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Arran shown within Scotland
MV Caledonian Isles approaching Brodick

Gaelic: Eilean Arainn

Area: 43,201 hectares (167 sq mi)

Highest elevation: Goat Fell 874 m (2,867 ft)

Population: 4,629 (2011)

Pop. density: 10.72 people/km

Main Settlement: Brodick

Island group: Firth of Clyde

Local Authority: North Ayrshire

Arran or the Isle of Arran (Scots Gaelic: Eilean Arainn) 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. It is in the unitary council area of North Ayrshire. In the 2011 census it had a resident population of 4,629. Although it is culturally and physically similar to the Hebrides, it is separated from them by the Kintyre peninsula. Arran is divided into highland and lowland areas by the Highland Boundary Fault and it has been described as a "geologist's paradise".<ref>Hamish Haswell-Smith, The Scottish Islands (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2004) 11-17</ref>

Arran has been continuously inhabited since the early Neolithic period, and numerous prehistoric remains have been found. From the 6th century onwards, 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 13th century. The 19th century "clearances" led to significant depopulation 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")<ref> Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003) Ainmean-àite/Placenames. (pdf) Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref> Campbell, who has produced the most recent full-scale history of the island, confirms that the name 'Arran' is not related to the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.<ref>Thorbjorn Campbell, Arran, a History (Edinburgh, Birlinn, 2007) 44</ref> Campbell is also skeptical of the idea that Arran was so called because of its 'kidney' shape, which originated with Dr. Alexander Cameron of Brodick in 1889, who grew attention to the apparent relationship between the Gaelic genative 'ara' meaning 'kidney'.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 44</ref>

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.<ref>Hamish Haswell-Smith, The Scottish Islands (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2004) 11-17</ref> Campbell agrees that a derivation from the Welsh 'aran' meaning 'peaked hill' is acceptable.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 44</ref>

A further theory for the origins and meaning of the name is advanced by Campbell, suggesting that it is likely to have been named for its people or 'Cenel'. During the post-Roman period Irish peoples are said to have invaded Western Scotland and settled in Argyll, where they established the Kingdom of Dalriada. The name 'Erainn' was used in sources such as the Annals of Ulster and the Annals of Tigernach.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 45</ref> The 'E' may have changed to an 'A' over time, with 'Erainn' becoming 'Arrainn' -which is the present spelling in Gaelic of 'Arran'.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 44</ref>The modern name Arran might derive from a 'Cenel' or tribal grouping, such as with Cowal, Gowrie and Lorne.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 44</ref>


Early History

Standing Stones on Machrie Moor

The exact period when human beings first settled in Arran following the end of the last Ice Age is uncertain.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 18</ref> Evidence of Mesolithic man is found on Arran in the form of microliths, stone weapons and tools. Knapping sites, where microliths were shaped, have been found at many sites in Arran including Machrie Moor.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 18</ref> The arrival of Neolithic culture on the island has been attested to by the spread of a type of pottery known as 'grooved ware' and evidence from soil samples and pollen analysis which show extensive woodland clearance.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 21</ref>During the Bronze Age the standing stones on Machrie Moor were raised, although their purpose and significance remains unknown. There are many standing stones and circles in the Tormore-Macrie area.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 30</ref>It has been speculated that Arran in the remote past might have been a sacred island, like Delos in Greece, with the Plain of Machrie a major religious centre.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 18</ref>

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.<ref>Downie (1933) 29–30</ref> By the Iron Age environmental conditions on the island changed, with the island being 'devoured' by a covering of peat, with a decline in agriculture.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 39</ref>The growth in technology with metalworking increased the potential for human conflict.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 18</ref>These developments have led to the entire Western Highlands and Islands region being described as a 'wet desert'.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 18</ref>

The Iron Age is attested to in Arran by the remains of impressive settlements. The landscape has been powerfully remoulded by Hillforts and Duns such as Cnoc a' Chlochair between Brodick and Shiskine and Kildonan Fort, to the south of the island.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 40</ref> 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.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>Arran was not conquered by the Romans.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 57</ref>

