Isle lies to the east opposite Lamlash, Pladda is located off Arran's south coast and tiny Hamilton Isle lies just off Clauchlands Point 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) north of Holy Isle. Eilean na h-Àirde Bàine off the south west of Arran at Corriecravie is a skerry connected to Arran at low tide.

Other islands in the Firth of Clyde include Bute, Great Cumbrae and Inchmarnock.


The influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream create a mild oceanic climate. Temperatures are generally cool, averaging about 6 °C (43 °F) in January and 14 °C (57 °F) in July at sea level.[27]

The southern half of the island, being less mountainous has a more favourable climate than the northern half and the east coast is more sheltered from the prevailing winds than the west and south.

Snow seldom lies at sea level and frosts are less frequent than the mainland. In common with most islands of the west coast of Scotland, rainfall is generally high at between 1,500 mm (59 in) per annum in the south and west and 1,900 mm (75 in) per annum in the north and east. The mountains are wetter still with the summits receiving over 2,550 mm (100 in) annually. May and June are the sunniest months, with upwards of 200 hours of bright sunshine being recorded on average.[27]



Machrie Moor Standing Stones

Arran has a particular concentration of early Neolithic Clyde Cairns, a form of Gallery grave. The typical style of these structures is that of a rectangular or trapezoidal stone and earth mound that encloses a chamber lined with larger stones labs. Pottery and bone fragments found inside the chambers suggest they were used for internment and some have forecourts, which may have been an area for public display or ritual. There are two good examples in Monamore Glen east of the village of Lamlash,[28] and similar structures called the Giant's Graves above Whiting Bay. There are numerous standing stones dating from prehistoric times, including six stone circles on Machrie Moor (Gaelic: Am Machaire).[29]

Several Bronze Age sites have been excavated, including "Ossian's Mound" near Clachaig and a cairn near Blackwaterfoot that produced a bronze dagger and a gold fillet.[30] Torr a' Chaisteal Dun in the south west near Sliddery is the ruin of an Iron Age fortified structure dating from about AD 200. The original walls would have been 3 metres (9.8 ft) or more thick and enclosed a circular area about 14 metres (46 ft) in diameter.[31]

Gaels, Vikings and the medieval era

An ancient Irish poem called Agalllamh na Senorach, first recorded in the 13th century, describes the attractions of the island.

Arran of the many stags
The sea strikes against her shoulders,
Companies of men can feed there,
Blue spears are reddended among her boulders.
Merry hinds are on her hills,
Juicy berries are there for food,
Refreshing water in her streams,
Nuts in plenty in the wood.[32]

The monastery of Aileach founded by St. Brendan in the 6th century may have been on Arran and St. Molaise was also active, with Holy Isle being a centre of his activities.[33] The caves below Keil Point (Gaelic: Rubha na Cille) contain a slab which may have been an ancient altar. This stone has two petrosomatoglyphs on it, the prints of two right feet, said to be of Saint Columba.[34]

In the 11th century Arran became part of the Sodor (Old Norse: 'Suðr-eyjar'), or South Isles of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, but on the death of Godred Crovan in 1095 all the isles came under the direct rule of Magnus III of Norway. Lagman (1103-1104) restored local rule. After the death of Somerled, Arran and Bute were ruled by his son Angus.[35] In 1237, the Scottish isles broke away completely from the Isle of Man and became an independent kingdom, before being ceded to the Scottish crown in 1266 by the Treaty of Perth. A substantial Viking grave has been discovered near King's Cross south of Lamlash, containing whalebone, iron rivets and nails, fragments of bronze and a 9th century bronze coin, and another grave of similar date nearby yielded a sword and shield.[36] Arran was also part of the medieval Bishopric of Sodor and Man.

On the opposite side of the island near Blackwaterfoot is the King's Cave (see above) where Robert the Bruce is said to have taken shelter in the 14th century.[37] Bruce returned to the island in 1326, having earlier granted lands to Fergus MacLouis for assistance rendered during his time of concealment there. Brodick Castle played a prominent part in the island's medieval history. Probably dating from the 13th century, it was captured by English forces during the Wars of Independence before being taken back by Scottish troops in 1307. It was badly damaged by action from English ships in 1406 and sustained an attack by John of Islay, the Lord of the Isles in 1455. Originally a seat of the Clan Stewart of Menteith it passed to the Boyd family in the 15th century.[38][39]

Modern era

At the commencement of the Early modern period James, Duke of Hamilton became a privy counsellor to James IV of Scotland and helped to arrange his marriage to Princess Margaret Tudor of England. As a reward he was created Earl of Arran in 1503. The local economy for much of this period was based on the run rig system, the basic crops being oats, barley and potatoes and the population slowly grew to about 6,500. In the early 19th century Alexander, tenth Duke of Hamilton (1767–1852) embarked on a programme of clearances that had a devastating effect on the island's population. These "improvements" typically led to the land being rented out to as many as twenty-seven families being converted into a single farm. In some cases, alternative land was promised in Canada for each adult emigrant male. In April 1829, for example, 86 islanders boarded the brig Caledonia for the two-month journey, half their fares being paid for by the Duke. However, on arrival in Quebec only 41 hectares (100 acres) was made available to the heads of extended families. Whole villages were removed and the Gaelic culture of the island devastated. The writer James Hogg wrote: "Ah! Wae's me. I hear the Duke of Hamilton's crofters are a' gaun away, man and mother's son, frae the Isle o' Arran. Pity on us!".[40] A memorial to this early form of ethnic cleansing has been constructed on the shore at Lamlash, paid for by a Canadian descendant of the emigrants.[41][42]

Overview of population trends

Year Population[43]
1755 3,646
1782 5,804
1821 6,600
1841 6,241
1881 4,730
1891 4,824
Year Population
1931 4,506
1961 3,700
1971 3,564
1981 3,845
1991 4,474
2001 5,058


Nonetheless, Gaelic was still spoken widely on Arran at the beginning of the 20th century. The 1901 Census reported 25-49% Gaelic speakers on the eastern side of the island and 50-74% on the western side of the island. By 1921 the percentage for the whole island had dropped to less than 25%. From then onwards, the number of speakers fell into the vague 0-24.9% bracket.[44] However, Nils Holmer quotes the Féillire (a Gaelic almanack) reporting 4,532 inhabitants on the island in 1931 with 605 Gaelic speakers, showing that Gaelic had declined to about 13% of the population.[45] It continued to decline until the last native speakers of Arran Gaelic died in the 1990s. The 1.6% Gaelic speakers in the 1991 Census and the 1.5% in the 2001 Census represent Gaelic speakers from other areas settling on the island.[46]

Arran Gaelic is reasonably well documented. Holmer carried out fieldwork on the island in 1938, reporting Gaelic being spoken by "a fair number of old inhabitants". He interviewed 53 informants from various locations and his description of the dialect, The Gaelic of Arran, was published in 1957 and runs to 211 pages of phonological, grammatical and lexical information. The Survey of the Gaelic Dialects of Scotland, which collected Gaelic dialect data in Scotland between 1950 and 1963 also interviewed 5 native speakers of Arran Gaelic.[47]

The Arran dialect falls firmly into the southern group of Gaelic dialects (referred to as the "peripheral" dialects in Celtic studies) and thus shows:[45]

  • a glottal stop replacing an Old Irish hiatus, eg rathad 'road' /rɛʔət̪/[45] (normally /rˠa.ət̪/)
  • the dropping of /h/ between vowels e.g. athair 'father' /aəɾ/[45] (normally /ahəɾʲ/)
  • the preservation of a long l, n and r, e.g. fann 'weak' /fan̪ˠː/[45] (normally /faun̪ˠ/ with diphthongisation).

