Shaped like a kidney bean and occupying centre stage in the Firth of Clyde, Arran is the most southerly (and therefore the most accessible) of all the Scottish islands. The Highland–Lowland dividing line passes right through its centre – hence the cliché about it being like “Scotland in miniature” – leaving the northern half sparsely populated, mountainous and bleak, while the lush southern half enjoys a much milder climate. The population of around 5000 – many of whom are incomers – tend to stick to the southeastern quarter of the island, leaving the west and the north relatively undisturbed.

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Scotland features

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8 alternative UK winter breaks

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The UK gets pretty grim during the winter, with its dark, early nights and splutteringly cold weather. But if you can’t wait until spring to start having fun …

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Sipping Speyside: on the whisky trail in Scotland

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Whisky is much more than Scotland’s national drink – it’s blended deep into the country’s history and culture. Donna Dailey learns more and discovers th…

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The most beautiful places in Scotland – as voted by you

The most beautiful places in Scotland – as voted by you

It was only a matter of time before word got out. That Scotland, with its full-figured glens, heathery hills and castle-topped crags, is one of the most beautif…

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