It is not known when exactly Christianity arrived in Arran. However, during the sixth or early seventh century a hermit called Laisren lived in a cave on Holy Island, off Lamlash.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 51</ref> Laisren is said to have been a member of the Dalriadic royal dynasty, and later became known as St. Molaise.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 52</ref> Some evidence of pre-christian beliefs survive at various locations on the island.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 55</ref>

Middle Ages

In the eighth century the Vikings arrived in the Western Isles, first raiding and then conquering Arran.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 58</ref>In 870 the Viking-Gaels from the Western Isles and the Vikings of Dublin joined forces to destroy Dumbarton Rock, capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 58</ref>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.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 58</ref><ref>Downie (1933) 38–40</ref>

By the early eleventh century the power of the Vikings was in decline and Arran was conquered by Somerled (b.1113) a warrior of both Viking and Gaelic descent. He carved out an extensive kingdom in the Western Isles with the acquiescence of the Scots king David I. This kingdom was nominally under the overlorship of the Kings of Norway.<ref>Robert McLellan, The Isles of Arran (London: David and Charles 1970)101</ref> Following his death by decapitation during a skirmish with forces of King Malcolm IV at Renfrew, Somerled's kingdom was divided between his three sons. They were unable to agree on who should have Arran and in the ensuing fight the youngest son, Angus, was killed.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 66</ref>

The island remained under nominal Nordic control until a conflict between the developing Kingdom of Alba and the Kings of Norway, who sought to re-establish their control of the West of Scotland. The Norwegian fleet sheltered off Lamlash but was depleted by storms, followed by the inconclusive Battle of Largs, which nonetheless signalled the end of Norwegian rule in the Western Isles, formalised by the Treaty of Perth in 1266.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 69</ref>

The powerful Bisset family became associated with Arran in the period while the island was still nominally controlled by Norway until the Wars of Scottish Independence.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 71</ref>In 1241 they were involved in the murder of the Earl of Atholl, heir to the Lordship of Galloway.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 71</ref>The family backed Edward I and his heirs in the Wars of Independence and pursued Robert the Bruce around the island with their fleet. However they vanish from predominance following the eventual Scottish victory.

Following Bannockburn, Arran became property of the Stewarts.<ref>Robert McLellan, The Isle of Arran, (David and Charles) 118</ref> During the final years of King Robert III an English fleet entered the Clyde and destroyed the royal castle at Brodick, which was also attacked by John of Islay, the Lord of the Isles in 1455.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 122</ref> The island continued to be a valuable possession fought over by aristocratic dynasts. In 1437 Sir Thomas Boyd married the sister of James III and was created Earl of Arran.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 123</ref> The king however, escaped from the Boyd faction and executed senior members of the family, as well as divorcing his sister from her husband and forcing her to marry the elderly Lord Hamilton.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 123</ref>

In the north west of the island, a branch of Clan Macalister held significant holdings.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 91</ref>These were directly exposed to the hostile Kintyre Peninsular which was ruled by the Lords of the Isles. A lengthy rent dispute with the crown led to the arrival of a soldier, Alexander Lord Montgomery, who became overlord of a large area of north western Arran.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 93</ref>

The Hamilton family became Earls during the reign of James IV<ref>McLellan, Arran, 123</ref> after Lord Arrran's son, James, impressed the King at a joust following his wedding to Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry IIV of England.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 93</ref>The legacy of the violence and convoluted dynastic and kin politics of this era was that while the Hamilton family were the main landowners on the island, several other families- the Montgomeries, Fullartons and Stewarts remained significant also.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 93</ref> The Earl of Arran survived the massacre of the Battle of Flodden as he was in charge of the royal fleet, and became a leading figure in the violent politics that followed until his death in 1528.

Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

The 2nd Earl of Arran

The history of Arran in this period is closely tied to the fortunes of its ruling Hamilton family and the violent religious conflicts of the time. The Protestant Reformation of the 1560s led to the 'asset stripping' of church lands on the island, chiefly the fertile Shiskine area, which had previously been bestowed on Saddell Abbey in Kintyre by its likely founder, Ragnvald, King of the Isles.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 98-99</ref> The Hamiltons remained supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots for a time following her deposition. The Earl of Arran, also known as the Duke of Chatelherault (a French title awarded for previously securing Mary's French marriage).