The most unusual feature of Arran Gaelic is the /w/ glide after labials before a front vowel, eg math 'good' /mwɛh/[45] (normally /mah/).

Mac an Tàilleir (2003) notes that the island has a poetic name Arainn nan Aighean Iomadh - "Arran of the many stags" and that a native of the island or Arannach is also nick-named coinean mòr in Gaelic, meaning "big rabbit".[6] Locally, Arainn was pronounced /ɛɾɪɲ/.[45]

Local government

Arran's location within Ayrshire

From the seventeenth century to the late twentieth century Arran was part of the County of Bute.[48] After the 1975 reorganisation of local government Arran became part of the district of Argyll and Bute in Strathclyde Region.

This two-tier system of local government lasted until 1996 when the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 came into effect, abolishing the regions and districts and replacing them with 32 unitary authorities.[49] Arran is now in the North Ayrshire council area, along with some of the constituent islands of the old County of Bute.

For some statistical purposes Arran is within the registration county of Ayrshire and for ceremonial purposes within the lieutenancy area of Ayrshire and Arran.

In the House of Commons, Arran has been contained since 2005 in the Ayrshire North and Arran constituency, currently represented by Katy Clark of the Labour Party. It was previously contained in the seat of Cunninghame North from 1983 to 2005, and in Ayrshire North and Bute from 1918 to 1983.

In the Scottish Parliament, Arran is in the constituency of Cunninghame North, represented by Kenneth Gibson of the SNP. Labour held the seat until 2007, when the SNP gained it with a majority of just 48, making it currently the most marginal seat at Holyrood.[50]


Arran is connected with the Scottish mainland by two Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, one from Brodick to Ardrossan and the second (in summertime only) from Lochranza to Claonaig.[51] Summer day trips are also available on board the paddle steamer PS Waverley and a summertime service operated by a local resident connects Lamlash to the neighbouring Holy Isle.

Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Caledonian Isles, approaches Brodick. Seen from Goat Fell summit.

There are three roads on the island. The 90 kilometres (56 mi) long coast road circumnavigates the island. In 2007, a 48 kilometres (30 mi) stretch of this road, previously designated as the A841, was de-classified to a 'C' road. Travelling south from Whiting Bay, the C147 goes round the south coast continuing north up the west coast of the island to Lochranza. At this point the road becomes the A841 down the east coast back to Whiting Bay.[52]

At one point the coast road ventures inland, this is to climb the 200 metres (660 ft) pass at Boguillie between Creag Ghlas Laggan and Caisteal Abhail, located between Sannox and Lochranza.[13]

The other two roads run across from the east to the west side of the island. The main cross-island road is the 19 kilometres (12 mi) long B880 from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot called "The String", which climbs over Gleann an t-Suidhe. About 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) along the B880 from Brodick, a minor road branches off to the right to Machrie. The single track road "The Ross" runs 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) miles from Lamlash to Lagg and Sliddery via Glen Scorodale (Gaelic: Gleann Sgoradail).[53]

The island can be explored using public transport using a bus service operated by Stagecoach.[54]


The main industry of the island is tourism, one of the main attractions being the imposing Brodick Castle, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The Auchrannie Resort, which contains 2 hotels, 3 restaurants and 2 leisure complexes, is one of biggest employers on island.[55] Local businesses include the Arran Distillery, which was built in 1991 in Lochranza, and Arran Aromatics, which produces a range of toiletries.

Farming and forestry are other important industries. 2008 plans for a large salmon farm holding 800,000 or more fish in Lamlash Bay have been criticised by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust. They feared the facility could jeopardise Scotland's first community marine conservation area, which was announced in September 2008.[56][57]

Arran Brewery

The Brewery logo

The Arran Brewery is a microbrewery founded in March 2000 in Cladach, near Brodick. The brewery produces three regular cask and bottled beers: Arran Ale 3.8% abv, Arran Dark 4.3% and the wheat beer Arran Blonde 5.0% (the most popular brand). In addition there are two seasonal brews - one in summer and in winter - the dark and gingery Arran Fireside. Additional brews from the Arran Distillery include Arran Sunset, Arran Milestone and Red Squirrel.[58]

The Arran Brewery went into liquidation in May 2008[59] and was subsequently sold to Marketing Management Services International Ltd. in June 2008, with a view to resuming production shortly thereafter.[60] The brewery is now back in production.

Culture, media and the arts

The Scottish Gaelic dialect of Arran died out when the last speaker Donald Craig died in the 1970s. However, there is now a Gaelic House in Brodick, set up at the end of the 1990s. Brodick Castle features on the Royal Bank of Scotland £20 note and Lochranza Castle was used as the model for the castle in the Tintin adventure The Black Island.

Arran has two newspapers: the Arran Voice and The Arran Banner. The latter was listed in the Guinness Book of Records in November 1984 under the "Newspaper Records" section. Under the sub-heading of "Most read" it was entered under the title of "local newspaper which achieves the closest to a saturation circulation in its area". The entry reads: "The Arran Banner, founded in 1974, has a readership of more than 97 per cent in Britain’s seventh largest off-shore island".[61] However, this claim is now unlikely to be wholly true with the arrival of the island's second newspaper.

The knitting style used to create Aran sweaters is often mistakenly associated with the Isle of Arran rather than the Irish Aran Islands.[62]

Natural history

The island has three endemic species of tree, the Arran Whitebeams.[63] These trees are the Scottish or Arran Whitebeam (Sorbus arranensis), the Bastard Mountain Ash or Cut-leaved Whitebeam (Sorbus pseudofennica)[64] and the Catacol Whitebeam (Sorbus pseudomeinichii). If rarity is measured by numbers alone they are amongst the most endangered tree species in the world. They are protected in Glen Diomhan off Glen Catacol, at the north end of the island by a partly fenced off National Nature Reserve, and are monitored by staff from Scottish Natural Heritage. Only 236 Sorbus pseudofennica and 283 Sorbus arranensis were recorded as mature trees in 1980.[65] They are typically trees of the mountain slopes, close to the tree line. However, they will grow at lower altitudes, and are being preserved within Brodick Country Park.

