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Summary Article: Arran from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Large island in the Firth of Clyde, lying between the Kintyre peninsula and the mainland of North Ayrshire, Scotland; area 427 sq km/165 sq mi; population (2001) 5,050. The economy is largely based on tourism and craft industries, though other industries include whisky distilling and food processing. The island, which is mountainous to the north and undulating to the south, is a popular holiday resort. The chief town is Brodick. Arran villages include Lamlash, which possesses a fine natural harbour, and Whiting Bay.

Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde, and is 32 km/20 mi long and 17 km/11 mi broad at its widest part. The highest point is Goat Fell (874 m/2,868 ft). Machrie Moor dates from the Bronze Age (3000–4000 years ago) and has stone circles, single stones, hut circles, and burial cists. Drumadoon Point is the site of an Iron Age fort.

Geology The shoreline that encircles the coast of Arran forms a low platform, which rises abruptly to the high peaks in the north and northeast. From the Ayrshire coast, the island's profile is known as ‘The Sleeping Warrior’, as it is said to resemble the effigy of a warrior laid out on his bier (coffin). The geology of Arran is of particular interest, as within its comparatively confined limits the distinct sections of several geological formations can be observed. Much of the southern half of the island is forested. There are red deer in the wilder hilly district, and grouse, wild geese, and duck.

History and legend The island has had both Gaelic and Viking influences. King Haakon IV of Norway anchored his fleet in Lamlash, which possesses a fine natural harbour, before sailing on to the Battle of Largs in 1263. Robert the Bruce is said to have sheltered on the island while fleeing his enemies. In a cave on the coast between Blackwaterfoot and Machrie, legend has it, the fugitive king was inspired by the example of a spider that refused to admit defeat when attempting to spin a web.

Attractions Brodick Castle, the oldest part of which dates from the 13th century, and surrounding Country Park is open to the public and houses collections of porcelain, silver, paintings, rare shrubs and plants. Isle of Arran Heritage Museum contains artefacts and records of island life, including archaeology, geology, mineralogy, and social history. Isle of Arran Whisky Distillery, Lochranza, began production in 1995. Arran has a growing craft sector, including cheese making, aromatic toiletries, mustard and preserve manufacturing, textiles, ceramics, and woodwork, much of which is exported around the world. Car ferries link Brodick and Ardrossan on the mainland and Lochranza and Claonaig (Kintyre); in summer there is also a ferry link between Brodick and Rothesay (Bute).

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