As second in line to the throne as the grandson of James III the Duke contended the regency for the child king James IV, but instead it was gained by the half brother of Queen Mary, the Earl of Moray.<ref>Robert McLellan, The Isle of Arran, 129</ref>In 1570 Moray was assassinated at Linlithgow by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, who fled to the protection of the Duke at Brodick Castle.

The Hamiltons entered a period of decline with the insanity of the third Earl, who had at one time been considered as a husband for both Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 100</ref> He resigned the Earldom to Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh (who had previously murdered Regent Moray) but this was overturned by the Court of Session in Edinburgh, on the grounds of his madness.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 100</ref> James VI later promoted his younger brother, Lord John, to Marquis of Hamilton.

During the prelude to the Bishop's Wars of the 1630s the Marquis of Hamilton was King's Commissioner at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which produced the National Covenant.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 104</ref> Due to the Marquis's opposition to the Covenanters the Arran islanders did not initially support it until the island was invaded in 1639 by the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell <ref>Campbell, Arran, 104</ref>who forced them to 'take the Covenant'.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 104</ref>

Following the initially successful campaigns for the royalists of the Marquis of Montrose the islanders feared the arrival of Sir Alexander Macdonald (Colkitto) a ruthless Gaelic soldier given to perpetrating war crimes including the massacre of defenseless women and children.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 104</ref> The Montgomeries of Lochranza supported the Covenant and dreaded an attack by MacDonald.<ref>MacLellan, Arran, 132</ref>His army eventually avoided the island due to a large Covenanting army and retreated into Kintyre and then Ireland. In 1652 the islanders massacred a party of English soldiers.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 105</ref>The violent religious politics of the period are attested to in placenames such as 'Creag an Stobaidh'- stabbing rock , and 'Allt-a-Chaidheim'- stabbing burn.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 105</ref>

Duchess Anne

During the Commonwealth and the Restoration the island was owned by Duchess Anne, described as the first conspicuously able landlord.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 106</ref>She succeeded in recovering forfeited property and persuaded Charles II to repay a loan taken out by her father to support the royalists. Anne also succeeded in gaining compensation for a raid by the Campbells in 1646, for which they were forced to pay 'three score thousand merks Scots money'.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 134</ref> Duchess Anne also invested in the construction of a harbour at Lamlash at the then enormous sum of £2,913.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 110</ref>

Her son, the fourth Duke of Hamilton was another leading Scottish politician. He is remembered for his part in ensuing the passage of the Act of Union in 1707 by incompetent leadership of its opponents.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 111</ref>Described as a weak and indecisive man, he was killed in a duel in 1712.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 111</ref>

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Arran was not involved to any great extent in the Jacobite risings of the eighteenth century, a fact which can be attributed to the Hanoverian sympathies of the Dukes of Hamilton. Only six islanders appear to have been involved in the 1745 rebellion.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 139</ref>Hector MacAlister of Arran was unsuccessful as a Jacobite recruiter and later hid from government forces on the island. Later, he resumed farming on the island.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 113</ref>

The island was a predominantly rural and agricultural society in which social control was implemented by local Kirk Sessions.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 112-125</ref> During this period the island was drawn into an Agricultural Revolution, as aristocrats turned from warfare to private landlords anxious to maximise profits from their lands.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 112-125</ref> On the island the traditional form of cultivation, the Run Rig system, was practiced. This was a communal system of farming in which an annual rent was collected from each family by a tacksman on behalf on the aristocratic landlords.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 148-149</ref>

In the early 19th century Alexander, 10th 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 land that had been rented out to as many as 27 families being converted into a single farm. In some cases, 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!'<ref>Quoted by Haswell Smith (2004) 12</ref>Some parts of the island were completely depopulated.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 139</ref>

The fishing industry expanded during the nineteenth century, at first due to the restrictions imposed by the Napoleonic Wars.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 152</ref>The island also profitted from the short-lived kelp boom, the market for which crashed in 1823 and finally collapsed around 1836.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 152</ref>Smuggling and illegal distilling were also important. In 1817 a gun battle over smuggled whiskey took place in the south of the island between Revenue men and locals anxious to retake their goods, three people were killed. <ref>Campbell, Arran, 155</ref>

Lamlash in the late nineteenth century. The white building to the centre of the image is the Sillars Hotel.