Over 200 species of bird have been recorded on Arran including Black Guillemot, Eider, Peregrine Falcon and the Golden Eagle.[66] In 1981 there were 28 Ptarmigan on Arran, but in 2009 it was reported that extensive surveys had been unable to record any.[67][68] Similarly, the Red-billed Chough no longer breeds on the island.[69]

Red Deer are numerous on the northern hills, and there are populations of Red Squirrel, Badger, Otter, Adder and Common Lizard. Offshore there are Harbour Porpoises, Basking Sharks and various species of dolphin.[66]

Notable residents

See also



  1. ^ Downie (1933) p. 38. Downie also offers "Hersey".
  2. ^ Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. 502-03. Modified to include bridged islands. ISBN 1841954543.  
  3. ^ a b General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  4. ^ Infobox reference is Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. pp. 11-17. unless otherwise stated. ISBN 1841954543.  
  5. ^ a b Haswell-Smith (2004) pp. 11-17.
  6. ^ a b Iain Mac an Tàilleir (2003). "Placenames" (pdf). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 2007-07-23.  
  7. ^ Downie (1933) pp. 38–39.
  8. ^ Keay & Keay (1994) p. 42 refer to "the profile of the 'Sleeping Warrior' of Arran as seen from the Clyde Coast". Various websites claim the phrase refers to single hills, none of which individually resemble a reclining human figure.
  9. ^ "Arran Page 1" Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  10. ^ Downie (1933) p. 2.
  11. ^ Johnstone et al. (1990) pp. 223-26.
  12. ^ Haswell-Smith (1994) p. 13.
  13. ^ a b c "Get-a-map". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  14. ^ a b c McKirdy et al. (2007) pp. 297- 301.
  15. ^ McKirdy et al. (2007) pp. 143, 144, 149.
  16. ^ The implications of this small chalk outcrop are considerable. It suggests that like much of southern England, Scotland once had considerable deposits of this material that have been subsequently eroded away, although there is no clear-cut evidence of this. See McKirdy et al. (2007) p. 298.
  17. ^ The Isle of Arran by Ken Hall ISBN 9781840331356
  18. ^ Keith Montgomery (2003). "Siccar Point and Teaching the History of Geology" (pdf). University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 26 March 2008.  
  19. ^ "Hutton's Unconformity - Lochranza, Isle of Arran, UK - Places of Geologic Significance on". Retrieved 20 October 2008.   The site was not sufficiently convincing for him to publish his find until the discovery of a second site near Jedburgh.
  20. ^ Murray (1973) pp. 68-69.
  21. ^ McKirdy et al. (2007) p. 28.
  22. ^ Andrew Rogie. "Geology of Arran". Retrieved 2008-11-09.  
  23. ^ Downie (1933) pp. 70-71.
  24. ^ This cave is one of several associated with the legend of Robert the Bruce and the spider. See McKirdy et al. (2007) p. 301.
  25. ^ Downie (1933) p. 19 records that the Scriden rocks fell "it is said, some two hundred years ago, with a concussion that shook the earth and was heard in Bute and Argyllshire".
  26. ^ "Scrol Browser" Scotland's Census Results Online. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
  27. ^ a b "Regional mapped climate averages" Met Office. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  28. ^ Noble (2006) pp. 104–08.
  29. ^ "Machrie Moor Stone Circles". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  30. ^ Downie (1933) pp. 29–30.
  31. ^ "Torr a' Chaisteal Dun". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  32. ^ Downie (1933) pp. 34–35.
  33. ^ Downie (1933) pp. 35–37.
  34. ^ Beare (1996) p. 26.
  35. ^ Murray (1973) p. 167–71.
  36. ^ Downie (1933) pp. 38–40.
  37. ^ "King's Cave: The cave at Drummadoon". Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  38. ^ Downie (1933) pp.42–43. He states that the 1406 attack led by the Earl of Lennox "utterly destroyed" the structure.
  39. ^ Coventry (2008) pp. 53, 255, 551.
  40. ^ Quoted by Haswell Smith (2004) p. 12.
  41. ^ Mackillop, Dugald "The History of the Highland Clearances: Buteshire - Arran" Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  42. ^ "Lagantuine - Isle of Arran, Ayrshire UK" Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  43. ^ Haswell Smith (2004) p. 11.
  44. ^ Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2004) 1901-2001 Gaelic in the Census (PowerPoint ) Linguae Celticae. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  45. ^ a b c d e f g Holmer (1957) p. vii.
  46. ^ Fleming, D. (2003) Occasional Paper 10 (pdf) General Register Office for Scotland. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  47. ^ Ó Dochartaigh (1997) p. 84-85.
  48. ^ Downie (1933) p. 1 confirms this status at the publication date.
  49. ^ With respect to Scotland the phrase "unitary authority" is merely descriptive; in the United Kingdom the phrase is a designation that is specific to English local government areas.
  50. ^ "2007 Election Results Analysis: Table 18" (pdf) Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  51. ^ "Arran: Getting there/around" Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  52. ^ "Arran coast road reclassified" Arran Coast Road. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  53. ^ Downie (1933) p. 5.
  54. ^ "Arran Bus Timetable 2009" (pdf) Stagecoach. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  55. ^ "Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran" Retrieved 1 March 2008
  56. ^ Ross, John (27 February 2008). "Fish-farm plan sparks fears for marine reserve". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). Retrieved 22 February 2009.  
  57. ^ "Sun sets on fishing in island bay". BBC News. 21 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008.  
  58. ^ "Isle of Arran Brewery". Arran Brew Ltd. Retrieved 2008-11-09.  
  59. ^ Pearce, Daniel (9 May 2008). "Arran Brewery Company goes into administration". The Publican. Retrieved 22 May 2008.  
  60. ^ Lyon, Jennifer (20 June, 2008). "Cheers! We’re back in business". Arran Banner.!_We%92re_back_in_business.html. Retrieved 22 May 2008.  
  61. ^ "Banner goes from strength to strength." (13 April 2007) Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  62. ^ Morris, Johnny (17 March 2006). "Grail Trail". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2007.  
  63. ^ Johnston, Ian (15 June 2007). "Trees on Arran 'are a whole new species'". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). Retrieved 18 June 2007.  
  64. ^ Donald Rodger, John Stokes & James Ogilve (2006). Heritage Trees of Scotland. The Tree Council. p. 58. ISBN 0-904853-03-9.  
  65. ^ Eric Bignal (1980). "The endemic whitebeams of North Arran". The Glasgow Naturalist 20 (1): 60–64.  
  66. ^ a b "Arran Wildlife". Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  67. ^ "Iconic Birds at Risk". Sunday Herald (Glasgow). 1 February 2009.   Available as Ptarmigan disappearing from southern Scotland
  68. ^ Downie (1933) p. 132 includes the Ptarmigan in a list of birds no longer extant on the island at that time including the Red Kite, Hobby, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Hen Harrier and Capercaillie.
  69. ^ "A6.102a Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (breeding)" (pdf) JNCC. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
  70. ^ "Sir Kenneth Calman - biography" BMA. Retrieved 20 June 2009.


