The physical characteristics of Arran are defined by the Highland Boundary Fault, which runs across the centre of the island. This geological fault line separates the rugged, mountainous landscape of the north from the more gentle, lower lying, hills of the south. In turn, the landscape influences the local climate and the relatively lush southern half of the island feels the warming effect of the Gulf Stream to a greater extent than does the more barren north.
The island's principal settlements include Brodick, Lamlash, Whiting Bay, Blackwaterfoot, Pirnmill and Lochranza. Most of Arran's 5,000 inhabitants, live in the southern half of the island - and over 1000 live in the main town and port of Brodick. Many tourists tend to stick to the south-eastern part of the island, leaving the west and the north relatively undisturbed.
Tourism, farming, and forestry are the primary economic activities on Arran, although the manufacture and sale of dairy products, cosmetics and whisky are also important industries here.
A road, approximately 56 miles in length, encircles the island. In addition, Arran is traversed from east to west by the String Road, which runs through mountain glens, and to the south over more gentle terrain, by the Ross Road.
Public transport facilities on Arran are good. A bus service circles the island and connects with the main ferry services at Brodick and Lochranza.
Telephone enquiries for public transport timetable information can be directed to Traveline Scotland on 0870 608 2 608, 7.00am to 10.00pm, seven days a week.
The buses on Arran are run by Stagecoach. Enquiries about the bus services on Arran can be made to them at: Tel - 0141 3326811, Fax - 0141 3323076. Timetables for all bus services on Arran are can be seen here - look for services 321, 322, 323 and 324:
There is a year-round ferry link between Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast and Brodick on Arran, provided by one of Caledonian MacBrayne's largest vessels, the Caledonian Isles. This can carry up to 120 cars and 1000 passengers. Crossing time is approximately one hour. For details of the current timetable and fare information, click on the link to CalMac's website below.
CalMac's summer timetable to Arran - Ardrossan to Brodick.
In addition, there is a ferry link provided by the MV Loch Tarbert between Lochranza at the northern tip of Arran and Claonaig, on the Kintyre Peninsula. This can carry 18 cars and up to 150 passengers for the 30 minute journey across the Kilbrannan Sound. Details of the current timetable and fare information can be found here:
CalMac's Summer timetable - Claonaig to Lochranza
These two ferry routes enable Arran to be used as a stepping stone for those who are touring Western Scotland, whether by car, cycle or foot.
GLASGOW AIRPORT - General Enquiries Tel - 0870 040 0008
PRESTWICK AIRPORT Tel - Main Switchboard Tel - 0871 223 0700
(Outside the UK Tel - 00 44 1292 51100)
TAXIS from the harbour to the airport can be provided by MAINLAND TAXIS Tel 07921998457