The island first became a holiday destination just after the middle of the eighteenth century.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 177</ref>They sailed from Saltcoats to drink goat's milk- which was then apparently fashionable for health reasons- at an inn in Brodick. Soon however the 'romantic scenery' of the island was to prove a greater lure to visitors.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 177</ref> The first tourist literature about the island dates from the mid-nineteenth century.<ref>McLellan, Arran, 177</ref>In 1889 a notorious murder took place on Goatfell during Glasgow Fair<ref>Campbell, Arran, 187</ref>, when one young male tourist killed another on the mountain for reasons unknown.

In an action which encapsulates the type of behavior associated with the nineteenth century British aristocracy the eleventh Duke of Hamilton demolished the village of Brodick in 1856-58 and moved its inhabitants across the bay. He attempted to keep the island as a private pleasure ground for hunting by delaying providing adequate landing stages for ships at Brodick and other locations.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 172</ref> By this time the only remaining other landowning family on the island were the Fullartons.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 172</ref>Despite the Dukes of Hamilton, Brodick developed as a resort and gained an iron pier in 1872.<ref>Campbell, 175</ref> In 1844 the eleventh Duke of Hamilton married Princess Marie of Baden, a member of the Napoleonic French royal family. He later died in mysterious circumstances while gambling with the Emperor Napoleon III in Paris.

From the later nineteenth century the Dukes of Hamilton's control of Arran was eroded by the growth of local government, the introduction of legislation granting security of tenure to crofters and a series of budgets which inhibited the ability of families to accumulate vast hereditary wealth.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 192</ref>Local government reform absorbed the island into Bute County Council.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 192</ref>

Twentieth Century

Steamer arriving at Whiting Bay in the south of the island, during the early 1960s

Electricity was introduced to Arran during the First World War.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 202</ref>During the conflict Lamlash Bay served its traditional function as a naval anchorage, as well as a rendezvous for convoys.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 196</ref>Shipping off the island was threatened by submarine warfare and mine laying. During the Second World War a makeshift British aircraft carrier, H.MS. Dasher, exploded at sea off the island's coast resulting in the loss of 379 lives. The accident was hushed up at the time but was later attributed to a faulty petrol tank. <ref>Campbell, Arran, 199</ref>

The island's mountains presented a danger to military aircraft, as they were directly in the flight-line between America and the military airport at Prestwick.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 199</ref> On 10 August 1941 a RAF Consolidated B-24 Liberator LB-30A AM261 was flying from RAF Heathfield in Ayrshire to Gander International Airport in Canada. However, the B-24 crashed into the hillside of Mullach Buidhe north of Goat Fell where all 22 passengers and crew died.<ref>"Visits to Crash Sites in Scotland". Peak District Air Accident Research.</ref>At least fifteen warplanes went down in the Arran mountains between 1939 and 1945.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 199</ref>

Following the Second World War shipping on the Clyde gradually declined. Prior to this, commercial fishing succumbed to commercial pressures around 1928.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 204</ref> The introduction of car ferried changed the pattern of holidaymaking on the island.<ref> (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>Before this families had typically taken holiday homes for a minimum of two months, while with the new ferries they arrived with cars and stayed shorter times. <ref> (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>By the 1960s the island's economy was highly dependent on tourism, in Brodick alone in 1968 there were almost a hundred properties offered to visitors.<ref> (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>

In 1957 Brodick Castle entered state ownership in lieu of death duties and since then has been administered by the National Trust for Scotland.<ref> (accessed 15th JUuly 2014)</ref> In 1973 Bute Council was abolished and replaced with Argyll and Cunninghame districts under the terms of the Local Government Act (Scotland).<ref>Campbell, Arran, 207</ref> In 1994 a further Local Government Act resulted in another re designation into North Ayrshire Council.<ref>Campbell, Arran, 207</ref>