  • Beare, Beryl (1996) Scotland. Myths & Legends. Avonmouth. Parragon. ISBN 0752516949
  • Coventry, Martin (2008) Castles of the Clans. Musselburgh. Goblinshead. ISBN 9781899874361
  • Downie, R. Angus (1933) All About Arran. Glasgow. Blackie and Son.
  • Hall, Ken (2001) The Isle of Arran. Catrine. Stenlake Publishing. ISBN 9781840331356
  • Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004) The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh. Canongate. ISBN 1841954543
  • Holmer, N. (1957) The Gaelic of Arran. Dublin. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Johnstone, Scott; Brown, Hamish; and Bennet, Donald (1990) The Corbetts and Other Scottish Hills. Edinburgh. Scottish Mountaineering Trust. ISBN 0907521290
  • Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins. ISBN 0002550822
  • McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007) Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 9781841583570
  • Murray, W.H. (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland. London. Eyre Methuen. SBN 413303802
  • Noble, Gordon (2006) Neolithic Scotland: Timber, Stone, Earth and Fire. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0748623388
  • Ó Dochartaigh, C. (1997) Survey of the Gaelic Dialects of Scotland. Dublin. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

External links

Coordinates: 55°34′25″N 5°15′12″W / 55.57351°N 5.25333°W / 55.57351; -5.25333

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Aran (disambiguation).
Brodick bay with Goatfell in the distance
Brodick bay with Goatfell in the distance

The Isle of Arran is situated in south-western Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde near Glasgow. Measuring approximately 167 square miles (433 km2) in area, it has a population of approximately 5,000. Arran is the seventh largest island in Scotland, but is not technically one of the Hebrides, being the southernmost of the Scottish islands. Widely referred to as 'Scotland in Miniature', Arran offers visitors a compact and easily accessible island that mimics the geology of mainland Scotland, with a sparsely populated and mountainous northern half and a flatter, more populous southern half. Located close to Glasgow and Scotland's Ayrshire coast, Arran is a popular and easily accessible tourist destination.

Map of the Isle of Arran
Map of the Isle of Arran
  • Lamlash is Arran's main population centre. The ony high school on the island is here and it's also the location of the island's main medical centre. The boat to Holy Island departs from Lamlash.
  • Brodick is another large settlement and is the island's principal point of entry, with multiple daily ferry sailings to and from Ardrossan on the mainland. Outside the ferry terminal is the bus station. All bus services on the island terminate here, to interchange with each other and to link with the ferry. The village has a couple of supermarkets and a number of other shops, plus a variety of accomodation and restaurants.
  • Blackwaterfoot is the largest village on the west coast of the island. Has a hotel and B&B, a pub serving real ale, a tiny harbour and a garage with the only petrol station north of the String Road.
  • Kilmory is a small village on the south coast. Accessible via the Dyemill forest cycle track from Lamlash & Whiting Bay
  • Lochranza is the main settlement in the north of the island, and is the terminal for the "other" ferry to the mainland, from Claonaig. Lochranza Bay and Castle feature in probably the most famous "picture postcard" view of Arran. It's common to see deer coming down to the water in the evenings.
  • Catacol in the north of the island is highly recommended. You can look at (but not go inside) the Twelve Apostles, which is a unique row of terraced houses.
  • Pirnmill is a quiet village with one of the best beaches on the island.
  • Whiting Bay is a nice-looking village south of Brodick with a large white sand beach. It has a putting green and bowling green, three well stocked groceries shops( Village Shop, Bay Stores and Kirkend Nurseries which grows its own fruits and vegs). A variety of other shops including galleries, DIY, Craft shops, Petrol stations, Newsagent, furniture and carpet shop, massage and reiki treatment. There are several places to eat here too.
  • Corrie is a picturesque village situated five miles north of Brodick, strung out along the coast for about a mile. One of the routes up Goat Fell starts from here.
  • Machrie is a small village on the west coast of the island, best known for the stone circle at nearby Machrie Moor.
View of Holy Isle across Brodick bay from Goat Fell
View of Holy Isle across Brodick bay from Goat Fell

Holy Island (known locally as the Holy Isle)

The sole inhabitants of Holy Island are Buddhist monks, who moved in after Vision of Virgin Mary persuaded previous owner to sell it to them. During summer tourist season, a boat takes visitors roughly every hour from 10AM to 5PM, though the monastery itself is not accessible to the public as it is used as a place of retreat (Monks stay there for 3 years and 3 months). The walk up the backbone of the island offers beautiful views of Lamlash and the Scottish mainland.

The Ross Road

Runs from Lamlash to Lagg (Kilmory). This road offers fantastic scenery. It has a decent surface and is suitable for cars or bikes (though it is pretty steep so make sure you have plenty of gears!). There's no public transport along the Ross Road, though you should be able to hitch passing cars fairly easily. Use discretion in the winter as the road can become impassable due to snow and ice.


The Isle of Arran is often described as 'Scotland in Miniature', offering the scenery of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands on one Island, in the North and South respectively.

The northern part of the island is a National Scenic Area, it's easy to understand why!

Note that if the ferry is not running, the shops will not get any newspapers until the ferry starts running again. And don't ask anyone before 9AM "Have you got any papers?"

Get in

By boat

The only practical way to reach Arran is using one of the two Ferries operated by Caledonian McBrayne. The ferries run between:

Ardrossan(mainland) - Brodick(Arran)

Name: MV Caledonian Isles and MV Saturn
Facilities on Board: MV Caledonian Isles, toilets, children's play area, observation lounge, tourist information desk, disabled access, Bar, Coffee Bar, Restaurant. MV Saturn, toilets, cafeteria/bar
Vehicle capacity: MV Caledonian Isles 120 cars; MV Saturn about 40 to 50 cars (other vehicles can be accommodated) N.B. It is prudent to book in advance
Passenger capacity: MV Caledonian Isles 1000; MV Saturn 381
Duration of Trip: MV Caledonian Isles 55 minutes; MV Saturn up to 75 minutes
Runs all year: MV Caledonian Isles Yes; MV Saturn summer only
Train link mainland: MV Caledonian Isles Yes; MV Saturn No, all services run to Glasgow Central. Note that the ferry waits for the train, but the train does not wait for the ferry if it is running late
Cost (foot passengers): You can buy a 5 day saver return for around £8, with single fares being roughly £5

The Saturn has ceased operations for this year, and should resume operation in June 2010.

Claonaig(mainland) - Lochranza(Arran)

Name: MV Loch Tarbert
Facilities on Board: toilets, small passenger lounge
Vehicle capacity: 18 cars (other vehicles can be accommodated)
Passenger capacity: 150
Duration of Trip: 30 minutes
Runs all year: see below
Trainlink mainland: No
Prices are lower than on the Ardrossan - Brodick ferry, but it is not worth it if you are coming up from the south.

Be warned services can be cancelled or diverted due to bad weather and reduced services run on Sundays and off season. Between the end of March and the end October, there is an extra Friday evening ferry between Ardrossan and Brodick which does not run for the rest of the week.

Between the end of October and the end of March, a ferry runs once a day between Lochranza and Tarbert. Passengers and cars MUST book in advance for this ferry. Pick up a timetable or go to the Calmac website for further details.

The paddle steamer Waverley [1] also calls at the island 3 times per week from June to September. Services run from Ayr, Largs, Glasgow and other places, check the website for further details

In addition to the above ferries, Arran Power and Sail[2] run two services using RIB powerboats;

  • Largs to Brodick; £30 each way
  • Glasgow to Brodick; £60 each way

They also operate all the way to Ardrossan on request; see the website for further details.

By plane

The nearest airports to Arran are Glasgow Prestwick[3] and Glasgow International[4] on the mainland. Prestwick is situated 32 miles to the south of Glasgow, International is 15 miles west of the city. From Prestwick you can travel by train to Kilwinning (en route to Glasgow Central) and change for Ardrossan Harbour and ferries to Brodick. Alternatively bus 585 (operated by Stagecoach Western) travels directly from the airport to Ardrossan Princes Street, a short walk from the ferry terminal. Taxis from Prestwick Airport to Ardrossan Harbour are also available for about £15. From Glasgow International a bus operates to Paisley Gilmour Street railway station, for rail connections to Ardrossan Harbour.

By bus

To Ardrossan;

  • The number 11 bus from Kilmarnock runs frequently Monday to Saturday and every 20 minutes on Sunday.
  • The 'Clyde Coast' 585 service runs from Ayr and Glasgow Prestwick International Airport in the south and Greenock, Weymss Bay (for the Isle of Bute) and Largs (for Cumbrae) in the north every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every 2 hours on Sunday.
  • The X36 express bus runs from Glasgow every hour Monday to Saturday and every 2 to 4 hours on Sunday. Other express buses are available Monday to Friday during peak times, see this website [5] for more details.

All buses are operated by Stagecoach Western.

To Claonaig;

Tarbert and Tarbet

On the 926 bus service from Glasgow to Campbeltown, there are two stops called Tarbert and Tarbet, which is next to Loch Lomond. If you don't make it clear to the driver of the bus, you could be 50 miles away from your destination before you know it!

  • West Coast Motors [6] operate the 448 bus from Lochgilphead to Tarbert, Kennacraig (for Islay), Claonaig (for the Arran ferry) and Skipness infrequently Monday to Saturday, check the website for further details. All buses connect with ferries to Arran. Bikes are also conveyed on the bus for free!
  • Scottish Citylink/West Coast Motors operate the 926 service from Glasgow to Campbeltown three times a day, but only 1 (2 if you fancy walking the 5 miles from Kennacraig to Claonaig or if you want to look around Tarbert for a few hours) service connects with a bus heading for Claonaig, see the West Coast Motors website for more information. Get off the bus at Tarbert and get on the 448 bus as mentioned above to Claonaig. Note that buses are in West Coast Motors livery.
  • West Coast Motors operate the 423 buses from Oban to Lochgilphead, which offer sufficiant connection time to get to the 448 bus in Lochgilphead. They run Monday to Saturday. Check the WCM website for more details.

By train

From Glasgow

Trains [7] run direct from Glasgow Central to Ardrossan Harbour several times a day. Departures to and from Glasgow are timed to connect with CalMac [8] ferries to Brodick. All trains to Ardrossan Harbour connect with ferries, and both the train and ferry can be delayed if the other is late running. Combined train/ferry tickets to Glasgow can also be bought at the ferry terminal in Brodick, and combined tickets to Brodick can be bought from any railway station, sometimes saving on the equivalent combined cost of train and ferry tickets. Note that some trains from Glasgow split at Ardrossan South Beach, so you will have to be in the front 3 cars of the train: pay close attention to departure screens before boarding the train.

From Ayr and Prestwick Airport

Trains run frequently from Ayr and Prestwick Airport to Kilwinning, where you can get on another train to Ardrossan. A few trains per day also come from Stranraer (for Northern Ireland).

By car

There is no bridge link to Arran and you must take the ferry, however both CalMac ferries carry cars (as well as vans, trucks, buses, bikes...), and the paddle steamer Waverley can also carry bicycles. Note there is an extensive long term car park at Ardrossan Harbour, and there is also a small car park in Claonaig. Also note that there is no LPG on the island either.

Get around

By car

There are three main roads on the island: the main road that runs around the coast (the A841), the 'String Road' that runs from Brodick to Blackwaterfoot (the B880) and the Ross Road that runs from Lamlash to Kilmory (a.k.a Lagg - the bus timetables and roadsigns show 'Lagg', but the 30mph speedboards show 'Kilmory'). Maps are widely available all over the island if you have not got your own.

  • Car Hire is also available from the petrol station at the ferry terminal in Brodick. Cars cost from £25 per day, and range in size from a two-seater Smart to a seven-seater Vauxhall Zafira. Tel: 01770 302121.

By bus

You don't need a car or bike to explore Arran, with an extensive and reliable bus service covering most of the island. Services are operated by Stagecoach Western [9], although because of the local authority area, it's not unusual to see bus stops and timetables carrying the logo of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) [10] who oversee public transport on Arran. A single day 'Rover' ticket costs £4.60, although beware that fares and timetables change with the seasons.

A full timetable can be found online. [11] and printed timetables are available on all buses, on board the ferries, at the ferry terminals and from most of convenience stores. Key services include:

  • 321 Brodick - Corriegills (service only runs once per day on schooldays only)
  • 322 Brodick - String Road - Blackwaterfoot
  • 323 Brodick - Lamlash - Whiting Bay (- Lagg - Blackwaterfoot)
  • 324 Brodick - Lochranza - Blackwaterfoot
  • 324/322 North Island Circle
  • 323/322 South Island Circle
  • 324/323 Island Circles
  • The Open Top Castle Bus (Brodick - Brodick Castle)

Most buses connect in Brodick with the CalMac[12] ferry to Ardrossan. Check timetable notes carefully, as some late evening buses only run on Fridays during the summer. Few buses run after 9PM.

Note that many of the 323 services on Mondays to Saturdays terminate at Whiting Bay. Check the timetable for details.

Be warned - a few bus services may start/terminate in a different place than the timetable. For example, the 0747 324 Imachar-Lamlash bus may start in Pirnmill, and the 1705 324 Lamlash-Blackwaterfoot bus regulary terminates in Pirnmill.

The Castle Bus only runs Sunday-Thursday during the summer holidays, and then weekends until the end of October. Timetables are available locally and on board the Caledonian Isles.

There are also Island Tours that run Mon-Fri only from June to August. They connect with the 09:30 ferry from Ardrossan, and a full day tour connects with the 16:40 ferry back. You can also get a half day tour that gets back to Brodick for the 13:50 ferry back, but you do not get to see the North Island. Timetables are available on the Caledonian Isles and from Brodick Ferry Terminal.

By motorcycle

Arran is an adrenaline junkie's paradise when it comes to motorcycles! The roads are narrow, heavilly potholed (so much that Arran is the 'pothole capital' of the UK!) and often you come across 40 ton logging trucks! And after all that, the rewards are magnificant, with breathtaking views during the sunshine! As an added bonus, a motorcycle can be brought over to Arran for half the cost of a car! Even though the roads are "goin' tae pot", it's still a very big adventure for even the seasoned motorcyclist!

By bicycle

Hiring a bike is recommended to travel some routes, such as the Ross, that the bus doesn't take. In Brodick, bike hire is available from the Boathouse and Arran Power and Sail on the shore and Arran Adventures next to the Auchrannie. In Blackwaterfoot you can hire a bike from the Kinloch Sports Club. Cycling over the Machrie Moor Road from the String Road to Machrie on a calm, sunny day is not to be missed...

By taxi

Taxi services cover the entire island and you may find that booking ahead is a good idea as they get very busy in peak season. If you are travelling alone it is best to ask for a quote when booking, as prices can be very steep depending on where you want to go - it is actually cheaper to rent a car than get a return taxi fare from Brodick to Lochranza.