The island lies in the Firth of Clyde between Ayr and Ardrossan, and Kintyre. The profile of the north Arran hills as seen from the Ayrshire coast is a well-known sight referred to by some as the "Sleeping Warrior" due to its resemblance to a resting human figure.<ref> 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.</ref><ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>

The highest of these hills is Goat Fell at 873.5 metres (2,866 ft).<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>There are three other Corbetts, all in the north east: Caisteal Abhail, Cìr Mhòr and Beinn Tarsuinn.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>Beinn Bharrain is the highest peak in the north west at 721 metres (2,365 ft).<ref>Scott Johnstone, Hamish Brown, Donald Bennet, The Corbetts and Other Scottish Hills (Edinburgh: Scottish Mountaineering Trust, 1990) 233</ref>

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. <ref>Haswell-Smith, Scottish Islands, 13</ref> The terrain to the south is less mountainous, although a considerable portion of the interior lies above 350 metres (1,150 ft), and A' Chruach reaches 512 metres (1,680 ft) at its summit.<ref>Alan Gordon McKirdy et. al. Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland. (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007)</ref> To the northwest, Mullach Buidhe (Beinn Bharrain) is the only Graham on the Island of Arran.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>

The main settlement on the island is Brodick. In 2011 it had a population of 848, a decrease from 921 in 2001.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>It is the location of the main ferry terminus on the island (a second, smaller ferry sails from Lochranza) which connects Brodick to Ardrossan and thence the national rail network. The ferries are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne<ref></ref> The Brodick Ardrossan route is currently served by the MV Caledonian Isles. The crossing generally takes less than 1 hour and is one of the busiest on the CalMac network.

The island has several villages, mainly around the shoreline. Brodick (Old Norse: "broad bay") is the site of the ferry terminal, several hotels, and the majority of shops. Brodick Castle is a seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. Blackwaterfoot is the only significant settlement on the west side of the island.<ref> (accessed 16th July 2014)</ref>But Lamlash is the largest village on the island and in 2001 had a population of 1,010 compared to 621 for Brodick.<ref>Scrol Browser" Scotland's Census Results Online. (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref> Other villages include Lochranza and Catacol in the north, Corrie in the north east and Whiting Bay in the south east.

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.


Overview of population trends
Year Population<ref>Haswell Smith (2004) p. 11.</ref> Year Population 600px-Arran population.svg.png
1755 3,646 1931 4,506
1782 5,804 1961 3,700
1821 6,600 1971 3,564
1841 6,241 1981 3,845
1881 4,730 1991 4,474
1891 4,824 2001 5,058


Hutton's unconformity
Volcanic sill near Blackwaterfoot

Arran 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.<ref>McKirdy et al. (2007) 297- 301</ref>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 Paleogene 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 lightning strikes.<ref>McKirdy et al. (2007) 297- 301</ref>

Sand dunes are preserved in Permian sandstones near Brodick, there are localised outcrops of Triassic rocks and even a rare example of Cretaceous chalk.<ref>McKirdy et al. (2007) 297- 301</ref> During the 19th century barytes 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.<ref>Ken Hall, the Island of Arran, (Stenlake, 2001)</ref>

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.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref> This spot is one of the most famous places in the study of geology. <ref>Keith Montgomery (2003). "Siccar Point and Teaching the History of Geology" (PDF). University of Wisconsin.(accessed 4th July 2014)</ref><ref>Hutton's Unconformity - Lochranza, Isle of Arran, UK - Places of Geologic Significance on". (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref> The site was not sufficiently convincing for him to publish his find until the discovery of a second site near Jedburgh.</ref>

The Pleistocene glaciations almost entirely covered Scotland in ice, and Arran's highest peaks may have been nunataks at this time.<ref>McKirdy et al. (2007) 297- 301</ref> 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.<ref> W.H. Murray (1973) The Islands of Western Scotland. (London: Eyre Methuen)</ref>

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.<ref> McKirdy et al. (2007) 28</ref>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. There are tall sea cliffs to the north east including large rock slides under the heights of Torr Reamhar, Torr Meadhonach and at Scriden (An Scriodan) at the far north end of the island.<ref>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"</ref>