Brodick to Clauchlands Point £6 single
  • Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park [13] is undoubtedly Arran's proudest and most photogenic historic building, and is open to the public seven days a week, although due to constrained finances (as of spring 2009) only (slightly more expensive) guided tours are available inside the castle on Fridays and Saturdays - however these include excellent histories and details from knowledgeable docents. Opening hours - Castle: 1 Apr to 31 Oct, Sun-Thurs 11–4.00 (closes 3.00 in Oct); Country Park: all year, daily 9.30–sunset; Reception Centre, Shop and Walled Garden: 1 Apr to 31 Oct, daily 10–4.30, 1 Nov to 21 Dec, Fri/Sat/Sun 10–3.30. A Brodick Castle Day Out ticket is available from any ScotRail staffed station within Strathclyde or ScotRail Telesales. This ticket includes: Return rail travel from any Strathclyde rail station to Ardrossan Harbour, return ferry travel on the Caledonian Macbrayne ferry from Ardrossan Harbour to Brodick Pier, return bus connection with Stagecoach Western from Brodick Pier to Brodick Castle and admission to Brodick Castle.
  • Arran Brewery, Brodick - located at the base of the footpath towards Goat Fell. There is an independent restaurant facing you in the main driveway, but walk around the corner to the Brewery itself for some generous free beer tasting and the opportunity of buying 8 pint jerry cans of some excellent real ale! Although not technically holding a licence, you can get away with drinking on the adjacent picnic tables.
  • Distillery at Lochranza
  • Visit the Clan Horse Arran farm park [14]
  • Lochranza Castle is partially ruined and the interior is not generally accessible, but its setting beside the sea in Lochranza is quite stunning.
  • There are great rock formations and a lighthouse at Kildonan
  • Ailsa Craig is an island a good few miles from Arran and can be seen from the south end of the island (e.g Kildonan), however, the only way to get there is on an organised trip from the Ayrshire mainland or Campbeltown.
  • Seals are often visible in the sea around Arran
  • The fairies in the garden on Holy Isle
  • The various standing stones, stone circles and cairns dotted all over the island. An Ordnance Survey map (Landranger 69 or for more detail Explorer 361) will help you locate them. The best-known are at Machrie Moor, near the village of Machrie.
  • Golden Eagles can be seen over the mountainous north of the island, as well as diving birds around the coast, hen harriers towards the south, ravens widespread, many deer throughout the island and even red squirrels can be occasionally sighted. Many 'migrating birds have been reported between the seasons, including waxwings and crossbills. Some more nnorthern birds have also been known to become windswept southwards, for example the white-tailed sea eagle and long-tailed skuas.
  • Torrylinn Creamery, Kilmory, 01770 870240, [15]. 10AM - 4PM. Cheese shop/viewing gallery/picnic area. Traditional cheese making (Dunlop Cheddar) using 100% Arran milk, since 1947.  edit
  • Island Cheese Company, Home Farm, Brodick, Isle of Arran, KA27 8DD, 01770 302788, [16]. Visit the shop at Duchess Court or order Arran hampers online.  edit
  • Corrie Caves - approx 2/3 into the village, can be accessed from the Shore Road, and is best visited as part of a steep trek to the top of the hill. There is even an old, rusty car in one of them! Note that parking is very limited.
  • Kildonan and Pirnmill are generally regarded as the best beaches on the island
  • Cleat's Shore is Scotland's only officially designated naturist beach (there are only 11 in the whole of the UK). Unlike all the other official naturist beaches, don't expect to actually see anyone else at all, nudist or otherwise!
  • Lamlash - mostly stony, however there are several sandy stretches
  • Brodick - the best beach is situated on the west side of the town, the other beaches nearer the ferry terminal are nearly all rocks
  • Arran is a very popular destination for walking. The breadth of terrain and scenery offers a great variety of different types of walking within a small area.
    • Goat Fell is the highest mountain on the island, and can be climbed from Brodick. Recommend tackling in the morning; it can be achieved in half a day. On clear day the views from the top are fantastic, including the Ayrshire and Galloway coasts, Kintyre, other islands including Jura, Bute, Islay and Ailsa Craig, and the coast of Ireland. Fit day-trippers could make it to the summit and back down to the ferry in a day. Its all walkable, no climbing involved.
    • The Corrie route up Goatfell is steeper and passes some lovely waterfalls. It's possible to use the bus to get to Corrie and use this route to the summit, then continue over the summit to descend into Brodick.
    • Glencloy, near Brodick has some great senic walks
    • A number of walks start from Whiting Bay: the "Giants Grave" (1.5 mile round trip), the "Glenashdale Falls" (7 mile round trip) and round "Kings Cross Point" (3 miles round trip).
    • Clauchlands Point is about 3 km from the centre of Lamlash. Simply follow the coast to the north-east. If you have a car, you can actually park less than 1km from the point. Good view of Holy Island and the Scottish mainland and sometimes passing nuclear submarines on their way to and from their base on the Clyde. It's quite common to see seals relaxing on the rocks and there is a large amount of bird life. Shrimps can be gathered in the rock pools at low tide. You can also explore the abandoned boom defence signal station from World War II.
  • Golf at one of the islands many courses
    • Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club [17], Blackwaterfoot. 12 hole course - beautiful scenery. Ranked 99th in the World's Top 100 Golf Courses.
    • Machrie Bay Golf Course and Tearoom [18], Machrie - some of the best snacks and drinks around! Also good for a game of golf
    • Lochranza 18 Hole Golf Course [19]- Normally open from April until mid October each year
    • Whiting Bay Golf Club. 18 holes, Starter box with changing room, Clubhouse with Restaurant and Bar. Snooker Table in its own room.
    • There is a mini-golf course and a crazy golf course in Brodick.
  • Bowling Greens, Lamlash and Brodick - Visitors are welcome to these seasonal facilities, you are asked to wear flat shoes. There is normally someone on hand to show you how to play if you've never tried before. The greens are only open in good weather to avoid wear. £3 per adult £1.50 for concessions.
  • Pony Trekking is available in North Sannox and Lochranza.
  • Fishing
    • Trout fishery just south of Blackwaterfoot - more or less guaranteed a catch! Novices welcome.
    • Sea Fishing Trips, Lamlash - limited places available so a very good idea to book ahead at the caravan on Lamlash Pier
  • Go for a swim at the Auchrannie (Brodick) or the Kinloch (Blackwaterfoot). The minimum ages to swim solo are 12 at the Auchrannie and 17 at the Kinloch
  • Quad biking at Balmichael Visitor Centre - by trek.
  • Helicopter rides, also at Balmichael
  • Boat hire, Lamlash - £20 for a 4 person boat for 2 hours, £30 for a 6 person boat for 2 hours. Fishing rods are also available for hire. The views from the centre of Lamlash Bay are well worth the money
  • weeMAD Festival (wee Music, Art and Dance Festival in Corrie, Arran, 25 - 27 September 2009), Corrie village hall, Arran (A short drive north of Brodick), See weeMAD website for all contact details., [20]. weeMAD is a 3-day celebration of evolved music, art and dance, thought up by artist Clare Galloway and sound-healer Suzanne Harris as a means of bringing world-class artists to unique rural locations. It will run from 25 to 27 September in its inaugural year (2009) in Corrie village hall. Events start at 7.30 p.m. on the Friday and run through the weekend. By donation.. (55.641112,-5.138804) edit
  • Arran Folk Festival, Various locations around the island, [21]. Annual event which has been running since 1990. This popular, well-run festival takes place in the first week of June and attracts some of the biggest names in the Scottish folk music scene, as well as showcasing local artists.  edit
  • Mobile Cinema - the 'Screen Machine', a traveling cinema in the back of an articulated lorry that tours the Scottish islands parks up outside the Auchrannie Resort in Brodick once a month.
  • The Balmichael Visitor Centre [22] is a 4 star visitor attraction. If you decide to do a day trip, and you venture out of Brodick only once, Balmichael is a good place to go. More information can be found on the website.
  • Take the ferry from Lamlash to Holy Isle. See the wild ponies, goats, seals. Have tea with a Buddhist monk.
  • Pottery Workshop, Kilmory


There are many good eateries on the island. From the 5 Star Kilmichael Country House Hotel, the Auchrannie (both in Brodick), the Trafalgar Restaurant (Whiting Bay), the Kildonan Hotel (Kildonan), the Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot to the Restaurant at the Distillery in Lochranza.

  • eighteen69, Auchrannie Hotel, Brodick [23]- fine dining in casual atmosphere; 2 AA Rossettes. Expect to pay £50 for a 3 course meal! Dress code: smart casual.
  • Brambles Brasserie, Auchrannie Hotel, Brodick [24]- top quality casual dining, excellent food.
  • Creelers of Arran [25] - seafood resteraunt and shop at Duchess Court Shops. Very Pricey!!
  • The Brodick Bar - Extensive selection on the blackboard Monday - Saturday, Also Very Pricey!!
  • Lamlash Bay Hotel, Lamlash [26] - newly opened hotel and restaurant. It also has a unique pizza bar. Open 7 days.
  • The Distillery, Lochranza [27] - offers good meals and, of course, whisky!
  • Catacol Bay Hotel [28]- extensive food list with many local dishes, decent prices, the best service around. See the Catacol section.
  • The Ormidale in Brodick - another extensive selection of food.
  • The Lighthouse Tearoom, Pirnmill - offers excellent food. People come from all over the island just to eat here! Try a world famous meringue as well!
  • Machrie Bay Tearoom - excellent meals, especially the venison burgers!
  • Old Byre Cafe, Machrie - at the Showroom. Serves excellent burgers, chips and drinks.
  • Toby's Tearoom, Kilmory - Freshly prepared traditional food, open every day except Wednesday. Excellent value for money with attentive, prompt service.
  • The Glenisle Hotel, Lamlash - Again, not cheap - didn't enjoy it so much 2nd visit
  • Shanghai Chinese Takeaway, Brodick - like the Ferry Fry below, but there are more choices. Recommended! Opposite the small Co-op and open everyday from 4PM to 10-11PM
  • The Coffee Pot, Whiting Bay - snacks and very good light meals - good service, reasonably priced.
  • The Ferry Fry, Brodick - half decent fried food. Opening times vary a lot, but it is certainly open Wednesday-Sunday. Expect to wait for ages to get a fish! Also, the hamburgers are VERY meaty...
  • The Sandwich Station, Lochranza - offers excellent freshly made sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Outside the ferry terminal.
  • Stags Pavilion (Lochranza). Breakfasts Lunch and evening Meals, all homemade, open 7 days. BYOB!  edit
  • The Beach Hut, Whiting Bay, 01770 700308. Excellent bistro menu, featuring local produce. Vegetarians well catered for. Delicious chilli.  edit
  • Kinloch Hotel Bakery, Blackwaterfoot - the best bakery on the island! Not open on Wednesday and Sunday. Also sells pizzas


At least one Pub is in most Villages, some have two or more.

The Catacol Bay Hotel has one of the best range of drinks on the island. Nothing too expensive, but it has one of the best atmospheres around

Cruize Bar [29] at the Auchrannie Spa Resort offers a good range of drinks (also serves good food), open 7 days, comfortable surroundings and occasional party nights.

An intersting one often with live music on Fridays and Saturdays in Whiting Bay (the Cameronia Pub)

Another at the Ormidale Hotel, Brodick. It has a nice atmosphere (upper part is in former glasshouse), pub quizzes and the most insanley tiled toilet block in the world.

There is also a pub with real ale at the Blackwaterfoot Lodge.

  • Supermarkets - Brodick is home to two Co-operative supermarkets, offering the widest selection of food and provisions on the Island.
  • There is a small grocery store in Blackwaterfoot selling food, whisky, and other essentials (only open 9AM until 1PM on Wednesday)
  • Pirnmill Village Store - the only proper village shop between Brodick and Blackwaterfoot if you are coming via the North of the Island
  • Kilmory Community hall [30] holds farmers' markets last Saturday of every month, also note that the last Saturday in September is the annual fete.
  • Old Byre Showroom, Machrie - great souvenirs can be bought here. A cafe opened here recently, serving some of the best burgers and other meaty meals on the island! They also own the Sheepskin Shop in Brodick
  • Craft shop, Corrie - in the centre of the village.
  • Stone men of Arran, Lochranza - Fantastic little shop placed on the side of the hill on the East coast of the Bay. Quite a long but interesting walk from the main part of the village, you are likely to meet sheep and maybe deer on the way.
  • Shop at Arran Adventure Centre at the entrance of the Auchrannie Resort offering guided activities such as climbing, kayaking and mountainbiking- weather forecasts posted everyday
  • Petrol Station & Car Hire - small cars (including a two seater Smart Roadster) from £25 per day. Next to the ferry terminal in Brodick
  • ArCaS charity shop - outside the Ferry Terminal in Brodick
Camping at Kildonan, with Pladda Isle and Ailsa Craig visible in the distance
Camping at Kildonan, with Pladda Isle and Ailsa Craig visible in the distance
  • Lochranza Youth Hostel [31]- Spartan but friendly, with helpful managers and very good kitchen. During Scottish holiday periods it becomes fully booked early, so if you wish to stay, plan in advance. It has now been re-opened, with better facilities and en-suite private rooms.
  • Kilmory bunk house (self catering accommodation)
  • Campsite with 18 Hole Golf Course, Lochranza [32]- Normally open from April until mid October each year
  • Seal Shore Camping & Touring, Kildonan, Isle of Arran, KA27 8SE (About 12 miles south of Brodick. Follow the main road through Lamlash and Whiting Bay. As you get to the south coast of the island, look out for signs for Kildonan to the left from the main road), +44-1770-820320 (), [33]. Lovely site with its own private beach. The name is not a misnomer as you can regularly see seals playing offshore and sometimes hauling out to bask on the rocks. The site has a small shop where the site owner (a registered fisherman) sells his catch, and a few basic grocery items. There's a hotel with public bar close by. Decent purpose-built toilet/shower block, laundry facilities, and a covered BBQ area for when the weather isn't so good. As well as the campsite there's also a bunkhouse.  edit
  • Auchrannie Resort [34] in Brodick offers 3 types of accommodation - 5* Luxury self catering lodges, 4* traditional country house hotel and 4* modern spa resort - excellent range of on-site services including 2 swimming pools and extensive health and lesiure facilities.
  • Catacol Bay Hotel [35], Catacol. Accommodation prices starting at just £20 per person per night during the low season (October to March). This hotel is probably one of the best hotels on the island, and also convenient if you are travelling to/from the north of Scotland, as the hotel is close to the Lochranza ferry terminal. There is also a Sunday Buffet here as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! On most Tuesdays, there is a folk session which you can join in of you have bought an instrument. The hotel also has a free courtesy bus service to Pirnmill and Lochranza for 2 people or more, so you can get the first ferry easily if you haven't got a car or if you don't want to get up at 6AM to catch the bus!
  • Kinloch Hotel [36], Blackwaterfoot. With (rather chilly) indoor swimming pool
  • Corrie Hotel - good accommodation, with a friendly bar which is also open to non-residents.
  • Computer Shop, Brodick - to the East of the main Co-op this shop offers a range of computing goods and internet access (£1/hr), also good if you run short of a fuse as no where else on the island seems to sell them. Tel: (01770) 830343
  • Brodick Library has internet access, open Tuesday 10AM-5PM, Thursday and Friday 10AM-7:30PM and Saturday 10AM-1PM.
  • Free Wireless Access avaialable at Auchrannie Resort (from 8AM till late 7 days a week) [37]
  • The Arran Store - outside the Ferry Terminal in Brodick also offers internet access