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.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>The southern half of the island, being less mountainous, has a more favourable climate than the north, 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 on the mainland. As in most islands of the west coast of Scotland, annual rainfall is generally high at between 1,500 mm (59 in) in the south and west and 1,900 mm (75 in) 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.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>

Wildlife and Natural History

Red Deer at Lochranza

The island has three endemic species of tree, the Arran Whitebeams.<ref> Johnston, Ian (15 June 2007). "Trees on Arran 'are a whole new species'". The Scotsman (Edinburgh)</ref> These trees are the Scottish or Arran Whitebeam (Sorbus arranensis), the Bastard Mountain Ash or Cut-leaved Whitebeam (Sorbus pseudofennica)<ref>Donald Rodger, John Stokes & James Ogilve (2006). Heritage Trees of Scotland. The Tree Council. 58</ref>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.<ref> Eric Bignal (1980). "The endemic whitebeams of North Arran". The Glasgow Naturalist 20 (1): 60–64</ref>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 250 species of bird have been recorded on Arran including Black Guillemot, Eider, Peregrine Falcon and the Golden Eagle.<ref> (acessed 15th July 2014)</ref> In 1981 there were 28 Ptarmigan, a type of game bird similar to a partridge on Arran, but in 2009 it was reported that extensive surveys had been unable to record any.<ref>"Iconic Birds at Risk". Sunday Herald (Glasgow). 1 February 2009. Available as Ptarmigan disappearing from southern Scotland</ref>Similarly, the Red-billed Chough no longer breeds on the island.<ref>A6.102a Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (breeding)" (pdf) JNCC</ref> Red Deer are numerous on the northern hills, and there are populations of Red Squirrel, Badger, Otter, Bats and in particular, Brown Long Eared Bats.<ref> (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>The island is distinctive because there are no foxes, Weasels or Moles, although the role of the ground predator is partly filled by Mink and feral Cats.<ref> (accessed 15th July 2014)</ref>


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 the island.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref> Local businesses include the Arran Distillery, which was opened in 1995 in Lochranza, and Arran Aromatics, which produces a range of toiletries. The island has a number of golf courses including the 12 hole Shiskine links course which was founded in 1896.

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 marine No Take Zone, which was announced in 2011. The waters around Arran are monitored by COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust) who are recognised as one of the UK's leading marine conservation organisations.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>

The Arran Brewery is a microbrewery founded in March 2000 in Cladach, near Brodick.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014</ref>The brewery produces 8 regular cask and bottled beers. The wheat beer, Arran Blonde (5.0% abv) is the most popular brand and others include Arran Dark and Arran Sunset, with a seasonal ale called Fireside only brewed in winter.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref> The brewery is open for tours, with tastings in the shop. The business went into liquidation in May 2008 and was subsequently sold to Marketing Management Services International Ltd. in June 2008. The brewery is now back in production and the beers widely available in Scotland.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>


The Caledonian Isles loading cars at Ardrossan

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. 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.

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.

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. 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 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 mi) from Lamlash to Lagg and Sliddery via Glen Scorodale (Gaelic: Gleann Sgoradail). The island can be explored using public transport using a bus service operated by Stagecoach.

Local Government

Map of Arran

From the seventeenth century to the late twentieth century Arran was part of the County of Bute.<ref>Downie (1933) p. 1 confirms this status at the publication date</ref> After the 1975 reorganisation of local government Arran became part of the district of Cunninghame in Strathclyde Region.<ref> (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>

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. 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, since 2005 Arran has been part of the Ayrshire North and Arran constituency, represented by Katy Clark of the Labour Party. It was previously part of the constituency of Cunninghame North from 1983 to 2005, and of Ayrshire North and Bute from 1918 to 1983. In the Scottish Parliament, Arran is part of the constituency of Cunninghame North, currently represented by Kenneth Gibson of the Scottish National Party (SNP). Labour held the seat until 2007, when the SNP gained it with a majority of just 48, making it the most marginal seat in Holyrood until 2011 when the SNP significantly increased their majority to 6117 over the Labour Party.<ref> "2007 Election Results Analysis: Table 18" (pdf) (accessed 4th July 2014)</ref>