Post Office

There are Post Offices in Brodick, Whiting Bay, Kildonan, Pirnmill, Lochranza (limited service), Blackwaterfoot and Kilmory.

Get out

In summer, take the ferry from Lochranza to Claonaig and walk or cycle the 2.5 miles along the coast to Skipness, see the travel guide for more information.

Holy Island is also a good day out, see the Holy Island travel guide for further details.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Isle of Arran.jpg

Welcome to the Wikibook about the Isle of Arran in Scotland.

The beautiful Isle of Arran is situated in Northwestern Scotland, West of Glasgow.


Simple English

Isle of Arran
OS grid reference:NR950359
Gaelic name:  Eilean Arainn (info • help)
Norse name: Herrey[1]p38
Meaning of name: Possibly Brythonic for "high place"
Area and Summit
Area: 43,201 hectares (167 sq mi)
Area rank (Scottish islands): 7[2]p502
Highest elevation: Goat Fell 874 m (2,867 ft)
Population (2001): 5,058[3]
Population rank (inhabited Scottish islands): 6[3] out of 97
Main settlement: Brodick
Island Group: Firth of Clyde
Local Authority: North Ayrshire
References: [2]

[[File:|thumb|230px|Machrie Moor standing stones]]

File:M.V. Caledonian
Ferry approaches Brodick. Seen from Goat Fell summit.

Arran or the Isle of Arran [4] is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland.

With an area of 432 square kilometres (167 sq mi) it is the seventh largest Scottish island. Just over 5,000 people live there.

Arran shares with the Hebrides cultural and physical similarities. Arran is mountainous and has been described as a "geologist's paradise".[2]p11/17

People have lived there since the early Neolithic period, from which time on there are numerous prehistoric remains.

From the 6th century on peoples from Ireland colonised the island and it became a centre of religious activity. During the troubled Viking Age Arran became the property of the Norwegian crown before becoming formally absorbed by the kingdom of Scotland in the thirteenth century.

The 19th century "clearances" led to significant reductions in population and the end of the Gaelic language and way of life.

The economy and population have recovered in recent years, the main industry being tourism. There is diversity of wildlife, including three species of tree endemic to the area. There are regular field trips in the summer by geology and biology students.


The island is sometimes referred to as "Scotland in miniature", as it is divided into "Highland" and "Lowland" areas by the Highland Boundary Fault which runs northeast to southwest across Scotland.[5]p297/301

The island is a popular destination for geologists, who come to see intrusive igneous landforms such as sills and dykes as well as sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks ranging in age from Precambrian to Mesozoic.

Most of the interior of the northern half of the island is taken up by a large granite batholith that was created by substantial volcanic activity around 60 million years ago in the Tertiary period. There is an older outer ring of coarse granites and an inner core of finer grained material.

Sedimentary rocks dominate the southern half of the island, especially Old and New Red Sandstone. Sand dunes are preserved in Permian sandstones near Brodick, there are localised outcrops of Triassic rocks,[5]p143/4/9 and even some Cretaceous chalk.[6]

Visiting in 1787, the geologist James Hutton found his first example of an unconformity to the north of Newton Point near Lochranza, which provided evidence for his Plutonist theories of uniformitarianism, and about the age of the Earth. This spot is one of the most famous places in the study of geology.[7][8]

The Pleistocene glaciations almost entirely covered Scotland in ice.[5] After the last retreat of the ice at the close of the Pleistocene epoch sea levels were up to 70 metres (230 ft) lower than at present and it is likely that circa 14,000 years ago the island was connected to mainland Scotland.[9]p68/69

Sea level changes and the isostatic rise of land makes charting coastlines a complex task, but the island is clearly ringed by post glacial raised beaches.[5]p28

What this means is that the huge weight of ice pressed down the Earth's crust here, and so the beaches were much higher up than now. Gradually, long after the ice melted, the island came back up.

King's Cave on the south west coast is an example of such a raised beach. This cave, which is over 30.5 metres (100 ft) long and up to 15.3 metres (50 ft) high, lies well above the present day sea level.[10][11][12]

There are tall sea cliffs to the north east including large rock slides under the heights of Torr Reamhar and at Scriden (An Scriodan) at the far north end of the island. The Scriden rocks fell "some two hundred years ago, with a concussion that shook the earth and was heard in Bute and Argyllshire".[1]p19


  1. 1.0 1.1 Downie, R. Angus 1933. All about Arran. Glasgow. Blackie and Son.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Haswell-Smith, Hamish 2004. The Scottish islands. Edinburgh. Canongate. ISBN 1841954543
  3. 3.0 3.1 General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  4. Scots Gaelic: Eilean Arainn
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger 2007. Land of mountain and flood: the geology and landforms of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn. ISBN 9781841583570
  6. The implications of this small chalk outcrop are considerable. It suggests that like much of southern England, Scotland once had considerable deposits of this material that have been subsequently eroded away. See McKirdy et al. 2007 p298
  7. Keith Montgomery (2003). "Siccar Point and Teaching the History of Geology" (pdf). University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 26 March 2008. 
  8. "Hutton's Unconformity - Lochranza, Isle of Arran, UK - Places of geologic significance on". Retrieved 20 October 2008.  The site was not sufficiently convincing for him to publish his find until the discovery of a second site near Jedburgh.
  9. Murray W.H. 1973. The islands of western Scotland. London. Eyre Methuen. SBN 413303802
  10. Andrew Rogie. "Geology of Arran". Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  11. Downie (1933) pp. 70-71.
  12. This cave is one of several associated with the legend of Robert the Bruce and the spider. See McKirdy et al. (2007) p301


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